Now we "find out" that a "Little-known panel OK'd the Hartford Building" in the privately owned New Hartford Business Park.
A virtually unknown town committee approved the development and construction of The Hartford Financial Services building in recent years, in a process that skirted traditional Planning Board approvals.
Who is the Observer-Dispatch kidding? What agenda is the O-D trying to advance?
I can't say if there was or was not a "little-known panel" that "OK'd" things, but most certainly plans for the entire Business Park DID come before the Planning Board -- several times -- and were Approved. It's right there in the Planning Board minutes.
Mr. Adler came before the Planning Board for a "Preliminary Site Plan Review" on March 27, 2006 and a lengthy discussion ensued. (scroll to p 4). The Planning Board was updated on June 12, 2006 (see p 5). On July 17, 2006 the Planning Board granted Preliminary Approval to the New Hartford Business Park (see pp 8-9). On September 11, 2006 Mr. Adler appeared for a "Final Site Plan Review" of the New Hartford Business Park, the Planning Board voted to "close SEQR," Preliminary Approval was given for Phase I of the project, and Final Approval was given for Phase I contingent on the developer providing an agreement for a future Town road (see pp 2-4).
The Planning Board never looked at any site-specific plans, Donovan said.Really? Then what was the "Final Site Plan Review" and approval in the Planning Board Minutes all about? Does the Planning Board give final approval to plans it does not see? This would be laughable if it weren't so inexcusable.
Of course, as this blogger previously pointed out, "The Hartford's" building is on a plot of land that was before the Planning Board in 2006 (see tax map ID ##s in the minutes), but NOT included in the original 1999 Environmental Impact Statement for the previously proposed business park district. The Planning Board, however, chose to rely on the 1999 EIS, oblivious to the change in footprint of the project (now extending outside the area considered for the business park district), and oblivious to several other changes from what was proposed in the EIS. Obviously, the paid Planning Board did not bother to read the Environmental Impact Statement even though it was their responsibility to ensure compliance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act.
This was clearly a failure of the Planning Board on a massive scale.
Technically, the building permits and the certificate of occupancy that were issued for this building, and all PILOTS and special arrangements for financing roads are void for non-compliance with the SEQRA -- but who would do anything about it? Private people aren't going to spend their money to make the Town follow the rules.
The Planning Board Minutes are mysteriously silent about the workings of the "little known panel" . . . but the Planning Board clearly had responsibility under SEQRA.
Now that irregularities are coming to the surface, the O-Ds "little known panel" is a convenient deflection of the Planning Board's failure.