By JAIME STUDD
For the Express
BROADALBIN — Plans for a new housing development on Bellen Road may finally be moving forward, thanks to a tentative agreement reached between the village and town of Broadalbin and the town of Mayfield.
The Broadalbin Village Board held a special meeting last Wednesday night to discuss the negotiated settlement and give Mayor Eugene Christopher the authority to sign it on behalf of the village.
Signatures are also required from Broadalbin town Supervisor Joe DiGiacomo and Mayfield town Supervisor Rick Argotsinger.
Developer Jeff Brooks, of Heritage Holdings of Clifton Park, said plans for the development actually began taking shape in 2007.
The proposal features a mixture of single family and twin town homes, totaling approximately 170 units, to be built on 100 acres of land straddling the towns of Mayfield and Broadalbin.
Christopher said the village was approached by the developer about tying the new homes into the village’s water and sewer systems, a deal Christopher said he was unwilling to make without officially annexing the property to the village.
Though the village and town of Broadalbin agreed to the annexation, the town of Mayfield rejected the proposal out of fear, Christopher said, of a diminished tax base.
The dispute eventually landed in the courts. Christopher said one of the judges adjudicating the case in the state Supreme Court Appellate Division Third Department recently urged the parties to come to an acceptable compromise, resulting in the negotiated settlement.
“We had a meeting with the judge last month,” said Christopher. “He wanted us to agree on something.”
Under the negotiated settlement, all of the interested parties will be responsible for their own legal costs.
The village of Broadalbin and the town of Mayfield will each be responsible for maintaining the portion of Bellen Road that lies within the individual districts.
Major repairs to the road will be negotiated on an as needed basis.
In response to a request from Mayfield officials, the entrance to Kettle Road, which falls within the disputed land, will be blocked off by a large stone barrier, essentially making it a dead end.
Because Kettle Road can be used to access the new development,but lies in Mayfield’s jurisdiction, Christopher said Mayfield town officials were concerned about shouldering the cost of the increased road maintenance that the new homes my have necessitated.
With respect to county sales tax, a portion of which the village receives as a partial entity of the town of Mayfield, the agreement requires that the village return 50 percent of the sales tax money it receives from the annexed portion of the property to the village of Mayfield, starting from the point the first home is built.
That portion of the agreement concerned several of the village’s trustees because it did not explicitly state that the 50 percent that had to be paid to Mayfield would apply only to the annexed portion of the property.
“Those kinds of things can bite you down the road,” said Trustee Eric Jones.
Christopher said he would approach the village’s lawyer about including more specific wording.
Questions about whether school buses would be able to navigate the area, given the planned blockade of Kettle Road, also arose, but it was determined to be an issue the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District would have to address.
For Brooks, the agreement represents a light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel.
“Nothing surprises me anymore in this business,” said Brooks.
Even after the agreement receives the official stamp of approval from all three municipalities, it still must go back to the Supreme Court for the endorsement of the three judge panel before Brooks can move forward.
In the meantime, he said he plans to begin ironing out a number of issues with interested agencies, including the state of New York, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Army Corps of Engineers and Mayfield and Broadalbin zoning regulations.