Village approves: Magee plan, wastewater resolution
WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen board of trustees voted to declare the Magee Point property as surplus and authorize the village to enter into a purchase agreement at the regular meeting held on Monday, June 4. The resolution specifies that the proposed sale of the property to Water Works Center, LLC will be for no less than $325,000. The property, which houses the village’s raw water intake facility, was repurchased last year in the face of threatened litigation from the then developer. The action taken by the board does not complete the sale of the property but clears the path for the transaction and authorizes Mayor Mark Swinnerton to sign all required transfer documents.
Swinnerton explained that with this proposed sale, the village will have around $500,000 wrapped up in the raw water intake as opposed to the $1.3 million it would have cost to construct a new facility. He went on to say that the former developer had threatened a lawsuit against the village because the village had failed to vacate the property as promised. “We didn’t feel that was the direction we wanted to take the village in,” said Swinnerton. Both he and trustee Scott Gibson said the board had dealt with very difficult decisions throughout this process. “We can’t change the past,” said Gibson, “it comes down to what it looks like on paper.” He further explained that the village is saving money by not constructing a new facility, avoiding costly legal fees associated with litigation and getting the property back on the tax rolls.
The resolution states that Water Works Center, LLC “intends to re-develop the [p]roperty as a mixed commercial and residential development,” and the board has determined that the “intended use of the [p]roperty will promote the general health and welfare of the Village and its residents, facilitate the Village’s re-development efforts, and preserve and enhance the Village’s economic, cultural and historical environment.” Part of the agreement is that the village is allowed to keep and maintain the raw water intake facility at its current location.
In other business:
• The board passed a resolution of support for an application for grant funding from the Regional Economic Development Councils created by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The application is for $1 million to be used to pursue the design and construction of a new green wastewater treatment facility to be used by both Watkins Glen and Montour Falls. Swinnerton explained that the village is “looking at close to $2 million in capital improvements,” in connection with a pending consent agreement with the Department of Environmental Conservation to maintain compliance with DEC regulations. Construction of a new facility would help the village avoid those expenditures. The resolution considers the relocation of the facility as “one of the threshold projects that will lead toward redevelopment of the entire southern shoreline of Seneca Lake.”
• Trustee Gibson took a moment to inform the public that the old siren, previously located on the roof of the municipal building, had been relocated to the Watkins Glen Fire Department. He added that the siren, which he believed to be “vintage 1897,” was not going to be hooked up, but was instead going to serve as a memorial.
• The board approved the adoption of summer hours in the village business office for the months of July and August. Starting in July, the village offices will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday. Clerk Donna Beardsley said that Fridays in the summer were typically very slow and that if complaints are received the office will revert back to regular hours.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 19 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building.