Saratoga County

Residents oppose proposed concrete plant in Stillwater

Resident on Sawmill Hill Road, Tammy Serviss speaks about the proposed concrete facility possibly to-be built on Farley Road in Stillwater on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.
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Resident on Sawmill Hill Road, Tammy Serviss speaks about the proposed concrete facility possibly to-be built on Farley Road in Stillwater on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

STILLWATER – Tammy Serviss, 44, calls herself the unofficial daughter of Stillwater’s Crow Hill neighborhood. The owner of Crow Hill Country Crafts and Primitives, Serviss has lived in the rural patch of farm homes and cropland since she was born – her Jeep’s license plate even makes reference to Crow Hill.

That connection to and love for the area is exactly why Serviss has joined a growing number of community members who oppose a proposed concrete plant on the east side of Farley Road, about 340 feet north of the intersection with Route 67.

As of Thursday evening, more than 100 people had signed an online petition, with residents’ concerns about the concrete plant ranging from clean air to neighborhood disruption to truck traffic to environmental runoff into the Tenendaho Creek.

Plans for the concrete batch plant, where materials would be trucked in to make concrete, call for a 2,760-square-foot plant operating from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with between 10 and 18 trucks accessing the site, according to the developer. The concrete plant was proposed in October by the prolific Halfmoon-based developer Bruce Tanski, whose projects include apartment complexes, single-family homes, the Fairways of Halfmoon golf course, and commercial projects such as the Shoppes of Halfmoon on Route 9.

The concrete plant, on a nearly 12-acre parcel in Stillwater, would primarily be used to mix concrete for Tanksi’s own ongoing development projects, he told the Stillwater Planning Board at a March 28 meeting. That meeting was the first time the body discussed the project after the initial application submitted last fall required additional information, according to Lindsay Buck, Stillwater’s senior town planner.

Tanski purchased the land in May 2021 for $125,000, Stillwater’s tax records show.

Tanski’s ongoing projects include a senior housing development on Route 67 in Stillwater – not far from the proposed concrete plant–that will provide 123 units for seniors with 88 additional units, according to Buck.

While Buck said the town has a strong working relationship with Tanski, the developer has something of a checkered past, including being sentenced to three years probation and 200 hours of community service in Saratoga County Court in 2015 after admitting to using straw donors to exceed the state’s campaign contribution limits, The Daily Gazette reported. Tanski was involved in a 2013 scandal that caused the late Halfmoon Supervisor Mindy Wormuth to resign. On April 2, 2013, Tanski admitted to using another person to contribute $1,000 of his own money to Friends of Mindy Wormuth, according to The Daily Gazette’s reporting at the time.

Bruce Tanski Construction & Development, which has been in business more than 40 years, has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

Tanski did not return messages seeking comment on Thursday.

At an April public hearing on the proposed concrete plant, several residents showed up to voice concerns.

“Crow Hill is completely residential/farm land. We feel that allowing Mr. Tanski to proceed with this project will greatly diminish our quality of life, reduce our property values, impact our health and well-being, have an enormous environment impact and greatly destroy the tranquility we love,” residents wrote in a May 26 letter to the town of Stillwater summing up their concerns. “Shame on us, shame on Stillwater, if in five years or 10 years, there is a cluster of serious illness among the residents of Crow Hill or the nearby apartment complexes because we failed to do the right thing.”

Lisa and Albert Dinardo have been living in a home roughly 300 feet from the proposed concrete plant site for 18 years. They are worried about the noise from the trucks, but they are also fearful of their 3-year-old grandson, whom they regularly watch, breathing in dust particles.

”We’re outdoors with him a lot. He loves the outdoors,” Lisa Dinardo said.

The retired couple said they moved to the home for peaceful, country living, and they are worried the concrete plant will be a disturbance.

“It doesn’t belong here. Not just because we live here. It belongs way out in the boondocks,” Lisa Dinardo said.

Richard Akin, a 36-year-old Nurse Practitioner who lives within two miles of the proposed site, said he is concerned about his 6-year-old son, who has a history of asthma.

“The person proposing the plant said it would be pollution free without showing evidence of anything” Akin said. “He had no clear sets of data to prove any of that.”

Buck said the Planning Board will weigh the residents’ feedback as the review process proceeds.

“The board has certainly heard all of those public concerns and is taking all of that in during this review time,” Buck said.

The next Planning Board meeting is scheduled for June 27, but the agenda for that meeting was not yet set, so Buck said she couldn’t confirm whether the concrete plant would be on the agenda. She said she had no available timeline on the project.

Light industrial facilities like the concrete plant are listed as a permitted use but require a special use permit, according to town’s zoning rules for the area. When deciding on whether to approve a special use permit, which could be administered permanently or temporarily, the Planning Board will consider everything from environmental impact to the way the project would potentially change the character of the neighborhood, Buck said.

The project site contains a mix of wooded and grassy areas, and it does not contain wetlands or streams, according to the site plan.

But Serviss fears the concrete plant will ruin Crow Hill. She said her mom bought the property where Serviss and her husband are now raising three girls for $3,000 in 1963–when it didn’t even have running water. Serviss thinks back fondly on a childhood spent playing with friends and working the nearby corn and alfalfa fields with farmers.

“Change is inevitable,” Serviss said. “But how much is too much?”

Andrew Waite can be reached at [email protected] and at 518-417-9338. Follow him on Twitter @UpstateWaite.

Categories: Clifton Park and Halfmoon, News, Saratoga County

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