Problems persist for regional business park

MOHAWK — The Town Board on Thursday night voted procedurally to “accept” the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or DEIS, for the proposed regional business park project, but there’s a problem.

Town Supervisor Ed Bishop said today that the DEIS has been found unsatisfactory by Chazen Engineering, which reviewed the document for the town.

“The DEIS was found to be incomplete and deficient,” Bishop said.

He said by law, the town of Mohawk has to basically accept the DEIS.

Nevertheless, he said the town’s work with the statement will now be passed along to Town Attorney Claudia Braymer of Glens Falls for her review. Bishop said the document will eventually be forwarded to attorneys for Fulton and Montgomery counties for their review and action.

“It was poorly done,” Bishop said of the DEIS. “It was poorly written.”

Johnstown Mayor Vern Jackson said Thursday that the regional business park issue was in the hands of Mohawk.

“They still have the EIS statement and we’re waiting on the report,” the mayor said.

Fulton and Montgomery counties expressed interest several years ago in creating a regional park off Route 30A that both counties can share. The concept, discussions and the meetings related to the proposed park have spanned several administrations of mayors of Johnstown and supervisors in the town of Mohawk.

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. Annexation petitions were filed Nov. 5, 2015 by two property owners in the town of Mohawk proposing their properties be annexed into the city of Johnstown.

On May 6, 2016, the state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner designated the town of Mohawk as the State Environmental Quality Review lead agency for annexation. On Dec. 8, 2016, the Mohawk Town Board approved the final scope of the DEIS.

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. Several municipalities, including Johnstown, contributed shares to Sterling’s work.

Both Mohawk and Johnstown have also indicated they are in basic agreement for a revenue sharing plan related to the proposed park. The proposal with Mohawk and 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.

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

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