Friday, September 05, 2008

840 Intersection -- the People and the Process . . .

This story just seems to get better and better ... The Hartford (not to be confused with New Hartford) issued different statements:
First, company spokesman Tom Hambrick said the company was committed to New Hartford and had no plans to leave the town – whether it gets the intersection or not — and that the company was more interested in getting a traffic light at the intersection of Seneca Turnpike and Woods Highway.

“The only intersection that was in the discussion for us was Route 5 and Woods Highway,” he said. “That was an issue for the safety of our employees.”

Hours later, however, Hambrick called to revise the statement, saying that after discussion with other company employees who are involved with the plan, the Route 840 intersection was more important than he initially stated.
This is interesting because the Environmental Impact Statement for the New Hartford Business Park was finalized in 1999, long before Route 840 was built. On a map it only suggests a "possible interchange" with the planned new state highway that is now 840. The traffic analysis, however, focused on the Seneca Tpk - Woods Hwy intersection. This seems to confirm Mr. Hambrick's initial statement.
Adler forwarded a copy of the contract between his group and the builder, the Ryan Cos., which was acting as an agent for The Hartford. The contract stipulates the extension of Woods Highway and a light at an intersection of Woods Highway and Judd Road (Route 840).
The contents of a contract between Mr. Adler and the Ryan Cos. is irrelevant where the State and Town are concerned. Mr. Adler cannot bind the State or the Town. And Mr. Adler, Mr. Nordland, Mr. Shamma, and Mr. Reed are or should be sophisticated enough to know that mere statements from public officials are insufficient to bind the State and/or local municipalities to any particular course of action. There are processes and procedures in place that must be followed in order to take valid actions . . . not the least of which are those of the State Environmental Quality Review Act, which require that the environmental impacts of a project be studied before a binding committment can be made. Any decision without compliance with SEQR is "void ab initio." So the idea that the State and Locality have somehow committed to this intersection is just nonsense.
The DOT currently is finishing design plans for the intersection – which would be built with an exit ramp to the right for cars traveling west on Route 840 as opposed to a left turning lane. The exit ramp then would lead back into the intersection and toward the Woods Highway extension.

For those plans to be completed, the town must finish a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and deliver it to the DOT.

When design plans are finished, they will be considered for final state approval later this month in Albany, Shamma said. That approval is likely.
Mr. Shamma cannot validly say that approval is likely. He is putting the cart before the horse. The EIS must come first.

DOT knows full well that SEQRA requires that alternatives be considered, and that adverse environmental impacts must be mitigated to the maximum extent practicable... DOT knows that a full interchange is practicable for this location because it has stated as such. The fact that the Town does not want to pay for such . . . or is unwilling to demand Fees In Lieu of Mitigation from the developer to pay for such is irrelevant.

And a public meeting?
Reed agreed and said there would be one such meeting, probably after the project is bonded later this month.

We live in Dogpatch County folks . . . Where process, procedure, and the people be damned. Where private deals by supposedly educated people who behave like yokels reign.


Anonymous said...

Since when does a school superentendant and a builder dictate to the DOT. This whole mess is out of control. It takes 20 years for a plan for Rt 12 thru the city and just a couple of meetings to hammer out an intersection on a major connector. The DOT did not want to initially put the lights that are there now.

This is not a new business in the Town. So why a payment in lieu of taxes. This should be for new business only. The Hartford threatens to leave? Right they are leaving, they are leaving the taxpayers holding the bag for their profits.

These payments in lieu of taxes is a horrible policy and needs to cease or change to benifit the taxpayers of this town. Remember when there were no town taxes?

I think it is time for the AG to investage all the back room dealings. Supennoa all records and emails between these people.

If the Town was going to profit, like the developer donating some land for the new Court/Office and maybe a new police facility, then lets talk.

Anonymous said...

Also are we forgetting the vacant land locked piece behind BOCES that was "donated by the develper" as a token good jester. All of a sudden we will have the opportunity to spend another bizzillion dollars for a consolidated facility that we will have to build because we just have money up the ying yang and need to put on more maintenance staff. BS, contract the bus business. Works quite well for a number of schools.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think Mr Hambrick has ever been to New Hartford. If he never knew anything about the intersection how could he possible give false infomation. Talk about misinformed and out of touch with the project. What is his title. A very questionable spokesman at best. All this would leave me to believe that this intersection played no part in the Hartfords decisions.

I am kind of curious why they are even moving a mile up the road.

tachikawa811 said...

I saw in the paper they would have a public hearing-please go. These are excellent points that need to be brought to a forum where there will hopefully be some accountability from officials brought into play.At the very least complain to Ro Ann or Dave Townsend. Hopefully this isn't already a done deal.

Anonymous said...

If that light is a "done deal" you should make sure Earle Reed is a "done deal". When is the next election cycle for him anyway? It seems like it can't come soon enough!

Greens and Beans said...

Well done Strikeslip! I want to give credit to the contributors of this blog, Assemblywoman Destito, and the Utica Observer Dispatch. They all are standing up for the general public’s right to be involved when it comes to spending our tax dollars.

This blog has been successful in smoking out some of the seemingly unethical players that feel at ease when hidden in the shadows. The Hartford jumped the gun in terms of their perfervid behavior when contradicting themselves as to what back room deal they chose to admit to. Was it the intersection of Seneca Turnpike and Woods Highway or was it then a new 840 intersection? An Assembly member woke up and realized that remaining silent could be damaging. Then we heard from the neophyte School District Board members who actually defended their colluding in terms of consenting to the comingling education tax dollars to promote intergovernmental relations rather than placing the students, who are entrusted to represent, first. New York State Department of Transportation bureaucrats with how they cower down to Hew Hartford’s back room political pressure.

What will happen if the corporate developer of this publically funded privately owned project opts to go bankrupt? It is not uncommon for private corporations who guarantee financing developments to enter into bankruptcy in order to walk away from their contractual obligations. We will need to inquire if the corporate developer will be required to put up a performance bond for the duration of the life of the project’s financing package.

waterboy said...

What happen to the proposed road from Twin Orchards to get into the business park? That was the original connector to Woods Highway. That is way cheaper then constructing the proposed exit off a state highway.

swimmy said...

Earl does realize that state law mandates a public meeting BEFORE final approval or any bonding is conducted, right? He also knows that Town Law mandates that any bonds go to public referendum, right? RIGHT?!

Vote him OUT this November before he does any more damage to the town residents!!!!