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In Split Votes, Legislature Authorizes Sale of Airport Parcel to NYSDOT

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In Split Votes, Legislature Authorizes Sale of Airport Parcel to NYSDOT

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Also related to the Airport project, Legislators, after considerable discussion, authorized the sale of 15 acres of Airport property, located on Warren Road, to the New York State Department of Transportation, as the first step toward relocating the NYSDOT regional highway maintenance, from its current location on Ithaca’s Cayuga Inlet.  Several Hillcrest Road residents expressed concern to the Legislature regarding how the facility could impact their properties, and maintained they had not been notified about the project.  Legislators Amanda Champion and Shawna Black were among those who said they didn’t yet know enough about the proposal, including environmental aspects, and Legislator Mike Sigler said he’d first like to see a plan from the DOT. 

Kathleen Troy, of the Syracuse regional office of the DOT stressed that this action represents only the first step in the process, a contract to permit sale, and that there will be ample opportunity to conduct a full environmental assessment on the project, develop a site plan, and incorporate input from residents, the County, and the FAA.  Legislature Chair Martha Robertson pointed out that the DOT needs to own the land before the next steps can take place, and County Attorney Jonathan Wood stated that the County would be an “involved party” in the State Environmental Quality Review that DOT will conduct.

The Legislature by a 12-2 vote (Legislators Black and Champion dissenting) first made a negative determination of environmental significance regarding the land transfer transaction, then authorized sale of the parcel by a vote of 9-4, with Legislators Champion, Black, Sigler, and Henry Granison voting no.  (Legislator Rich John was excused.)  The land will be sold for its fair market value of $840,000, with funds going to the Airport for use by that enterprise unit.

Other Airport-related actions:
Legislators, by unanimous vote, also authorized acceptance of FAA grants for five other Airport projects—for rehabilitation of three taxiways and part of the General Aviation ramp (design); acquisition of another passenger boarding bridge; to acquire two pieces of snow removal equipment; and to support a feasibility study regarding construction of an aircraft rescue fire fighting building.