“Here you go with another warehouse,” said Don Berger, a resident of Montgomery.
The sentiment was shared by many residents speaking at a public hearing last week before the Town of Montgomery Planning Board. With Medline fresh in everyone’s minds, the proposal of a 312,500 square foot warehouse facility and office building on the southeast side of Neelytown Road raised many concerns.
The applicant, National Builders, LP, is proposing a 93-bay facility on 42.29 acres at 134 Neelytown Road, about a half mile from NYS Route 208 and behind Storagetown. A. Duie Pyle plans to own the facility and eventually employ up to 75 people.
The plans show 75 employee and visitor parking spaces as well as 158 for trucks.
Representatives for the applicant explained that product will come in, A. Duie Pyle will receive orders and then ship those orders out to various stores. The facility is not a cross-dock facility and there will be no manufacturing. They will not use yard jockeys and they will not be storing items outside the facility.
Prior to the public hearing, Fred Mertz, a resident of the village of Montgomery, called for a cumulative traffic study before the town approves any warehouses in the town, saying the residents and local businesses are already “being overrun by truck traffic.”
Berger agreed, pointing out that Medline means an additional 350 trucks a day, and since they’ve promised not to send them through the village of Montgomery, that means “everything is coming down Neelytown Road.”
The applicant has already been directed by Orange County to take into account the impact of Medline’s traffic in their traffic study, however residents pushed for the town to take a more cumulative look.
Residents told the board that the road is already hazardous with trucks coming to a complete stop on the road and others parked half on, half off the road, obstructing traffic. Some vehicles attempt to pass the trucks, only to be faced with oncoming semi-trucks.
“Neelytown Road right now, particularly on that end of Neelytown Road, is a mess,” said Berger. “So who is going to take care of that mess?”
Berger pointed out that existing businesses on the road like Do It Best are expanding, even as the board considers approving additional warehouses.
“Where are all these trucks going? How are they going to get in and out of here? We can’t just keep opening the door for these warehouses with these huge amounts of truck traffic going up and down Neelytown Road, going into the village of Montgomery,” said Berger. “I just see that somewhere along the line, the taxpayers are going to get screwed with the cost of upgrading these roads, putting in intersections, the whole nine yards. Why are the applicants not being held responsible for stuff like that?”
Blain Petzold, whose property on Conklin Lane borders the project, was very concerned about the water that will be leaving the property and potentially flooding his home. He noted that his family has lived on the property for 84 years and indicated that the map prepared by the applicant was incorrect, failing to show all of the existing wetlands. He pointed them out on the map and provided photos he had taken, noting that he had been advised in the past that the property was too wet to build upon, when he wanted to put a house on it.
“Don’t tell me it doesn’t exist, because it exists,” said Petzold. “I don’t want this water on my property. I also don’t want their lights. I don’t want to be able to see it. I don’t want to be able to hear it.”
David Young of Chazon Companies, representing the applicant, stated that the property had been delineated and the area in question was not a DEC wetland, adding that with their layout they have avoided the DEC wetlands entirely.
Planning Board Chairman Fred Reichle explained to Petzold that there are certain criteria for delineated wetlands and “more than likely this is an area that the water backs up and floods when you get a lot of rain.”
“I will gladly show whoever wants to look,” said Petzold.
Mertz pointed out that the plans call for a lot of trees to be cleared and explained that will also take away some of the water absorption.
“I’m in the middle of Conklin Lane. If the water hits Conklin Lane, it comes in my house,” said Tom Lefebvre, who has lived in his home for 20 years and refuted Young’s claim that the water will not discharge in his direction. “What guarantees are you guys on this board going to give me that I’m not going to have thousands of gallons of water coming in my house? It’s just getting ridiculous.”
Young stated that with the bioretention and infiltration areas they are proposing, he believes less water will actually be coming off the property. Nevertheless, Chairman Reichle stated that the possible wetland pointed out by Petzold would be investigated.
It was also noted that there may be possible blasting during construction.
“These are warehouses that are backing right up against a residential area,” said Karina Tipton, expressing concern about noise and hours of operation.
The applicant advised that the hours for the business, A. Duie Pyle, will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the facility will be locked and gated, with no trucks coming in at night. The entire facility will be fenced in, for security reasons.
Lefebvre stated he can hear the backup alarms of Yellow Freight, which is further from his home than the proposed warehouse.
“I’m going to have noise coming in from every direction. Right now it’s nice and black and dark. Now we’re going to have lights everywhere. It’s going to totally ruin my whole quality of life living back there. I like where I live and I don’t want to move, but it’s getting a little ridiculous throwing all of this stuff right on top of houses. That corner right there is Country Club. There’s hundreds of houses there. It’s getting ridiculous that you’re putting this kind of stuff right next to houses,” said Lefebvre.
The public hearing was continued to Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
The evening continued with a public hearing on two additional warehouses, this time to be located on Bracken Road at Leonards Drive.
Bracken Road Properties is proposing two warehouses (80,000 and 60,000 square feet) and do not have an end user for either building, leaving Dave Young, who also represented this project, unable to answer what businesses the warehouses would shelter.
The public hearing was a continuation from a previous meeting and Young advised the board of their progress addressing the concerns of the board’s consultants and the local fire department. He told the board that traffic from the facility would only go out on Route 208 and there would be signage, including signage necessary for 911.
Tipton said traffic in the area of Bracken Road, Route 208 and Goodwill is already a “hot mess” and she once again urged the board to have a study done on the cumulative impact of all of the projects.
“We’re talking about another intersection in the town where the residents and the current businesses are not going to be able to conduct their lives and their businesses,” said Tipton. “I’m not saying that this is the one reason to stop these warehouses or whatever, but what I’m saying is that we have to take a step back and we have to take a look at how each of these developments is going to accumulate.”
“As the planning board, you have the opportunity to request that the town board give you the tools you need to do your jobs and I’m just suggesting that that might be a tool that would be helpful for you,” Tipton said.
The public hearing was continued to Feb. 10 at 7:35 p.m.
Autumn Sky Development Co. was the last public hearing for the evening, and one that has been continued since Nov. 25. The board discussed a few “housekeeping items” with the applicant including updating the location of poles on the plans, then closed the public hearing. The applicant is to provide updated plans once they have the necessary information from the board’s consultants and will then be placed on an upcoming agenda for possible approval.