PERTH & AMSTERDAM -- The Perth Town Board is set to vote on changing its zoning laws to allow distribution centers to be built in the Tryon Technology Park — a move that would likely put Church Street in Amsterdam square in the cross hairs for even greater truck traffic.
Town Board member Timothy Korona said Perth's zoning laws right now only allow for warehouses and distribution centers to be built as part of a manufacturing business.
"It's a simple change. We're dropping that language, so we're going to let stand-alone warehouses or distribution centers come in without manufacturing," Korona said. "I guess there are companies interested, so we'd like to get some more use of that land there, and, if we could get companies to come in, it would be an asset to the town."
The Tryon Technology Park is a 515-acre wooded business park built from what was the former Tryon Boys and Girls Center, a juvenile detention center closed in 2010. New York state gave the Tryon land to Fulton County, in part as compensation for the loss of more than 30 state jobs at the former detention center. Since then Fulton County has developed the property into a shovel-ready business park, but it currently only has one occupant, medical marijuana company Vireo Health.
"So far, all we've got is the marijuana plant, so we're getting some revenue from that, and it was zero before that when it was Tryon," Korona said.
The Town Board is set to hold a public hearing on the proposed zoning change Dec. 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, residents of Church Street in Amsterdam, also known as County Highway 67, have implored city officials to ban truck traffic on the beleaguered street. Residents complain that in recent decades distribution centers built in Fulton and Montgomery counties, as well other centers in the Capital Region, have dramatically spiked the tractor-trailer traffic on Church Street, causing houses to shake, foundations to crack and leading to costly repairs.
In October, Amsterdam spent $185,583 to mill down 1.5 inches of pavement and repave a portion of upper Church Street, as a stop gap in preparation for a more extensive $1.9 million street rebuild project in the spring, paid for with two state grants secured by state Sen. George Ammedore, R-Rotterdam, and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam.
Church Street resident Arleen Blanchard is skeptical the road project will be enough to make her street safe again. She asked Mayor Michael Villa and the Common Council at its Dec. 4 meeting to take legislative action.
"The catch basis near my home has sunken in, and the [truck] axles fall over it, " Blanchard said. "This results in the severe shaking of my house. Windows rattles, pictures fall all over the house, and their frames are falling off ... I ask you who have the power to make this right, who or what are you afraid of?"
Villa told Blanchard the city has no power to eliminate truck traffic on Church Street.
"The city has no recourse. It is what it is, there are no other access routes for the trucks to go. The city has no recourse in abating trucks from that route," Villa said. "All we can enforce is speed — that will always be a truck route unless the state says otherwise."
Fourth Ward Alderman David Dybas said he disagrees with Villa. Dybas said he believes the city charter does give the council the power to regulate truck traffic on a city street. He said if New York state wants to maintain the truck route for businesses, the state should completely rebuild the road to the specifications of a state highway.