Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Town of Arcadia taxpayers on the hook for $172K for dumped Dump

Arcadia Town Supervisor Richard (Dick) Colacino and the Arcadia Town Board received a letter dated March 28, 2013 from Arcadia Hills, LCC withdrawing its intent to purchase the former Arcadia Landfill off Route 88 North.

The proposal, initially backed by Colacino and the Board officially began when a purchase offer was made to the Town back on May 8, 1012.
Since its announcement to locate a new solid waste disposal facility on the site of the former town landfill and former location of the Wayne County Solid Waste Authorty MRF (Material Recycling Facility), the proposal has received negative reviews from many neighbors and Town residents.

Arcadia Hills, LLC President, Joseph Alloco wrote in the March 28th letter:
“We continue to believe that locating a new solid waste disposal facility on this site is a project which would bring substantial benefits to the Town for many years without causing any significant adverse environmental impact. However, constraints arising from the size and configuration of the property present certain technical difficulties which we are not certain can be overcome without the cooperation of neighboring property owners and/or variances from the requirements of the Department of Environmental Conservation.

The level of technical uncertainty is confined to a narrow issue, but any uncertainty is too great to warrant proceeding with an environmental impact statement and asking the Town to approve the sale of the land, which approval would then be subject to a permissive referendum. It makes very little sense to proceed with this expensive and time-consuming process if we are not absolutely certain that the design will allow Arcadia Hills to obtain, without variances, all the required permits from the Department of Environmental Conservation.

We have considered simply suspending the process and leaving the Purchase Offer open while our engineering team explores alternative designs, but we have determined that is is unfair to the Town and its residents to have our offer viewed as an obstacle to other potential development opportunities should any be presented. Consequently, we have decided to withdraw the pending offer at this time.

We have not lost faith in the ultimate viability of the project, and circumstances may change in the future in ways that remove any uncertainty about full compliance with all design and operational criteria required by DEC’s regulations. If that occurs, we may be in a position to re-present an offer to the town for the development of this property. However, as matters now stand, we believe it is in the best interest of all concerned that there is no uncertainty about whether or when the process involving the pending offer will resume. We appreciate the attentions and efforts of the entire Town Board to the project. Despite considerable pressure to reject the proposal, the Town Board has been fair and courteous to everyone, regardless of their stance towards the project, and has been steadfast in its commitment to insure that the process has been balanced, open and transparent.”

Following massive resistance to the sale and opening of the proposed new solid waste disposal facility, the Town of Arcadia and Village of Newark were blanketed with signs opposing the project. The unexpected backlash has Colacino and the Board trying to distance themselves from the controversy and at the same time, moving forward spending town money for lawyers and engineers in preparation for the sale. At last report, as of the end of March, the Town has spent $172,135.14 of taxpayer funds for the doomed project.

Problems cited were: smells from the incoming garbage for neighbors close to the facility, wear and tear on the town and county roads, increased truck traffic, opposition from neighboring towns, the initial costs to the Town and the total feasibility of another regional solid waste disposal facility. All of this weighed heavily on the success of the project.

Currently, High Acres in the Towns of Perinton/Macedon, the Ontario County facility, solid waste facilities serving Monroe County and Seneca Acres – all compete for refuse. According to refuse sources, there is currently a glut of landfill space with national and large regional companies competing for loads of garbage. Trucks from downstate New York, and even some as far away as other states, wind their way to regional landfills offering competitive prices (tipping fees) for taking in garbage.

One national landfill representative said they doubted the Arcadia project would ever succeed, or be able to compete in the market.
In a letter presented to the public at last week’s Town Board meeting, Supervisor Colacino wrote:

“This decision was made unilaterally on the part of Arcadia Hills because the size and configuration of their proposed re-development of the site as a landfill presented a technical problem which could not be easily resolved. The resolution of these issues would require the full cooperation of the neighboring landowners as well as the possible need to acquire variances from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

This matter has been particularly difficult for me as certain opponents of this initiative have attacked me and other members of our Town Board for merely pursuing an opportunity that we felt was required of us as public servants. When we were approached by Arcadia Hills, we felt we were obligated to consider a project that could possibly alleviate the high tax burden which is the biggest issue that we hear from our constituents. Of course, before the project was implemented, we would have required a green light from the Department of Environmental Conservation as well as from a public referendum on the sale of the former landfill site. When Arcadia Hills first proposed this project, it was agreed that if the project could not be developed right, both Arcadia Hills and the Town Board would disembark from the proposal with no ill feelings.

Contrary to the opinions of many people, the Town Board was not necessarily in favor of this project because we all realized that there were many obstacles to overcome. At the same time, while we did not support the project unconditionally, we did support an effort to investigate the parameters of the initiative and then bring it to the voters if it was determined to be environmentally sound. Yes, I trust the regulatory agencies because as a government official I feel that they actually do have our best interests at heart and most want to do the right thing fat safety of our people. I know that the entire Arcadia Town Board also respects the wishes of our constituents, regardless of whether or not they agree with the results of any public or private determinations.”

In a letter to the Editor (See page 4), Joe Yanda of Vollinger Road wrote:

“For the second time in less than 25 years, the people of Arcadia have defeated a misguided attempt to site a landfill here. Both times ordinary citizens rose up against rich and powerful business and political interests to do so.

The first time was in the late 1980s when the citizens group LOCAL (Local Control of the Arcadia Landfill) defeated Browning Ferris Industries’ (BFI), Since Browning Ferris currently operates Seneca Meadows, that landfill could have been located in Arcadia.

The second time was just recently when the Concerned Citizens of Arcadia (CCoA) had the same success against Arcadia Hills, LLC .
In both instances, it was our Supervisor and Town Board who invited these firms into our community, and in both instances it was the vast majority of the people who said “No! We won’t let you do that.” If you don’t believe the people spoke with one voice, ask yourself how many “Yes Landfill” signs you saw this past year.

How could our elected officials be so out of touch with the will of the people? How could such political deafness happen twice in a generation’s time?”