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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Going from bad to worse...to worser...

Well, everything just seems to be snowballing according to the articles in today's Observer Dispatch:
Business park concerns still adding up; and

NEW HARTFORD BUSINESS PARK: A TIMELINE OF DISCOVERY
The town planner admits that he knew in the summer of 2007 that the land for The Hartford was not in the business park. Is that why he met with Town Attorney Green a day before he sent the letter to Larry Adler informing him of the obscure panel that would make the decisions regarding The Hartford? Did the town planner share his revelation with the Town Attorney? Did the Town Attorney advise the planner to be quiet? Did the town attorney write the letter and tell the town planner to send it to Mr. Adler under the town planner's signature?

Summer of 2007...that is well before ground was even broken. Fred Burrows Trucking didn't apply for a permit to clear the land until October 2007.

Even more maddening is the fact that the summer of 2007 was months before the town board obligated taxpayers to a $2.9 million bond to pay for infrastructure on property owned by a private developer using Bond Anticipation Notes to circumvent the permissive referendum requirement normally allowed for bonding. They touted this "development" as being part of the business park thereby justifying the use of taxpayer monies; and now, regardless of the outcome of this fiasco, taxpayers are on the hook and all Earle Reed can say is:
Town Supervisor Earle Reed said things were now on the right track.
“I think things are going to proceed very nicely now that they are in Planning Board hands,” he said.
Too bad they didn't get on the right track before all this took place. Perhaps if town residents were allowed to view the process in open meetings, the train would have been on the right track as it left the station. Perhaps Mr. Adler would have had to pay for his own infrastructure like all other developers have to do!

Was it sloppiness...or were the orders given from above? Was it already pre-determined that nothing would get in the way of this venture when the New Hartford Republican Committee endorsed Earle Reed for Town Supervisor in 2005?

The New Hartford Republican Committee selects the people they will endorse to run for elected offices in the town. As The Hartford was being built, three members (3) of the Town Board (out of 5; that's a majority!) were also New Hartford Republican Committee members; two (2) members of the Zoning Board of Appeals were members of the New Hartford Republican Committee; one (1) member of the Planning Board was a New Hartford Republican Committee Member; Roger Cleveland, former Highway Superintendent, and his wife were members of the New Hartford Republican Committee. The New Hartford Village Mayor was a member of the New Hartford Republican Committee. An Oneida County Legislator was a member of the New Hartford Republican Committee. The Town Attorney was Chairman of the New Hartford Republican Committee. All of these people are still New Hartford Republican Committee members although a couple of them have recently resigned and no longer serve as members of boards.

One member of the Town Board, who is also the councilman from the Ward where the business park is located, was also on the town board back in 1999 when the "obscure panel" was created and the studies/rezoning of the business park were being done...we even met with him to discuss the situation; yet he never openly said a word in opposition. Concerned Citizens had a meeting with one of the Republican Oneida County Legislators from New Hartford prior to the PILOT approval by the Board of Legislators. We discussed the problems with The Hartford being outside the business park. But unfortunately, that legislator voted yes for the PILOT anyway apologizing after the vote and saying maybe we can work together on some other project in the future.

If anyone took the time to look at either the map in the Town Code or the one in the Final Environmental Impact Statement, they clearly would have seen that in 1999 the land where The Hartford is built was an orchard; that orchard was owned by the McCubbins who operated an apple stand on Middlesettlement Road up until the time that 840 was started. Here are the studies from 1999 that are frequently mentioned:
Final Environmental Impact Statement - Rezoning of Technology Park Site (see page 22 for the map)

Findings Statement for the New Hartford Business Park

1999 SEQR - Full Environmental Statement for the New Hartford Business Park
Starting with Supervisor Reed's first town board meeting (well, that is if you disregard the illegal meeting held minutes after the swearing in ceremony on January 1, 2006 with the town board huddled in a corner whispering as they held their organizational meeting) Supervisor Reed told everyone how wonderful and exciting this business park would be for the community! Sure is exciting all right...

Could it get any worse? Sure, it can and will because according to the Town Zoning Code, the land that The Hartford now occupies is the same land where Larry Adler proposes to build the hotel. Soon someone is bound to realize that the zoning for that land does not allow for a hotel to be built on it. Oops!

Don't miss Strikeslip's blog Waiving the Privilege...In New Hartford.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The following is from the Utica OD - "Town Councilwoman Christine Krupa said she believed an environmental review was needed of the site.

“I think one should be done so the town can adequately identify and address any possible adverse circumstances before they hit an emergency or crisis level,” she said in an e-mail." I would like to ask Ms. Krupa how much this will cost and who will be paying the bill for this cover-up. In the words of the late Warren Zevon: "send lawyers, guns and money the sh*t has hit the fan".

Anonymous said...

2 of the Republican Committee Town Board members are up for reelection. One is unchallenged and the other has a real race on his hands. He will probably lose because he deserves to!

The last 3 and a half years of this Town Board has been a nightmare.

I'm voting for Backman. At least he will ask questions and isn't a rubber stamp.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, for a town that knows when the setback of a building is lacking 6", of course EVERYONE knew The Hartford was out of the park.

The question should be what were the underlying reasons the building was sited there in the first place. Obviously frontage on 840 is one but was it going to be cheaper for Larry to access much needed utilities for future development on Middle Settlement? Also, the Town wanted a road (Yagey Blvd) on the side of Lowes ending on Woods Hwy that would of gave the park a second access point thus negating two entrances on Woods Highway. If they could of pulled that off the savings would have been worth it and the Town would of had their road when the boundary fiasco eventually surfaced.

I think Larry and some of the current and recently retired town officials thought they could pull a fast one on the Yagers forcing an easement through the orchard or a possible land swap. That obviously backfired and now we're left with an empty cookie jar with a lot of people walking around with chocolate on their face.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Mr. Backman a big supporter of that Preswick Glen tax screw-up that the town had to go to court to get undone? Obviously, he wasn't asking questions back then. Why would you expect anything different now?

Anonymous said...

That's absolutely correct about Backman and Preswick Glen. I always found him to be confrontational, sarcastic and generally full of himself.

This guy represents the past and should remain there.