Adler has submitted a proposal to the Town Board that would change the zoning for the business park to allow 20 percent of a property owner’s land to be used for retail, town Supervisor Patrick Tyksinski said.Hmm 20% of the land for retail? Isn't that about what it is in a shopping center . . . with the rest (80%) of the land in parking lots and landscaping?
Currently, the primary uses for the business park listed in town codes are offices, manufacturing, research laboratories, hotels and mixed-use businesses.
There has been a slow motion "bait and switch" progression ever since the Business Park was proposed by the Town: First it was to be a manufacturing site . . . then an office park . . . now more retail.
Per the Town's 1999 Environmental Impact Statement, the Business Park area was rezoned from a residential-retail-manufacturing mix to "Business Park District" in order to "facilitate the development of new high-technology industries that will economically benefit the area through increased revenues and jobs." That obviously has not happened . . . and now it looks like it will never happen.
Later, when the current private developer took over the property, the Business Park became recommissioned as an office park and boundaries were altered . . . without proper review . . . and without the Environmental Impact Statement ever being formally amended to show the changes. For Taxpayers, Payments in Lieu of Taxes are not going into Town coffers where they can be applied to the increased costs for police and fire protection and other Town functions. Rather, the PILOT is being used to finance the developer's roads. Guess the Town Taxpayer gets stuck paying this developer's share of Town expenses. For Town Residents, Fees In Lieu of Mitigation, paid by Other Developers to mitigate the impacts of Other Projects, are being applied to this project -- meaning that the impacts of the Other projects (increased flooding along Royal Brook Lane in NYM, perhaps) aren't being addressed. Guess Town Residents better get used to the negative impacts. For Fair-Minded people, Eminent Domain, or the threat thereof, is being used. Guess Fair-Minded people have to live with UNfair.
Now we have the proposed zoning change to permit retail. Whatever happened to facilitating "the development of new high-technology industries that will economically benefit the area through increased revenues and jobs?" Guess we have to do without.
“I don’t see any harm in rezoning to have 20 percent retail,” [Town Supervisor Tyksinski] said. “To some extent, it does make sense.” . . .No harm? Growth? Quite the contrary. There IS harm and NO growth, because this is Sprawl.
“I’d like to see growth anywhere,” [one New Hartford Resident] said.
Development in New Hartford is merely Utica being turned inside out.
Office and retail functions of the local economy which used to take place at the urban core in Utica have been transferred to the outer edge of the urbanized area... N.H. retail development would not take place but for the City of Utica being next door to supply the customers, and the State's Arterial highway system making it easier for them to reach suburban greenfield developments while more difficult for them to navigate about their own city. Taxpayers/Residents at both ends of this transfer face higher taxes (among the highest in the country) and degradation of their living environments. Regionally, only suburban developers and government officials benefit, and their cozy relationship will keep the benefits flowing.
This zoning change should not be approved.
Utica certainly has an interest to intervene in N.H.'s development activities -- and there are plenty of irregularities in N. H.'s procedures that Utica could make points on in court. But will Utica do so? Past history shows probably not. It has always been "hands off" and "none of our business" what the neighbors do.
Utica leaders need to rethink this policy. Residents of Utica and New Hartford will both benefit by forcing New Hartford leaders to take a more regional perspective in their decision making.
[New Hartford OnLine has much more detail on this story here and here.]