Town officials have agreed to wave a $186,000 sewer connection fee for a proposed 248-unit apartment complex so that a local developer will build a nearly $1 million trunk line from his property to Rotterdam’s sewage treatment plant on West Campbell Road.
The sewer line, also funded with an $88,000 grant from the county’s Metroplex Development Authority, will initially extend only to Timothy Larned’s planned development on a 72-acre triangle of land between Princetown Road and North Thompson Street. Plans in the near future, however, will extend the line to the Burdeck Street Business Park and Techfibers Inc., a company now operating at the former Vstream Manufacturing facility to the southwest.
Eventually, town officials and county leaders hope to bring the line to Route 7 and beyond the Exit 25A interchange on Interstate 88. Bringing the line further west could open up many vacant properties for commercial development — a lofty goal that has eluded town leaders for years.
“This is a great deal for Rotterdam,” Supervisor Harry Buffardi said Tuesday. “The Burdeck Street sewer project has been on the drawing board for many years in Rotterdam, but nothing ever got built by past town administrations.”
Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen lauded the agreement with Larned. Though the project will take an initial investment in the form of the Metroplex grant and the town’s willingness to waive the fee, he said the project will put sewers within reach of companies interested in developing in the Burdeck Street and Exit 25A area.
“This is a very important economic development,” he said. “It puts sewers within reach of some buildings and some sites that are very attractive for development opportunities.”
And it’s better than the alternative, Gillen said. Larned was previously approved for a much smaller — and about $325,000 cheaper — sewer system that would have serviced only his apartment complex.
“If this part [of the sewer line] wasn’t done correctly, you’d have a harder time going up the rest of the corridor,” he said. “The hard part gets done with this agreement.”
Members of the Town Board approved an expansion of the sewer district last week. Construction on the line is expected to begin later this year.
Town officials have mulled ways to move a sewer line up the so-called Burdeck Street corridor for more than a decade. In 2003, a study by Duanesburg, Princetown and Rotterdam suggested an ambitious $20.39 million project to install sewers along Route 7 and the Interstate 88 interchange.
Three years later, a group of developers calling themselves Operation Seven West Inc. outlined a plan to extend a sewer line along Burdeck Street to the Princetown border. Once the developers recouped their investment through fees, the sewer district would be turned over to the town.
But neither plan got off the ground. Without a sewer connection, many of the larger vacant properties between Route 7 — also known as Duanesburg Road — and I-88 have remained undeveloped.
“That’s an attractive corridor,” Gillen said. “But right now without sewers, its a development obstacle.”