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Wayne Post
  • Proposed Arcadia landfill project at a standstill

  • Arcadia Hills developer Joe Alloco said he is moving forward with plans to develop a solid waste facility in the town of Arcadia — but cautiously.

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  • Arcadia Hills developer Joe Alloco said he is moving forward with plans to develop a solid waste facility in the town of Arcadia — but cautiously.
    Town engineering firm MRB received notice on Jan. 17 from Arcadia Hills’ engineers, Ensol, stating that it was having a “significant technical issue for landfill design.” Town attorney Dave Saracino said the notice came the same day MRB engineers had firmed plans for the final scoping document that was expected to be presented to the Town Board in February.
    Saracino said that in the correspondence, Arcadia Hills asked that the town suspend work on the final scoping document until engineers could work out the issues. They also waived the timeline requirements under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) to complete the scoping process.
    The news has left many people speculating about what the technical issues could be, most notably the members of Concerned Citizens of Arcadia.
    “It is no surprise to us that there are significant issues with putting a landfill on that site,” said Matt Ury, CCoA vice president. “Our research showed it unsuitable from the beginning. We are surprised the board is clinging to this project at the taxpayers’ expense. It’s time to do the right thing and move on.”
    The 161-acre town-owned site on Route 88 where the proposed facility would be located sits vacant and off the tax rolls. Alloco brought a proposal to the Town Board to purchase the land for $1.18 million and develop a landfill on site. The proposal would not only put the property back on the tax rolls, but it came with a mutual benefits agreement that would sink millions of dollars into the community over the landfill’s proposed 17-year lifespan. The project hinges on a public referendum on the sale of the property.
    Well into the SEQRA process, the board, and concerned residents, have been waiting since December for the completion of the final scoping document that would outline what studies the developer would have to perform. Early indications from MRB engineers suggested valid studies requested by the public could take up to a year to perform, delaying any public referendum for at least 18 months, Saracino added.
    However, the latest correspondence from Arcadia Hills has brought the project to a standstill. Saracino told board members last Tuesday that there is no indication as to how long the suspension will last and phone calls and emails have gone unanswered ever since. Should the town move forward with the final scoping document, Saracino warned that the developer would not be obligated to reimburse the town for any engineering costs.
    “We’re returning to square one in my mind,” Saracino told board members. “We don’t know how long this could take. If Arcadia Hills can’t work out the issue, they could withdraw their application.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Alloco was “puzzled and dismayed” by Saracino’s remarks.
    “Our attorney responded to the Town Attorney’s most recent inquiry, which was received on the day of the Town Board’s meeting (Feb. 12), within half an hour and several hours prior to the meeting,” Alloco wrote in a response letter to Supervisor Dick Colacino. “We clearly communicated in January that there would be a delay while our engineer reviewed design criteria applicable to the property, and we will clearly communicate when that review is completed. In the meanwhile we do not want to burden the town with additional engineering or legal costs.”
    Saracino said the town can only guess what those issues could be at this point.
    “They could string this out for a long time, and that’s not fair to the board,” Saracino said. “If they have a design problem so that they can’t proceed, we should know about it. Then we could end negotiations. There’s a stall. When there’s a stall that usually means they’ve had a change of heart.”
    Alloco said that simply is not the case. He remains committed to the project meeting state Department of Environmental Conservation regulations and admits he is being cautious to ensure “we do it right.”
    It remains uncertain when the process will move forward.
    “At the present time, we cannot offer a specific timetable for resolving these technical issues,” he said. “We can assure you, however, that our engineer will take whatever time is needed to thoroughly analyze all of the technical and engineering requirements associated with the design and operation of a solid waste management facility that is state-of-the-art and fully compliant with all regulatory requirements.”
    Colacino said he was relieved to receive a response from Arcadia Hills in regards to the delay, although Alloco has not at this time specified what the technical issues are. On behalf of the entire Town Board, Colacino said he is pleased by Alloco’s desire not to “cut corners simply to push the process forward.”
    “This certainly has not in my mind been a significat delay, in fact taking in the complexity of a solid waste management facility with the multitude of regulations that must be adhered to, progress has been more progressive than much simpler projects I have been involved with,” Colacino said. “Hopefully a timetable will be set soon in order that the process may be completed, the Town Board make a decision either way, and the date set for a referendum on the sale of the property. I don't know what else I can say except that we all have to follow the legal process.”

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