Wheels of progress slow for regional business park

JOHNSTOWN — The town of Mohawk is still reviewing the proposed Route 30A regional business park project, which also awaits a draft/final Environmental Impact Statement on annexation of land needed for the park.

Fulton and Montgomery counties expressed interest years ago in creating a regional park off Route 30A that both counties can share.

The proposed business park involves annexation of 263 acres of land now in the town of Mohawk into the city of Johnstown. The park, which would get water and sewer service from Johnstown, would be built near the Johnstown Industrial Park off Route 30A, on the border of Fulton and Montgomery counties.

Progress being made to bring the park to fruition is occurring on two fronts — revenue sharing and annexation.

The city of Johnstown and the town of Mohawk have been trying to work out a revenue-sharing plan needed to bring the park to fruition.

Johnstown Mayor Vern Jackson and Mohawk Supervisor Ed Bishop both said Thursday they communicated with each other as late as Wednesday about the proposed plan.

“I talked to Supervisor Bishop,” Jackson said.

He and Bishop both said they couldn’t divulge anything further about the discussions.

“I’ve got to get back to my council,” Bishop stated. “From my side, I don’t think anything’s changed, but we’ll see where we go with it.”

Bishop previously told the city of Johnstown that Mohawk has made its final offer to the city, sent to the city last July. The supervisor said in January that Jackson on Sept. 15 came back with a counter offer that was not acceptable to the town.

Mohawk’s last proposal to the city is a 40-year deal, renewable for another 40 years, that provides 55 percent revenue to Johnstown and 45 percent revenue to Mohawk. It also calls for no truck traffic on Old Trail Road. It is similar to a proposed Fulton County-Montgomery County deal, other than the percentages with that proposal being a 50-50 percent split.

Work also continues on the environmental study and annexation front of the park project.

The state in May 2016 chose the town of Mohawk to be the lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review of the proposed annexation of land. The Mohawk Town Board has stated publicly it believes a preliminary review of the proposed annexation of land for construction of the business park predicts adverse environmental effects.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors in March 2017 authorized a $100,000 contract with Sterling Environmental Engineering of Latham to prepare a draft/final Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, on the annexation of land needed for the proposed business park. Annexation petitions were filed by property owners in the town of Mohawk proposing their properties be annexed into the city of Johnstown. Property owners who have applied for annexation are: Milltown Plaza Inc., Steve Miller, Jerrold Miller and James Miller.

State municipal annexation law requires SEQR work be completed before action is taken on annexation petitions. Contributing to payments for Sterling’s work were one-third shares of $33,334 from Fulton County, Montgomery County and the city of Johnstown.

“We’re still waiting on Sterling to provide us with the draft [EIS],” Fulton County Planning Director Scott Henze said Thursday.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.