New details set on Palatine Dairy plant move

Palatine Dairy LLC Plant Manager Justin Battisti, standing, provides details on his company's planned expansion to the vacant Spray Nine building to the Johnstown City Planning Board Tuesday at City Hall. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — More details were released about Palatine Dairy’s project to move into the vacant Spray Nine building and operate a cheese manufacturing operation, among other planned business at the Planning Board’s meeting Tuesday.

Justin Battisti, plant manager of Palatine Dairy LLC’s cheese business in Nelliston, provided details of the project to the city Planning Board at City Hall.

He said the business will keep the Nelliston operation open, but operate a cheese making operation, retail storefront and restaurant at the Spray Nine site, 251 N. Comrie Ave. A 32-foot silo will be built to the rear of the 80,000-square-foot building, which he said won’t be visible from Route 30A.

City Code Enforcement Officer Bruce Heberer said the silo would meet city ordinance for a less than 50-foot structure.

Battisti said the plan is to double the company’s 10-person workforce within five years. He said some of the products that will be made in Johnstown include cheddar cheeses, ice cream and yogurt.

“There’s a lot of new stuff,” Battisti said. “But we’re pretty excited.”

Palatine Dairy LLC previously submitted a narrative to the city on its project, noting it desires a larger building to accommodate increased production. Palatine Valley Dairy in Nelliston already manufactures fine cheddar cheeses and cheese curd with a retail store that carries other cheeses, cheese items, gift boxes, jarred goods, bulk foods, Croghan bologna, Amish butter and gift items.

Planning board Chairman Peter K. Smith said the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency will be involved in the Palatine Dairy project.

The board voted to declare itself as lead agency for the required state Environmental Quality Review for the project.

Smith said the project will be referred to the Fulton County Planning Board to determine is any “potential regional impact” exists.

The board set a public hearing on the project for 4 p.m. Feb. 5 at City Hall.

Smith indicated the planning board already received a report related to phase one environmental review work for SEQR.

Battisti said phase two drilling at the Spray Nine site was due to start today. He said contractors were assigned and sampling will be done inside the building.

“We intend to do our continued manufacturing that we do in Nelliston,” Battisti said.

Smith asked about possible odors from the new plant in Johnstown, Battisti cautioned fears.

He responded that similar dairy manufacturing is done in Nelliston and there are no odors, with the plant meeting all state air quality regulations.

“Transition into Johnstown will only be that or better,” Battisti said.

Regarding discharges, Battisti said there will be whey byproduct discharges, but those materials will be transported to a company farm on Route 10 in Canajoharie, where it will be used as animal feed. He said any other discharges will be the normal sanitary sewer system materials that will be discharged for treatment at the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Battisti said the Spray Nine building will not be radically changed other than general upkeep. He said the Spray Nine sign will be removed, the building will be “cleaned up” and lighting will be replaced with LED lighting. Paving and a digital sign are being considered, he said.

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

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