GlobalFoundries’ plans for a second computer chip plant in Luther Forest drew both praise and criticism during a brief public hearing Monday at Malta Town Hall.
Of four speakers, one opposed the project and two had criticisms. The final speaker, Stillwater Planning Board Chairman Bob Barsheid, said the company has a good track record in dealing with community concerns.
“GlobalFoundries has always been responsible, and responsive to our questions,” he said. “The town of Stillwater is happy to have them, but happier to have them if they do things properly, and I believe they will.”
The Malta Town Board held the hearing as part of its environmental impact review of the proposed Fab 8.2 — a chip plant that would be larger than the first Fab 8 plant, which started production last year.
Among several zoning changes it is seeking, GlobalFoundries wants a requirement for a new Northway Exit 11A dropped. Instead, it suggests improvements to handle more traffic be made at six existing intersections.
“I’m in support of the factory. The biggest thing to me is traffic mitigation,” said resident Steve Gottmann.
“Is Exit 11A entirely off the table?” asked Manning Cove resident Cathy Lawrenz. “The traffic has gotten very heavy in this area.”
A requirement for a future Exit 11A a mile north of Round Lake to handle Luther Forest Technology Campus traffic was written into the town zoning code in 2004, but the plans weren’t pursued.
GlobalFoundries officials say a new exit could never be built in the time frame they envision for Fab 8.2. The company could make a decision to proceed this year, and open it as soon as 2016.
“Exit 11A is a much, much, much longer process for planning and construction, and it’s unlikely those two things could ever be married up,” said Matthew Jones, GlobalFoundries’ local attorney.
Mike Smith of Burnt Hills said the expansion by GlobalFoundries — with 2,000 or more additional jobs — will bring unwanted development in the next few years. “There won’t be much green left,” he said.
The Town Board will hold a workshop on traffic and other Fab 8.2 issues at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Town Hall.
GlobalFoundries officials want to get zoning approvals from both Malta and Stillwater by June 30. The Fab 8.2 site straddles the line between the two towns.