Business park deal awaits impact study

JOHNSTOWN — The town of Mohawk is telling the city of Johnstown it won’t consider approving a revenue sharing agreement for the proposed Route 30A regional business park project until a Draft Environmental Impact Study is completed.

That study is nearly completed — it’s still being reviewed by the firm doing it and the Fulton County Planning Department — but must also go through appropriate legal channels.

It appeared in August a revenue sharing agreement for the park might be close to finalization.

Johnstown Mayor Vern Jackson said then his city’s latest proposal was sent to Mohawk and a response was awaited. Both municipalities pointed to September meetings as taking possible action.

But Monday’s Johnstown Common Council meeting passed without public mention of the regional business park project. The Mohawk Town Board met Sept. 13.

“We sent back a reply and have yet to hear anything,” Mohawk Supervisor Ed Bishop said Friday.

Bishop said that reply back to the city of Johnstown basically indicated that the town of Mohawk won’t make a decision on revenue sharing until a Draft Environmental Impact Study, or a DEIS concerning the park is completed.

Jackson couldn’t be reached for comment Friday .

Fulton and Montgomery counties expressed interest several years ago in creating the 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 said Friday the DEIS is “basically done” and “final edits” were being completed.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors in March 2017 authorized a $100,000 contract with Sterling Environmental Engineers of Latham to prepare the 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 his office and Sterling Environmental Engineers are still looking at the DEIS before deeming it complete. But he said once that’s done, it will still be subject to legal scrutiny.

“It’s in the final stages of review,” Henze said. “That’s really up to Fulton County’s attorney, the city of Johnstown’s attorney and Montgomery County’s attorney. I have not spoken to any of them on this so where they stand, I don’t know.”

Mohawk’s last known public proposal to the city of Johnstown 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.

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

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