"main concern was the flooding they have been experiencing for some time now...they seem to recollect that it has been since Consumer Square was built."Coincidentally yesterday's Observer-Dispatch reported on a meeting on New Hartford's development that was attended by over 100 residents. Many were not happy with what they have been seeing. Some called for development to be halted while present problems are corrected.
Interestingly, a "Generic Environmental Impact Statement" for the southern portion of the town was discussed, which included the payment of fees to mitigate the costs of environmental impacts. . . impacts such as causing storm water runoff to neighboring properties.
Town Planner Kurt Schwenzfeier said, “Developers will have a choice … either correct the impact or pay fees.”Why give developers a choice?
What seems to be happening is that rather than make developers correct their impacts, the Town collects fees . . . and then willingly accepts the liability for the impacts when their true extent becomes known. Of course, this cost gets picked up by the taxpayers.
Oh, the Town will not admit that it is accepting liability (at least for some developers), but isn't this what happened when it floated a second bond for storm water improvements, rather than going after the persons who caused the problems? Since spending for storm water improvements cannot be discussed without identifying where the runoff problems are coming from (which would implicate particular developers), it should now be quite clear why the meetings of the Storm Water Group have been closed to the public by Town Board edict: Certain developers are being sheltered.
How has the Town used its Fees In Lieu of Mitigation? On 8/8/07 it authorized $80-90 thousand to rectify a sanitary sewer emergency problem on Commercial Drive. On 7/11/07 it authorized about $4200 to be paid to Shumaker Engineering to analyze a Woods Highway-Judd Rd intersection; $30,000 to be paid to peter j smith and associates to review an existing study of Commercial Drive, and another $30,000 to the same consultant to review an existing study of the New Hartford St. area. On 4/19/06 it authorized $26,000 to be paid to Clark Patterson to look at the impact of connecting COR Development and Middle Settlement Road at New Hartford Business Park to Woods Highway. On 3/15/06, it authorized $2500 be paid Shumaker to begin a "green belt corridor study" downstream of Presbyterian Home/Seneca Tpk. On 9/7/05 it authorized $2700 be paid to Shumaker to study Woods Road. On 2/5/03 it was proposed to use FILM to equip a traffic light to change in response to fire department apparatus.
It seems that the Fees In Lieu of Mitigation have not been used to mitigate environmental impacts associated with particular developments. Rather, they have been used as a "slush fund" to address an emergency (with no apparent connection to development), review old studies, and pave the way for MORE development.
So the Town Board pimps ever more development, taking money from the developers and allowing them to plunder the Town's environment for whatever they can get out of it -- leaving the Town residents and the taxpayers to live with the aftermath.
It is small comfort to the person with the flooded back yard that the Town has a "Fees In Lieu of Mitigation" account with money in it.