Air­field neigh­bors: Lease deal doesn’t fly

Res­i­dents won­der what Mil­ton gets from 40-year lease

Albany Times Union - - AROUND THE REGION - By Wendy Lib­er­a­tore ▶ wlib­er­a­tore@ time­sunion.com 518-4545445 @wendylib­er­a­tore

The Saratoga County Board of Su­per­vi­sors is con­sid­er­ing a pro­posal from Prime Group Hold­ings to build a hangar and a two-story of­fice build­ing at the County Air­port.

The 40-year land lease deal, said Board of Su­per­vi­sors Chair­man Ed Ki­nowski, would not lengthen the run­way, in­crease air traf­fic nor do harm to the air­port’s Karner blue but­ter­fly habitat. But any talk of new con­struc­tion at the air­port and long leases have some res­i­dents around the air­port wor­ried.

Just four years ago, the neigh­bors suc­cess­fully quashed a $2.5 mil­lion plan to ex­tend the run­way, a plan that would have re­quired the de­mo­li­tion of at least two homes and the county-owned hos­pice, Gate­way House of Peace.

“The air­port is in my back­yard,” said Tony Li­cata who spoke at Wed­nes­day’s pub­lic hear­ing on the pro­posal with the Board of Su­per­vi­sors. “You are giv­ing them a 40-year lease? What is the town go­ing to get out of this? My (town) taxes were just raised. I’m wor­ried about the lack of in­for­ma­tion. I think there is more here than meets the eye.”

Li­cata said he is con­cerned that the county will even­tu­ally pri­va­tize the air­port, mak­ing it a com­mer­cial hub. An­other neigh­bor John Olenik has sim­i­lar con­cerns.

“I think the board should take a se­ri­ous look if a 40-year lease is to the county’s ben­e­fit,” Olenik said. “I want to know what the county will get out of it, what the town will get out of this? Who is pro­tect­ing the home­own­ers around the air­port? Who is in con­trol here? We don’t know.”

The pro­posed agree­ment, which would run from Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2058, would rent the land to the self-stor­age com­pany for $22,551.40 per year, with an op­tion to in­crease the rent. The agree­ment would in­clude the use of 2.82 acres of land for a 19,600 square­foot hangar with an att t g t t t hd30000 f t

He said Prime Group Hold­ings, which is lo­cated on Rail­road Place, would also im­prove the fa­cil­i­ties, which he said “have been needed for quite some ti ” Ad­min­is­tra­tion will also re­view en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts, Har­ris said.

Olenik said he is ex­pect­ing Mil­ton Su­per­vi­sor Scott Os­tran­der to help res­i­dents bet­ter un­der­stand the deal by an­swer­ing their nu­mer­ous ques­tions. How­ever, on Thurs­day, Os­tran­der would only say that the run­way will not be ex­tended and homes will not be af­fected. He gave no opin­ion of how he will vote on the lease.

“I’ll re­view it and make my de­ci­sion when I vote,” Os­tran­der said.

Malta Su­per­vi­sor Vin­cent Delu­cia said he is for the project.

“A 40-year lease is stan­dard,” Delu­cia said. “It won’t in­crease air traf­fic, it will not af­fect the but­ter­flies. I think it’s a good thing for the county.”

Skip Dick­stein / Times Union

Res­i­dents in two Mil­ton de­vel­op­ments near the Saratoga County Air­port ques­tion a pro­posed lease for a hangar and two-story of­fice build­ing.

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