"...partially on town-owned land behind the New Hartford Public Library on Oxford Road".
Really? As far as I am aware, the town merely owns an approximately 60 ft x 170 ft swath of land in the vicinity of the library.
Tax map number 339.007-6-71.1, the property in question (44.16 acres) is currently owned by CRM Rental Management, Inc., 117 W Liberty St. Rome NY 13440. Name sound familiar?
CRM Rental is the same corporation that was being represented by Attorney Mark Levitt in 2012. At that time, the property belonged to Hogeboom & Canfield and CRM Rental was mentioned as the developer.
A Public Hearing was held to get input from the residents because the owners (Hogeboom & Canfield) were asking the town to rezone the property from low-density to high-density to accommodate senior housing.
You can read about the Public Hearing for the rezoning of the property that was held on June 13, 2012 here!
In the end, the proposal was withdrawn shortly after the public hearing was held; probably because there appeared to be a lack of support on the board to change the zoning.
Notice how Councilman Miscione, the councilman who brought the project to the January 13, 2016 town board meeting, was against the project according to the public meeting minutes of 2012. What happened to change Councilman Miscione's mind? Is he aware of who now owns the property where he proposes to build the new town hall?
At any rate, while everyone has been busy going about their own life instead of attending town board meetings, the town board decided to update the town's Comprehensive Plan. I tried several times to find out where the committee appointed by the board was meeting so that I could let everyone know what changes were being proposed; but no one I asked would tell me. I was sent in "wild goose chases", but I digress.
Before the new zoning could become law, a Public Hearing was held in June 2014. At that hearing, someone asked for a list of zoning changes, but they were told that there were just too many to list.
Guess what? One of the changes to the Town of New Hartford zoning was for the property behind the library; the property that CRM Rental was desirous of building senior housing on back in 2012...the property that was zoned low density in 2012.
However, as of June 2014, the property behind the library is now medium density...how many of you knew that? I sure didn't hear anyone speak up at the Public Meeting held in June 2014!
Guess CRM Rental Management, Inc. must have gotten the zoning change they wanted so that their project could proceed because they are now the owners and I would assume, also the developers. On August 20, 2015, a deed was recorded for the property listing CRM Rental Management, Inc. as the owner.
What does all this mean? According to Town of New Hartford codes:
What the area was zoned prior to June 2014:
Low-Density Residential District (LDR). Low-Density Residential Districts in New Hartford are purely single-family neighborhoods, located at the edge of the Village of New Hartford and intensively developed areas of Town.
What the area is now zoned:
Medium-Density Residential District (MDR). Medium-Density Residential Districts are located adjacent to and farther from the Town center than LDR Districts and are developed at higher densities than LDR Districts and also include two-family residential dwellings and townhouses on zero lot lines.
So basically there is not a damn thing anyone can do about the possibility of some sort of development behind the library because they can build two-family or townhouses in medium density zones!
As far as the new town hall, it does have to go to referendum; it might be mandatory or it might be permissive. If it is permissive, the only way to stop it is to collect signatures much like was done when Earle Reed wanted to bond for over $5 million shortly after he became town supervisor.
How long do you think this has been in the planning stages? Back room deals? Deja vous?