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Office complex closer to reality

February 23, 2009
By MICHAEL ANICH/The Leader-Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The Common Council Tuesday scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. March 2 for anyone who wants to comment on a piece of annexed Route 29 property where a local family wants to build a one-story office complex.

The state-required hearing will be conducted in the Council Chambers of City Hall to discuss John Rizzo's project to build the office complex on 79 acres of land the family owns on Route 29.

The land was formally annexed from the town of Johnstown into the city last summer, town Supervisor Roy Palmateer said today.

Palmateer said there was some controversy regarding the property annexation last year, but the Johnstown Town Board decided not to protest it and allow the annexation on land near Mount Carmel Cemetery to go through.

"We didn't allow it at the start," Palmateer said. "We thought about it, we finally called [Johnstown] Mayor [Sarah] Slingerland and said it was OK."

Palmateer said the town of Johnstown usually doesn't like to allow the city to annex land. One of the major reasons, he said, is because the volunteer fire district in the area of the annexed land loses tax money. But for the sake of continued development in the area, Palmateer said town officials decided to let the Rizzo annexation go through.

Prior to last week's council meeting, Slingerland said the council needs to adopt the local law for the annexation as "one little final piece" to spur the development.

City Attorney Susan Palmer Johnson told the council a public hearing and the local law, which is to take effect March 16, is required by the state Department of State.

She said the state requires that process any time annexed land is considered, even though the Rizzo annexation was approved already by the two municipalities.

John Rizzo's wife, Eileen, said today that "because of the economy," she's not sure when the office complex construction will begin. She said the family still hasn't requested city water and sewer for the site, but may do so in the future.

In other business Tuesday, the council approved a service agreement between Benetech Inc. and the city to provide administrative services for the city's retirement Flex Plan.

The council approved a $4,200 contract with Dakota Environmental Services of Boonville, Oneida County, for removal of asbestos at city-owned property at 107 Washington St.

"This is a piece of property we received through foreclosure," Slingerland said.

She said the structure has much fire damage and the city is working on the demolition process.



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