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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Uncle Larry Wants YOU!!

Today's article in the Observer Dispatch says that construction of a Hampton Inn and Suites and Dr. Costello's new office building in the New Hartford Business Park are to be discussed at an open meeting of "the committee" on Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. in Butler Hall. Construction is expected to begin this summer and will be finished in about a year after ground is broken.

According to the article:
Adler said he was glad the process would be more open because the development of the business park is a positive for the community.

“I think that we are going to see some positive momentum and hopefully some positive results as a result of the public becoming more informed about what’s going on,” he said.
Timing is everything. Now that "Uncle Larry" has taxpayers in debt to the tune of $2.3 million plus for the infrastructure in his private development [costs that normally would be borne by the developer] , he thinks it's a good idea to open up the meetings to the public. Frankly, holding a meeting at 8:30 in the morning isn't exactly Concerned Citizens idea of an open meeting. So is this "open meeting" a ploy to take the attention away from the fact that by using a little known committee, the town board, town attorney and town staff aided Larry Adler in getting taxpayer funding for a piece of property that is located outside the boundary of the business park when the committee had no authority to do so?

At a March 9, 2009 Planning Board meeting it was learned that there are a few problems that need to be addressed before any more buildings can be built in the business park.

Page 2 of the minutes from the March 9, 2009 Planning Board Meeting state:
Mr. Meagher mentioned NYSDEC Consent Order with Oneida County sewer credits and how they may affect development in this area. The Hartford is the only building allowed at this time. There could be an issue with water pressure (water was put in by the developer). Pressure is below what is required for any future buildings. No water test has been done at this time. An option is to connect into Whitestown by the Water Board.

Chairman Donovan reiterated that this is preliminary – no site plans have been filed with the Town by any applicants. There are constraints with water and sewer credits.
So I guess the next question is...has the situation with the water pressure been addressed?

Speaking of sewer credits for the New Hartford Business we know why former Highway Superintendent Roger Cleveland was hired as a consultant back in May 2009. Who better to "devise" a plan for sewer credits? On page 5 of the March 9, 2009 Planning Board minutes there was mention of the sewer credits.
Mr. Meagher stated that according to the NYSDEC Order to the County, before you are allowed to hook up, you have to remove 5 gallons of water from the sewer system from every one gallon you put in. There is an application to be completed, given to the Town and then Mr. Meagher sends it to the County. Basically, anything prior to July 11, 2007 is allowed to connect to the sewer. Existing homes on a sewer system but are on septic are not allowed to hook in. They have to get credits. He said three (3) single family homes now affected that are waiting for credits located on Mallory Road, Mohawk Street and Arlington Road. Jewel Ridge Phase II is waiting for credits. The Town is going by application date to assign credits....For example, a single family home with 4 bedrooms would need approximately 475 credits.
There are also stormwater issues that need to be addressed according to what appears to be an incomplete Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) we obtained from the Dept. of Transportation through a FOIL request:
2.3 Storm water Runoff

The realignment of Woods Highway extending to Woods Park Drive and the Route 840 break-in access will increase storm water impacts in the study area. These impacts will include increase in impervious surface resulting from the construction of Woods Park Drive as well as of widening Route 840, adding acceleration and deceleration lanes and placement of the jug handle.

Storm water impacts should be anticipated both from the construction and post construction phases.
We also obtained an interesting letter from Town Supervisor Earle Reed dated October 31, 2008 to Mark Nordland, of Ryan Companies, Inc., the owner of the land and building where The Hartford is located. In his letter, Supervisor Reed says:
As previously represented to you and others, the Town intends to pursue approval for a full break-in-access to Route 840; investigate land acquisitions and condemnation proceedings as relate to the neighboring property; and explore funding options and alternatives for a bridge over 840.
Town Attorney Green's invoices indicate that on August 4, 2008, he billed the town to research eminent domain; in all probability eminent domain will be used to acquire the Yager property.

So what is the status of the break-in to Route 840? It was our understanding that the hotel would not be built unless there was access to 840. And what about that "temporary" traffic light on Route 5/Seneca Turnpike and Woods Highway...any plans to put in a permanent one?

One last thing, an email we received through the FOIL process states that while a public hearing is not mandatory as part of the SEQR process, it is recommended. The email further states:
...please note that a 2005 amendment to SEQR requires EIS documents to be posted on a publicly accessible internet website.
Wonder where we might find a copy on the internet...if indeed it has been completed. The process also calls for a 30 day public comment period.

How do you feel about a town board and staff that would have us believe they simply can't read a map and it was all an oversight? All those that think that everything will be discussed in an open meeting and nothing will be done behind closed doors, raise your hand.

Thursday's meeting should be interesting!


Strikeslip said...

This is rediculous. Compare the EIS for the Business Park District with Mr. Adler's proposals and it is like comparing apples and oranges. The footprints of the project areas don't match, the proposed types of development don't match, the road configuration doesn't match. Looking at the maps it appears that at least some of what Mr. Adler proposes to construct (the portion just west of the Hartford building) is also OUTSIDE the business park district and OUTSIDE the area that was studied in the EIS.

Obviously, no one even bothered to look at the EIS, and they do not care to look at the EIS. They should be asked exactly where were the impacts of the hotel addressed in the EIS (ask for a page cite)? They won't be able to give you one because it was not done.

"The Committee" has not complied with SEQRA at all, and has no approval authority outside the district.

Any approvals made without compliance with SEQRA are "void ab initio."

Anonymous said...

Love the graphic. The sad part is it's true.

Anonymous said...

I went to college with one of Adler's partners - let's just say silver spoon and elitist. I know, not really related, but he does run with a bad crowd.

I can't wait to see some blogging on the sewer reserve fund - being overfunded. My money says they weren't accumulating these funds for nothing - it was intended to be spent on something. My guess is they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar before the money could be spent. Thoughts?

New Hartford, N.Y. Online said...

Anonymous #2,

We will be blogging later this evening. We agree with you. More than likely there was a reason they were building a reserve in the sewer is doubtful that it was an oversight.