Feb 27, 2008 Cazenovia Republican Uncategorized
Sphere spouts SEQR
Madison Planning Board meeting to address environmental issues
By Willie Kiernan
The Madison Town Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 27 in the Madison Central School auditorium regarding Sphere Development’s shopping center proposal, Madison Marketplace, on Route 12B just outside the village of Hamilton.
“It’s very controversial, I understand that,” said Brian Gazba, Madison Planning Board Chairman.
Located outside the village of Hamilton in the town of Madison, the proposed 130,000-square-foot project will supply space for national tenants including Price Chopper, Tractor Supply Company and other national retailers, including apparel stores, quick casual restaurants and service providers.
The controversy began when Sphere asked for Hamilton Village water services. They were informed that these services were available but only if they annexed into the village.
“They have studied the numbers and the addition of village taxes would be a financial burden that would hinder the project,” said Kathy Bennett, Sphere Attorney. “My client was willing to pay a premium and I think Hamilton could have obtained financial benefits of these services.”
Gazba suggested that the water services could’ve meant around $100,000 per year for Hamilton.
“Why not consider the water issue,” Gazba said. “It’s been done with other municipalities.
Gazba said Hamilton could’ve negotiated quite a deal for water and sewer services.
“As far as providing water and sewer services to an out of town customer, the village of Hamilton has a long-standing policy, not unlike other villages in the area such as Cazenovia, that village services are supplied only to properties in the village,” said Hamilton Mayor Sue McVaugh. “The Sphere people knew this from the beginning, and made a decision that they did not want to annex to the village and would develop their own on-site water and wastewater systems. Certainly that was their decision to make, and we respect that.”
“This is not about Hamilton and Madison,” Gazba said. “We have had sales tax leakage to Oneida and Onondaga Counties. The way we improve on that is to keep sales tax in Madison County.”
Madison County municipalities all benefit when sales tax is collected in the county.
State Environmental Quality Review
According to the SEQR application, the project area encompasses 22.7 (+/-) acres of a 42.8-acre (+/-) parcel on the south side of Airport Road between NYS Route 12B and Johnny Cake Hill Road. The project involves the development of a primarily vacant parcel into a commercial retail plaza consisting of a grocery store, neighborhood retail shops, and restaurants. The plaza will add a driveway onto NYS Route 12B as well as entrances onto Airport Road. Associated construction activity will include a 651-vehicle parking lot, an onsite water supply system, an onsite wastewater treatment system with surface discharge, and a stormwater management system.
The NYS DEC Natural Heritage Program (letter dated July 27, 2007) and US Fish & Wildlife Agency said the site showed no species of plant or animal that would be threatened or endangered. It is not a site that the community uses for recreation. It offers no scenic views important to the community. In responding to the question has the site been used for the disposal of hazardous debris: The current property owner has placed fill consisting of construction and demolition debris (concrete and asphalt) at the sit.
Maximum vehicular trips were estimated at 777 per hour. The largest proposed structure will 35 feet high, 200 feet wide and 590 feet long. The project will clear 11.7 acres of vegetation including trees, shrubs and groundcovers. 150 jobs will be created during construction, 250 to 300 full time and part time after construction. The project will have four phases starting in March of this year and finishing in October 2010. Water will be pumped from the ground at a rate of 17,096 gallons per day, 32 gallons per minute. The site is reported to not be above any existing aquifer. As far as traffic, the NYS DOT will be widening Route 12B in 2008 during a previously planned, unrelated project.
“I may not have all the answers, but I’ll find the people that do,” Gazba said. “This all fits in with our comprehensive plan for Route 20 and 12B.”