Several Montgomery residents expressed their frustration with Project Sailfish at the Town of Montgomery Planning Board meeting Monday evening.
To the dismay of many residents, Project Sailfish was approved at the planning board meeting on Nov. 25. It is an Amazon warehouse that will measure approximately one million square feet. The facility will be a non-sortable fulfillment center, housing items that cannot be sorted due to size. These items cannot be placed onto a conveyor belt for automatic sorting.
The project, which is currently under construction, will be placed near Interstate-84 and the intersections of NYS Route 17K and 747 in the Town of Montgomery. Project Sailfish will bring more than 1,000 car parking spaces and 225 truck trailer spaces. The estimated cost to build the warehouse is $85 million.
According to the State Environmental Quality Review Act findings statement, the warehouse is expected to be fully operational in the first half of 2021. The statement also revealed that the project would employ up to 1,100 full-time employees, typically in multiple shifts. Seasonal increase in employment is expected in the fourth quarter annually. The project would also create a number of short-term construction jobs using a significant amount of local labor. The town’s Industrial Development Agency has a local labor requirement that requires a minimum of 85 percent local labor.
But despite these benefits to the local economy, residents complained during the approval process about the traffic and dust that would be created by the construction of the project. Their predictions turned out to be correct.
Barbara Lerner, the principal of Lerner Pavlick Realty Company, which owns property next to the development, has faced many problems due to the construction of Project Sailfish. This includes entering and exiting her property due to traffic and not being able to turn left to get to Interstate-84. Construction workers have also used the parking lot on her property for staging. The dust from both construction and traffic have created a tremendous cloud of dust, which presents health issues. Lerner noted during Monday’s meeting that she repeatedly told the planning board about these issues in 2018 and 2019 before the project’s approval.
“And when you pretty much told me that I was wrong, that this would never happen. Well you could not have been more wrong it is a huge problem,” she said.
Don Berger drove by the Amazon site on Monday and saw a cloud of dust that he estimated was at least 20 feet high. He added that traffic by the site has been astronomical, highlighted by three tandem dump trucks traveling on Goodwill Road.
“We [residents] warned you of all these things and you kept promising us that things would be put in place,” he said. “Well things aren’t in place...The traffic is a mess. Particularly the truck traffic.”
He expressed the need for a monitor to look after the site.
“The residents are being dumped on...,” he said. “It [the Amazon site] needs to be taken care of.”