For the Express
MAYFIELD — The town of Mayfield unanimously said no to signing over a chunk of land to the village of Broadalbin.
An annexation proposal, if it passed, would have saw 46 acres of Mayfield’s land on Bellen Road become part of the neighboring village. The town of Broadalbin already agreed to allow the annexation of 61 acres of its land to the village on Feb. 8.
The land swap was initially spurred after Heritage Development Holdings LLC, of Clifton Park, and five Bellen Road residents submitted a petition to have the village of Broadalbin annex 107 acres of land. The proposal was strictly for the exchange of the land. However, the land has been openly discussed as being used to build a 150-unit housing complex.
Mayfield Supervisor Richard Argotsinger said the only thing being discussed was the annexation and not the development itself, but contends the land was petitioned for a reason.
“The village doesn’t just want a 100 acres of empty land. We are going under the assumption that it will be a housing project,” he said before the vote on Thursday night. “[Heritage Develop-ment Holdings] never calls it a development, they refer to it as a ‘proposed project.’”
The Mayfield town board cited several reasons to disapprove the annexation including: the loss of tax revenue; the impact on town roadways; not being in compliance with the town’s comprehensive plan and “existing neighborhood character”; and quality of life complaints by nearby neighbors.
Councilman Vince Coletti, who put forth the proposal to disapprove the project, said the annexation would “cause the town of Mayfield to lose a substantial amount of income.”
According to Broadalbin town Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo, Mayfield’s vote doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a substantial number of homes being built on the land.
Under the land annexation proposal the village of Broadalbin could have extended water and sewer to the potential housing development. Now that the land remains in two separate municipalities, homes can still be built using individual wells and septic tanks.
“He does have some recourse,” DiGiacomo said of the developer. “He has to prove that this will be a public benefit and not a public detriment.”
Citing a report from Fulton County, DiGiacomo said up to 99 homes could potentially be built without the annexation.
“Either way, it’s a lot of homes,” he said. “I just think it’s more sanitary and logical to progress with municipal services.”
Argotsinger said he worked closely with town Code Enforcement Officer Michael Stewart and Fulton County Planning Department Director James Mraz, as well as conferred with town Highway Superintendent Melvin Dopp and Assessor Melissa Mazzarelli, before casting his vote. He contends that taking just the raw land into account and not knowing exactly what the “proposed project” could contain is not in Mayfield’s best interest.
Though the development company’s managing member, Geoffrey Brooks, has refuted the notion of a development, asserting he’s only proposing annexation, he has repeatedly shown development presentations at public meetings.
The land in question only has two avenues of access at Bellen Road and Kettle Road, which are both owned by Mayfield.
Dopp said Kettle Road was built to sufficiently handle local traffic to the dozen homes along it, but not 200 cars, cement trucks, logging trucks, builders and contractors. Some of the required improvements include road improvements, construction of a new turn around at the roads end, which would require permission from local property owners or the purchase of land, plus a road widening project.
Dopp said the road improvements alone would cost $100,000, and the town would also lose state road funding on Bellen Road.
DiGiacomo said he completely understands the neighbors’ concerns and the impact a large development could have on the local roads. Still, he says, if houses are going to be built, he would rather they have municipal services.
“What I’m hearing, it’s not whether or not it’s going to be developed, but when it’s getting developed.”