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Buildings will be demolished

WATKINS GLEN—With two members absent, the village planning board voted to approve the Watkins Glen Housing Authority’s plan to demolish two buildings across the street from Jefferson Village and tabled the vote on the development of the former gas and electric building on Salt Point Road. The regular planning board meeting Nov. 19 included a public hearing on each project. No one came forward with comments on the Housing Authority’s plan, which is part of the organization’s long-term objective to build senior apartments in the village for middle-income individuals. The demolished buildings will be replaced by temporary graveled parking lots. Several people voiced their opinions during the public hearing related to the project on Salt Point Road. Earlier this year, the village sold the building that houses the gas and electric departments to Magee Point Associates, LLC, which plans an adaptive reuse that will convert the mid-19th-century structure into market-rate apartments and a restaurant. Magee Point Road resident Marianne Shoemaker asked the board to consider her concerns about increased traffic on the narrow, steep road. She cited what she termed the “confusing intersection” where Route 14, Salt Point Road and Magee Point road converge, saying motorists exiting the highway are often speeding and don’t use turn signals. “This is a very busy intersection, and it’s poorly designed,” Shoemaker said. “It just seems like a recipe for disaster.” She asked the board to consider additional mitigation to address the safety issues. Amedeo Fraboni, who acted as chairman for the meeting in Joe Fazzary’s absence, told Shoemaker, “we really do realize there’s going to be a change in the traffic pattern somewhat.” Planning board member Tom Fitzgerald commented on the concerns relating to the traffic patterns. “Ultimately, the problem is the road, which isn’t our issue. It’s not in our jurisdiction; only the building is,” he explained. “All we can do is make suggestions that there may be problem, and that’s what we’re here for.” Because Fazzary and John Vona were not at the meeting, the board decided to postpone voting on the project until the other members could read the notes and review the public comments. The planning board has 60 days from the public hearing to approve or reject a site plan.

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