News Details - Planning Committee Declines to Recommend IDA Support of Lansing Development Project
The Legislature’s Planning, Development and Environmental Quality Committee, by a 3-2 vote, today failed to recommend Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) support for a mixed use development project in the Village of Lansing, adjacent to the Shops at Ithaca Mall.
The committee was asked to recommend that the Legislature approve IDA issuance of up to $2.3 million in Recovery Zone Exempt Facility Bonds for the Arrowhead Ventures project and to make available dedicated payments under a payment-in-lieu-of-tax (PILOT) financing agreement to pay debt service on the bonds or for other qualifying project costs. The project, proposed by the Triax Management Group, would include a BJ’s Wholesale Club,12 units of senior housing, and expansion of a reclaimed wetland for bird habitat. Legislators Frank Proto and Pat Pryor voted in favor of sending the matter on to the full Legislature; Legislators Will Burbank, Carol Chock, and committee chair Pam Mackesey voted no. The recovery zone bonds, made available as part of the federal stimulus program, expire at year’s end.
Projections presented to the committee estimate that the retailer would generate $40 million in annual sales, generating $1.6 million in local sales tax and 70 jobs. The PILOT financing arrangement would assist with the housing portion of the project—the senior housing and wetland development elements required by the Village of Lansing.
Developers said the financing will make possible a project that will enable addition of a retailer desiring to locate here and will allow retail dollars to be spent here, instead of elsewhere, and Chamber of Commerce president Jean McPheeters also spoke in support of developing the parcel. Legislator Chock, however, was one who said she does not believe sufficient public benefit exists to support the project.
Despite the committee’s action, the Legislature will still have the opportunity to take action, through a member-filed resolution that is part of the agenda for the December 7 Legislature meeting.
Among other actions, the committee, by a 3-2 vote (Legislators Proto and Pryor voting no), recommended a resolution to prohibit leasing of County-owned land for natural gas drilling through hydraulic fracturing, revised from an initial version presented the Legislature last month. Calling the possibility of permitting any such drilling as “slim to none,” Mr. Proto maintained that taking such a legislative action is not needed, but Legislator Burbank characterized such a symbolic stand as beneficial, at a time when other counties are considering the matter of drilling on county land.