Rush to repartition farmland for business park subsides – Daily Gazette

Rush to repartition farmland for business park subsides – Daily Gazette


TOWN OF FLORIDA — The Florida Planning Board resisted pressure to issue an opinion on the proposed redistricting of nearly 500 acres of farmland to allow a business park in an agricultural area of ​​the city on Tuesday.

The Planning Board had previously indicated its intention to issue its recommendation to the City Council’s Planned Unit Development Request (PUD) during Tuesday’s regular meeting, but members agreed how much information from applicants and dissenting residents needs further consideration.

“I have a feeling this is going in a little bit of a hurry,” Planning Council member Peter Rea said. “We are talking, we need a decision tonight. Is there any chance of us going back a little bit from this and doing more?”

Val Ferro, the master planner with Good Earth Advisors, has suggested that the board of directors step back from its previous commitment.

“So now you’re changing your mind?” asked Ferro, the landowner’s representative.

City regulations give the planning board 60 days to make recommendations for PUD applications. Township officials believe the clock started after a public hearing on the proposal took place in July in which residents widely opposed the request.

Landowners Karen and Larry Francisco and the Nadler Brothers at Ballston Spa are applying for a PUD to repartition about 500 acres south of the state’s Thruway Exit 27 from agricultural to industrial and commercial.

The land will later be used to build a commercial complex on both sides of Route 30 along Thruview Drive and Belldons Road. Initial conceptual plans call for three warehouse-style buildings spanning 300,000 to 2 million square feet.

The planning board must make a recommendation for or against the PUD for consideration by the city council, which has the ultimate authority to approve or reject the application. The city council will hold its own public hearing before making any decision.

The Planning Board last month requested more time allotted to form an opinion from project representatives who agreed that the unfavorable situation would have been issued automatically otherwise.

After closely reviewing the law, town attorney Deborah Slezak told the board that the 60-day window actually begins once all application materials and related information have been received. The move was reached on Tuesday.

While John Hutchison was reluctant to take more time after the board gave its word, an opinion will be issued this week, other members agreed that more time was needed to develop the recommendation that should be presented as a report detailing the reasons behind it. They asked to schedule a workshop later this month to look into the application in depth.

Ferro rejected the request, wondering if city law references were holding workshops on requests. Slezak noted that the board held workshops to discuss various applications and issues as needed in the past.

Board member Stephen Feil expressed his displeasure with the business park concept plan and its “excessive” size, and said more due diligence was needed looking at all aspects and perhaps even ordering changes that could make the project more palatable by conserving more farmland .

“I don’t know what my options are to say I don’t like it,” Willy said. “I just want to look at everything and see that we’re making the right decision.”

Referring to representatives’ suggestions that the properties in question and more surrounding farmland could be targeted for large-scale solar projects if the PUD’s request is denied, Viele acknowledged that any decision could lead to repercussions for the city.

This seemed to soften Ferro, but she rejected suggestions to allow residents to participate in the workshop given the suggestion that she “didn’t have a snowball chance” with the locals.

We’d like to draw with you, we have some ideas,” Ferro said. “What we can’t do is get over some of the polarizing feelings that have been thrown at us and that are absolutely baseless.”

Over the years residents have expressed their opposition to the repartition of any farmland in the rural farmer community. Townspeople raised banners against the HDP at a meeting on Tuesday.

Locals lodged complaints against the proposal about the loss of farmland, inconsistency with the city’s overall plan, effects on the rural landscape, pressure on infrastructure, overburdening of already overstretched emergency services, potential for pollution, and a lack of community benefits and traffic in an area already. crowded area.

A petition calling the proposal an unwanted development that would irresponsibly repartition farmland signed by 188 residents against the Democratic Labor Party was submitted to the Planning Board last month.

The land that has been the focus of PUD has been repeatedly targeted for projects that are not normally allowed under zoning regulations, including a proposal that angered many city residents to build a casino on the site in 2014.

Taking her argument further, Ferro suggested that the Planning Board should not consider further comments on the PUD request from residents because the public hearing has already been held and closed. Slezak was clear that locals could discuss any topic on the board’s agenda during the public comment period at the end of each regular meeting.

When it was their turn to speak, residents reiterated their concerns about the request and urged the council to allow local residents to sit at the table during the workshop.

“Think about equal representation from opponents, so it’s a balanced workshop,” said Ken Moretz.

Otherwise, Moritz said, project representatives should be left out of the discussion because the board apparently has all the information it needs to reach a conclusion on the application.

Resident Cole Nelson noted that project representatives have frequent opportunities to address the Board throughout the application review period. Residents were given only one formal opportunity to comment on the still-changing proposal during the July hearing.

“They had the opportunity to keep talking, but none of us got that,” Nelson said.

City Councilman Matthew Goggs, the planning board’s coordinator, told residents he would discuss with Slezak whether a public comment period could be held during the workshop to give local residents a chance to have their voice heard. He assured the townspeople that they could at least attend and observe the public workshop.

“We represent you guys, we live in the city,” Planning Council President Michael Taylor reminded concerned residents.

The Planning Board will conduct a public workshop to discuss the PUD request at Old Town Hall at 167 Fort Hunter Road at 6:30 p.m. on September 28.

Getting to Ashley Onyon in [email protected] Or AshleyOnyon on Twitter.

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