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September 25, 2013

 

C’ville opposes county land sale

Planning Board: 16 acre parcel should not be sold to Cortlandville Sand and Gravel

By STEVEN HOWE
Staff Reporter
showe@cortlandstandardnews.net

CORTLANDVILLE — The town Planning Board decided Tuesday night that it would draft a letter expressing support for the county retaining possession of 16 acres of land adjacent to Cortlandville Sand and Gravel.
The resolution approved by the board permits Kathy Wickwire, the board’s chairperson, to write a letter recommending the county does not sell the property to Cortlandville Sand and Gravel because of the land’s unique wetland characteristics.
County legislators had originally planned on voting to sell the land at Thursday’s session, but that timetable has been pushed back.
“It’s a great area that needs to be protected,” Wickwire said.
Glenn Reisweber, the director of Lime Hollow Center for Environment and Culture, made a presentation to the board citing county documentation that emphasized the environmental importance of the land.
“These aren’t my words, these are the county’s,” Reisweber said.
Benny and Sheva Gunzenhauser donated the land to the county in 1995, an action championed by the county’s Environmental Management Council for protecting an “important wetland habitat.” The property contains two marl ponds, environmental features that serve an important function as surplus runoff retention.
“Based on everything, who would want it (the land) to be surplus?” said board member Nick Renzi.
Wickwire said that she plans to work with Reisweber in preparing the letter to the Town Board and county. The Planning Board hopes to work with the Town Board in opposition to the county’s planned sale of the land.
In addition to expressing their recommendation that the land not be declared surplus and sold to Cortlandville Sand and Gravel, Planning Board members would like to see the land turned over to Lime Hollow.
Reisweber said more than once that his appearance at the Planning Board meeting was to inform. He also said that he went out to the land with six legislators to study the issue, though he did not identify who they were.
For decades the county had a long term agreement with the operators of Cortlandville Sand and Gravel to operate within the company’s facility, mining gravel under Cortlandville Sand and Gravel’s permit through the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said county Highway Superintendent Don Chambers. There is speculation by some that mining operations have encroached into the 16 acre parcel, but Chambers said that is not the county’s responsibility.
“Under the DEC permit ... it is their (the permit holder’s) duty to delineate and ensure that the mining operations are conducted within the bounds delineated by their permit,” Chambers said. “And it is the obligation of the mine operator under DEC regulations to enforce their boundaries that are covered within their permit.”
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Staff Reporter Catherine Wilde contributed to this report.

 

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