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Monday, March 9, 2009

Fields of dreams...

At the April 24, 2006, Zoning Board Meeting, Chad DeFina, Esq. presented an application on behalf of O.W. Hubbell regarding the land just purchased from O.W. Hubbell by the New Hartford School Foundation and given to the school. According to the minutes:
Attorney DeFina appeared before the Board stating that he represents his client, O.W. Hubbell, who wants to subdivide his property. Before it can be subdivided, it needs the Area Variances because it lacks the required frontages...

...This is a proposed two lot subdivision where each lot in this zone is required to have 120’ of frontage on a Town Approved Road. He would like to retain Lot #2 with road frontage of 60’ and sell Lot #1 with road frontage of 80’ to the adjoining neighbor...

...Mr. Joesph Steet appeared before the Board as he is purchasing the property (Lot #1 – his intention is to purchase this lot for his own privacy – he is not intending to do build multiple houses. Codes Enforcement Officer Back said, if this application is approved, only one (1) house on each lot could be built – anything different would have to go before the Planning Board for a Major Subdivision. However, the way the entire lot is now, he could only put in one (1) home on the entire 43 acres...
Three (3) people appeared before the Zoning Board to voice their opinion. There was concern for stormwater becoming more of a problem and the impact on wildlife in that area. The minutes state:
Codes Enforcement Officer Back said the Town is looking into the drainage situation in this area right now.
According to an August 23, 2008 article in the Observer Dispatch, the 22 acre parcel eventually could include additional sports fields, tennis courts, walking trails, a playground, parking spaces and an extension of Weston Road.

Interesting that the land given to the school was classified as residual in the town's assessment database when according to the definition on the ORPS website residual land is for commercial property that is not considered suitable for development purposes. Below is a slide presentation showing the land on March 8, 2009.

Besides possible stormwater problems (the land is extremely wet and has many streams running through it), the next question is why is this property tagged as land type residual in the assessment database? Is this just another "mistake" in the assessment database; was it to make the land appear worth less in order to keep the assessment low for the Hubbells ($19,000 assessment and the property sold for $250,000); or did the school foundation really buy a worthless piece of property. Wonder if anyone bothered to find out the permitted uses and requirements for a parcel that is zoned low-density residential.

The Zoning Variance was approved.

In a related story... At the end of the August 23, 2008 OD article noted above, the subtitle was Field of Dreams:
In June, officials in the town discussed building a ballfield on a previously landlocked parcel of land in New York Mills at a cost of about $1 million. Gilligan said the Higby Park project could work in coordination with that plan and other existing parks to make fields available across the town. “The kids would have much better facilities to play on in one location,” Doug Owen, New Hartford Little League president said. Gilligan stressed that plans are just preliminary and that the ideas for the park are just what some officials imagined as the ideal options. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen, he said. “You know, I guess that’s what dreams are made of,” he said.
Deja Vu...

Concerned Citizens found an interesting article in the October 2, 1987 Observer Dispatch, Town will receive $224,592 grant to build park off Campion Road (pdf viewed in 100% magnification).
Kazanjian said the new park — proposed as a part of the town's master park plan — would be located on a 40-acre tract between the town garage off Campion Road and the New York Mills School off Burrstone Road. It would provide recreational facilities needed by the community, but which are not currently available. The park would contain softball, baseball, and-soccer fields, bike paths, nature trails, a pavilion, a picnic area and restroom facilities. Kazanjian said since the grant proposal was submitted, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has informed the town tests at the inactive New Hartford Village dump located adjacent to the property — now the site of the current Department of Transportation facility on Chenango Road — show elevated levels of heavy metal contamination that could be considered hazardous. D.E.C. also said it found similar contamination on a parcel of vacant land to the old landfill that may belong to General Electric.
...Kazanjian said the state is conducting more extensive testing at the site.
Field of Dreams indeed...the same dreams they were having 22 years ago! Representatives of Lockheed Martin attended the February 25, 2009 town board meeting to discuss the Scully site on Valley View Road. They also mentioned the site between Campion Road and ConMed and said it is still being cleaned up.

Looks like the dreams will have to be put on hold for a while longer.

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