Business park project inches forward

JOHNSTOWN — The two municipalities working for years on a revenue sharing agreement to move the proposed Route 30A regional business park project forward may make a final decision in the next two weeks.

Signals coming from the city of Johnstown and the town of Mohawk appear to be headed toward some type of decision. Both municipalities have been in a perpetual state of trying to hammer out a revenue sharing plan for the park.

“They’ve got it [the proposal],” Johnstown Mayor Vern Jackson said Tuesday of Mohawk. “We’ve been in touch. We’re supposed to be hearing within a week.”

Mohawk Supervisor Ed Bishop stated Tuesday “that assessment” by Jackson was about right. He said Mohawk should replay to Johnstown in a “week or so.”

Eventually, any agreement would have to be finalized by the governing bodies of the municipalities. The Mohawk Town Board meets next Sept. 13, while the Johnstown Common Council meets next Sept. 17.

Fulton and Montgomery counties expressed interest several 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 services from Johnstown, would be built near the Johnstown Industrial Park off Route 30A, on the border of Fulton and Montgomery counties.

Fulton County Planning Director Scott Henze told the county Board of Supervisors’ Public Works Committee Monday that the project continues to be on hold.

“Waiting to hear whether city of Johnstown and town of Mohawk reach an agreement on revenue sharing,” Henze reported to supervisors.

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.

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

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 Engineers of Latham to prepare a Draft/final Environmental Impact Statement, or DEIS, 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.

Henze said he has met with Sterling Environmental Engineers and Creighton Manning to review the first draft of the Draft Environmental Impact Study. The county has reviewed and offered final comments on the DEIS.

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

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