To the editor:
The attempt to shoehorn a large residential apartment complex into 547 E. Genesee St. is fraught with difficulties because that site has long been zoned industrial. The factory buildings one sees from the road have been there in part since the 1950s; prior to that date, the site was intersected by the railroad with related industrial activities.
I have lived in Fayetteville for 24 years and spent over 29 years in manufacturing at various companies in Upstate New York and in manufacturing consulting for clients throughout the country. In my experience, today’s modern manufacturing at a small-to-medium scale, like what could take place at to 547 E. Genesee St., is clean, quiet, odor free and typically highly automated, requiring a small highly paid skilled workforce.
Therefore, leaving the old O’Brien & Gere site zoned industrial could mean minimal impact on traffic if a new manufacturing venture were to occupy the site. There would be no effect on school enrollments at already-full school facilities. We would not have to consider impact on the history and character of the village because we would be honoring the historical use of that site. Contamination would continue to be contained in terms of human health, as it already is, because we would not be allowing residents to live there.
This analysis is in part speculative because our village leadership has long argued against the future of manufacturing at that site. We have no manufacturing proposals to consider. Instead, we have again the same residential proposal before us that had and still has substantial negative implications for traffic, schools, health and quality of life.
I believe that the choice for the village board is clear: Exercise the body’s rights found in village law empowered by state municipal law and reject outright Morgan Management’s application for a zone change. The site at 547 E. Genesee St. should remain industrial to encourage time and circumstance to bring us a better proposal more in character with Fayetteville’s history and quality of life.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.