Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wasting Wetlands in New Hartford?

Back in November, we were told about two large scale projects which had re-zoning variances rejected by the New Hartford Zoning Board of Appeals.  The OD Article is here, and the New Hartford Online Article is here. Although both were rejected, it was expected that both would be re-proposed again.  It is this blogger's understanding that the proposal for the J-K Lumber property is coming up again.  Per the OD Article the following is proposed:
A 15,400-square-foot Aldi discount grocery store that was to be built on 1.5 acres owned by building material retailer Jay-K Independent Lumber. The Germany-based company would have needed a use variance to operate the store at 8448 Seneca Turnpike between Jay-K and Zebb’s Deluxe Grill & Bar because existing manufacturing zoning does not allow mercantile uses.
More than a use variance may be required. The map that is posted above comes from the DEC website and depicts the vicinity of J-K Lumber.  Prominently displayed are two regulated natural features: a DEC Freshwater Wetland and the Classified Stream Mud Creek.  Under DEC regulations activities within a DEC Freshwater Wetland and a 100' "adjacent area" are regulated. Additional requirements may apply if activities affect the classified stream or its banks.

The vicinity of this particular area is already somewhat developed, with a lot of pavement which causes runoff into the creek.  People living along Mud Creek downstream in New York Mills are already contending, anecdotally, with increased flooding due to the large shopping areas that have been constructed along Commercial Drive.   The particular proposal here likely will require a large parking lot threatening more runoff into the creek.  Exacerbating the problem, however, is that this area also contains a wetland.

Wetlands offer many environmental benefits, not the least of which is flood control.  Wetlands are natural "sponges" that soak up runoff.  We lose them at our peril.

New Hartford's problems with poor storm water management are notorious.  They also have proven expensive for the taxpayers to remedy. Encroaching on this wetland threatens to create more problems, exposing the public purse to more liability.

New Hartford needs to protect its wetlands in order to protect its residents.  Any decision allowing development in this area must evaluate the impacts to the wetlands and to people down stream.

See New Hartford Online for more.


Anonymous said...

All very good points; doubtful it will be adequately reviewed as is the issue with the traffic/intersection. This is just another attempt by the Supervisor and the Planning Board Chairman to push through a project for a friend, without looking at the unintended consequences. We cannot just "hold our breath" and "hope" all goes without incident, and yet it appears that the two officials just mentioned are taking that exact position.
People need to speak out at the public hearing.

Anonymous said...

This is another upcoming disaster by the NH planning board. If I understand correctly, the Mud Creek area there is a federal protected wetland. It was supposedly a trade off for the Sangertown Mall project. Now many years later, I imagine that they will look to circumvent that deal for the NEW deal. The traffic would prove to be a disaster for this already overwhelmed intersection. This is a lose/lose for the taxpayers.