Friday, September 12, 2008

Did "The Hartford" Fall Thru a Crack?

It looks like some things got overlooked in the rush for so-called "economic development" (a/k/a "sprawl") in the Town of New Hartford... overlooked by the Town, the NH School District, the County, and the State.

The picture on the left comes from the November, 1999, Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the New Hartford Business Park. The plan on the right was drawn last fall for "The Hartford" development.

Notice anything different between the two?

"The Hartford," the proposed hotel, and two nearby buildings appear to be located outside the "area of study" of the 1999 FEIS... located in what is identified as an "orchard." Since review of Planning Board minutes (as well as other correspondence) makes clear that the Town is relying on the 1999 FEIS to satisfy its obligations under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), it certainly appears that "The Hartford," which is virtually complete, has been constructed without the proper environmental review.

Failure to comply with SEQRA renders void any permits that may have been given. Such failures have resulted in closure orders elsewhere. (use your library card to view)

New Hartford seems to have a serious problem on its hands.

Update: The story gets even more convoluted: Hartford Insurance Job Guaranty Questionable...


swimmy said...

What is the state agency and its mailing address to write them a letter about this "oversight"?

Anonymous said...

Where was the New York State, Department of Environmental Concern and too, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers?

Were these two Agencies remiss in their respective due diligence or were they too, duped?

An INJUNCTION should be issued to stop further action.

Barbara Hampton, 1st Vice-President, Hartford Insurance Company should immediately rescind any agreements with RYAN GROUP and LAWRENCE ADLER and remain at the Middle Settlement Road Offices.

How could or would an insurance company move less than one mile into another building when they will have less people working there?

In fact, how could the Hartford qualify for a PILOT under these conditions?

Did Lawrence Adler et al., promise Hartford Insurance - something that was ILLEGAL"

I just read a new blog this morning and it is quite revealing. Go to the following website:

Strikeslip said...

Actually the developer appears quite innocent in this deal. If you read the planning board minutes on the official Town website, when the developers plans were discussed, it was the board that just assumed that the 1999 FEIS was sufficient.

An FEIS is supposed to be a GUIDE to decision-making by ALL involved agencies (Including our Economic Development Brain Trusts EDGE/OCIDA and NYSEDC). But here, the document was apparently regarded as a mere formality . . . No one bothered to pick it up off the shelf to see what it really said.

Beside the difference in footprint, the Business Park originally proposed was supposed to be 80% manufacturing . . . but this developer proposed nothing of the sort, and was rather up-front about what he was proposing and wanted. [For many people, the manufacturing aspect would be paramount, because the region already has enough spaces for offices -- it changes the whole acceptability of the project]

It was government, on many levels, that made the errors.

Nevertheless, governmental error cannot be used to give a developer what he wants before all the i's are dotted and t's crossed.