Apr 16, 2014 Joe Genco Uncategorized
Skaneateles town officials are optimistic that the former Stauffer Chemical Company property will be released for development this year.
The status of the property was one item discussed by members of the town board at a Skaneateles Falls hamlet meeting held April 14.
The former Stauffer site has been closed for years by order of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation due to the presence of toxic materials that were dumped on the property and in nearby Skaneateles Creek.
Though the DEC can’t make a final determination until it gets the results of its latest round of soil testing, they have shared indications that the site will be released this soon, Supervisor Mary Sennett said.
“They have shut down the storm water treatment operation because they feel that the levels are such that they don’t need to run the water through the storm water treatment any longer. Many of the monitoring wells have actually been shut down as the results have been clean for long enough,” she said.
The property is owned by AstraZeneca, an international pharmaceutical manufacturer who owns Stauffer Chemical. Even if the property is sold, AstraZeneca will still be responsible for dealing with any future issues with toxic waste that may arise, Councilor Connie Brace said.
Sennett also said she spoke with a representative of Envirospec Engineering, the firm handling the cleanup on behalf of the owner. Envirospec plans to remove the storm water treatment equipment and demolish the building on the property this summer, she said.
Tim Davis, who lives across the street from the property, asked about the barbed wire fence saying that it was an eyesore and something that could prohibit other development in the hamlet.
Sennett said that the DEC has to follow its strict protocols, which likely means leaving the fence up until the property is cleared.
Councilor Claire Robinson Howard added that the town board members, or anyone else, are not even allowed to set foot on the property for the time being.
Several residents asked the board about the DEC and other involved parties holding public meetings to discuss the status of the property. This had been done in the past, but the meetings were stopped once the case entered litigation.
Sennett said she would try to push for public meetings in the future.
One future use for part of the property could be access or additional parking for Skaneateles Falls Playground.
The town has already applied for grant funding from Onondaga County to construct new playground equipment for the park and it also wants to look into improved access and parking for the park as a part of its five-year plan for the hamlet.
The plan also includes the rails to trails project, which aims to establish pedestrian/bicycle trails along former railroad lines to connect Skaneateles Falls and Mottville to the village.
Though the board had no hand in the decision, Sennett also said they were happy to learn about Elbridge-based Tessy Plastics planning to open up a factory in the former Honeywell building. The new plant is expected to generate 100 new jobs.
To discuss various town projects and get feedback from residents, the board will hold similar hamlet meetings in Mottville, Mandana and Shepherd’s Settlement in coming months. The Mottville meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on May 21 in the Mottville Fire Department building.
Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.