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WATKINS GLEN
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Cuomo approves Watkins park easement

    WATKINS GLEN—Developers interested in a lakeshore property in Watkins Glen have one less hurdle in the way to begin construction.
    On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law allowing Schuyler County to grant an easement through land located at the eastern most portion of Seneca Harbor Park to allow access to lakefront development.  Administrator Tim O’Hearn explained the land is located between Cargil Salt and the Watkins Glen wastewater treatment plant.  He explained getting this easement approved by the state has taken at least two years.  He said it has gone before state senate and assembly at least once before this.  O’Hearn explained because the property was parkland, it needed state approval.
    According to the state senate’s legislation, “A  2008 study identified a critical housing shortage in Schuyler County. Allowing Schuyler County to grant a permanent easement at Seneca  Harbor Park.
    “The park  would  allow access to lakefront development of adjoining property and creation of a major  economic  asset  for  the  entire  county.  The portion   of   the   park   in  question  is  currently  utilized  as  a parking/driveway area and such use will not change as a result  of  this action.”
    Despite it being called an easement, O’Hearn said it actually includes a land swap.  He explained that the village of Watkins Glen will give up some of the lakeside land next to the wastewater plant for the park.  The county in turn will allow use of the park land for the entrance to the development site.  The senate legislation explains Schuyler had to meet a federal requirement to provide property, equal in value, to the land under the easement.
    He added though that the piece of property in question is small; it would allow vehicle access to land that was previously the proposed site of Seneca Harbor Place, LLC.  O’Hearn said it was a $15 million project that would build about 35 townhouses, either lakefront or lakeview.  Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development was working with the people behind the project to get it started.
    However, O’Hearn said given the time it took to get this easement, he said he didn’t know if those developers were still interested.  He explained that if other developers wanted to build there, they too would need this easement onto the property.
    “It’s a large regulatory hurdle,” said O’Hearn.

 

 

 





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