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Change in scope for Hales Mills plans

By MICHAEL ANICH

The Leader-Herald

JOHNSTOWN — The scope of Fulton County’s proposed Hales Mills Development Area project has changed somewhat.

County Planning Department Director Scott Henze recently alluded to potential changes, making them public Wednesday to the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee.

“It would really create more dense types of development,” Henze said.

Henze said the greater the density, the less infrastructure will have to be built into the project.

Fulton County has been working closely this year with its housing consulting firm — Elan Planning Design & Landscape Architecture of Saratoga Springs — on its proposed development areas. County officials have discussed a proposed 490-acre Hales Mills Development Area based at Hales Mills Road Extension and Route 29 in the town of Johnstown. Officials said it could include residential lots, mixed-use developments, townhouses and a walking trail.

But in his activities report to the committee last week, Henze noted a smaller 370-acre Hales Mills Development Area is now being considered in two phases. Phase I would be 230 acres, while Phase II would be 140 acres.

The first phase, Henze said, would look to create 425 housing units. That phase would include the following elements: mixed use development, one convenience store/gas station, six commercial/office buildings. 11,500 linear feet of roads, an upgraded Hales Mills Road Extension, 78 Triplex townhouse buildings containing 234 housing units, and six apartment buildings containing 191 housing units.

Fulton County officials said recently they continue to be interested in possibly purchasing land the county tried to obtain through eminent domain — but later scrapped — for the Hales Mills Development Area.

That property was owned by the late Robert Bowe. In summer 2018, Bowe put up for sale a 69-acre parcel on the west side of Hales Mills Road Extension and an 89.5-acre parcel on the road’s east side. Bowe sought $5,000 per acre, the county offered only $3,000 per acre. Bowe passed away May 27, but prior that, the county made an attempt to acquire the land through eminent domain. After public backlash, the Fulton County Board of Supervisors voted June 10 not to pursue eminent domain proceedings to obtain Bowe’s land.

But the Bowe property is now involved in probate proceedings, and the county is now waiting to determine if it can be purchased.

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

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