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.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.
“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.
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.Mr. Shamma cannot validly say that approval is likely. He is putting the cart before the horse. The EIS must come first.
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.
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.