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Wayne Post
  • Arcadia seeks full reimbursement for engineering costs

  • The Town Board intends to pursue engineering costs still owed by Arcadia Hills, even if it means going to court.

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  • The Town Board intends to pursue engineering costs still owed by Arcadia Hills, even if it means going to court.
    Councilwoman Brenda Westcott made a motion, unanimously approved by the board, to seek reimbursement from Arcadia Hills developer Joe Alloco for engineering costs related to the scoping process of the State Environmental Quality Review Act. Westcott went so far as to say the board would file litigation if need be. The motion was preceded by an adopted resolution terminating the SEQRA review as well as “any further consideration of the proposal by Arcadia Hills, LLC to develop a solid waste management facility.”
    A copy of the resolution is expected to be mailed to anyone who submitted a comment or question during the scoping process.
    Alloco brought the proposal to develop a solid waste facility at the site of the old landfill on Route 88 about two years ago. He withdrew the proposal and purchase offer on March 28 after determining he would be unable to mitigate a noise issue along one boundary of the property, he said.
    Alloco previously said he has met the terms of the agreement for reimbursment of engineering costs with the Town Board after paying $6,140 for engineering costs, leaving $11,630 in town invoices unpaid. In a letter to Supervisor Dick Colacino, Alloco noted the town sent 13 invoices for engineering costs incurred between Jan. 19 and 26 and contended he was not responsible for those costs because it was understood that his engineers would take the reins on creating the final scoping document.
    Following the purchase offer withdrawal, Alloco stated his attorneys would meet with Town Attorney Dave Saracino and the matter would be handled fairly. When questioned at Tuesday night’s board meeting about the status of the issue, Colacino said the attorneys would be meeting on it. However, Saracino quickly refuted the claim.
    “I am not working on this,” he announced to a packed meeting room, adding that he was directed by the board to stop any work on the matter. “The board knows that.”
    Saracino noted with regret that should it become evident costs for litigation will exceed what is owed for engineering costs, it would not be prudent for the town to continue.
    Residents in attendance were critical of the Town Board’s handling of the entire proposal.
    “It looks like (Alloco) was driving the ship here,” said Brian Donnelly, a Concerned Citizens of Arcadia board member.
    Donnelly further questioned the mention of an agreement between Arcadia Hills and the board to allow Arcadia Hills engineers to create the final scoping document, which would have outlined what issues needed to be addressed before the project could move forward. Department of Environmental Conservation regulations state the town, as lead agency, is responsible for developing a final scoping document — not the applicant, Arcadia Hills.
    Page 2 of 2 - Saracino said the letter from Alloco is nothing more than “his opinion,” and the Town Board does not agree with Alloco’s position.
    “This board never agreed to that process,” Saracino said. “There’s no agreement, and Arcadia Hills can’t produce one.”
    Saracino went on to say that he believes Arcadia Hills should reimburse the town, and Alloco’s attorneys are aware of the town’s position.
    State DEC regulations under SEQRA state, “the lead agency may charge a fee to the applicant in order to recover the actual costs of either preparing or reviewing the draft and/or final EIS.” Saracino said the scoping process does indeed fall under these regulations.
    Before the meeting adjourned, Councilman Bruce Nielsen cryptically urged residents to research hydrofracking, alluding to a possible proposal that may be presented to the board in the future.
    “That’s the next carrot that will be dangled in front of us,” he said, noting that even the geologist monitoring the old landfill for the town is opposed to the idea. “He said it scares him more than anything else.”

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