Final hearings set on Beech-Nut plans

Public input is coming to an end this week on plans for a new Beech-Nut baby food plant to be built

Public input is coming to an end this week on plans for a new Beech-Nut baby food plant to be built in Montgomery County’s Florida Business Park.

Two final public hearings are scheduled this evening on the Hero Group’s plans to build a $125 million factory in the park off state Route 5S, a move expected to preserve about 356 local jobs while moving another 135 in from corporate offices in Latham.

The town of Florida Planning Board is holding a special meeting at 7 tonight for a public hearing on the site plan, subdivision and environmental quality review for the 580,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and new corporate headquarters.

Montgomery County Economic Development Director Ken Rose said Monday the town Planning Board is reserving a final ruling on the site plan, subdivision and environmental review until after Thursday’s meeting of the county Planning Board, which will consider approval then.

Another public hearing will take place at 6:45 tonight in the chambers of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors.

The county board hearing covers a new local law officials need in order for government incentives, including a payment in lieu of taxes agreement, or PILOT, to be extended to the company.

The Hero Group is being offered a 20-year PILOT that puts off an initial $2.5 million payment until 2014.

The PILOT is structured so that the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency and the state of New York will refund a $2.5 million payment to the company for the first 13 years.

An attorney for the county IDA has said the law is required in order for the money to be passed to the state so the state can make the rebate during years 10 through 13 of the PILOT deal.

Rose said the new local law will also provide a legal means to develop a new economic development fund that would be built with a portion of PILOT payments for unrelated projects as well.

During the final seven years of the PILOT, the Hero Group/Beech-Nut will pay approximately $6.8 million in taxes to Montgomery County, $10.2 million to the Greater Amsterdam School District and $420,000 to the town of Florida.

Several elements of the project remain to be completed, including receipt of permits from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Rose said representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who are reviewing a wetland mitigation permit, are expected to walk through the property on Wednesday.

“Things are moving along and things are starting to fall into place,” Rose said.

The Florida Planning Board meeting and hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Town Hall at 214 Fort Hunter Road.

The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors’ hearing on the new local law is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. in supervisors’ chambers at 64 Broadway in Fonda.

Categories: Schenectady County

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