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Town Planning Board requests traffic study for First Student site

Town Planning Board requests traffic study for First Student site

WATERTOWN — The Town Planning Board wants a consultant to determine whether the controversial facility for First Student would create traffic problems in and around the Jefferson County Corporate Park. Local developer Michael E. Lundy’s plan to build the facility for a school bus service operator has drawn fire from other park property owners, including Car Freshner Corp., who believe it will increase traffic congestion along outer Coffeen Street. Mr. Lundy previously provided the board an analysis by consultant Jim Napoleon & Associates claiming the facility would have little effect on traffic and other companies in the park, but board members C. Randy Vaas and Terry R. MacAdam said the document alone was insufficient. After receiving correspondence from five parties expressing concerns about traffic and opposition to Mr. Lundy’s project, the Planning Board requested, during a special meeting Thursday, that the developer hire a consultant to conduct a traffic study. “In light of why the testimony has been provided and the recent documentation, I believe I agree as well,” said Planning Board Co-chairman Thomas E. Boxberger. “I think at this point, we would request a traffic study to be completed.” Construction crews have already broken ground for the 6,500-square-foot facility for First Student next to Penske Truck Leasing. The site will have a training area, offices and a small service area. It will also have enough parking for 42 buses and a fueling station outside.Mr. Lundy said he plans to have the traffic study conducted at the board’s request, but construction will continue despite the ongoing review and lawsuits against him from Car Freshner and Opal Development, whose principals are brothers Edward J. and John P. Valentine. “I’m not stopping,” Mr. Lundy said. “I’m going to continue doing what I was hired to do.” Daniel Samann, general counsel for Car Freshner, urged the board to reject Mr. Lundy’s First Student facility. In addition to creating traffic congestion problems for Car Freshner and other companies, Mr. Samann argued that First Student’s facility would particularly fail to comply with permitted uses established for the corporate park. Mr. Lundy has argued that the facility falls under the administrative or other professional services category of allowable uses because First Student will provide a service to the Watertown City School District. But Mr. Samann argues that category applies to doctors, managers, lawyers and salespeople. “The restricted covenants also matter to companies in the park,” Mr. Samann said. “Let me put it this way: if you build a no-cat apartment building, and then decide to stop enforcing the no-cat rule, don’t be surprised if people with allergies move out.” Car Freshner, the Valentine brothers and developer P.J. Simao, who all own property in the park, have called on the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency to enforce the covenants, but the agency has denied having that responsibility. In a letter sent Tuesday, Car Freshner’s attorney, Charles D. Grieco of Bond, Schoeneck and King, accused the JCIDA of violating state Open Meetings Law by adopting — during its executive session or at some other time outside of its June 7 public meeting — a position on covenant enforcement. “There is no record of the Board discussing this issue, or adopting any position with respect thereto, during any open portion of the June 7, 2018 meeting,” he wrote. The letter didn’t note specifics of the position allegedly adopted.
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News
Town Planning Board requests traffic study for First Student site

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