Salt pile stays put, for the time being

The Syracuse-based company that wants to relocate a bulk salt storage facility in the Rotterdam Industrial Park withdrew its application for a special-use permit that would allow them to move 400 million pounds of salt to a site bordering a residential area.

The company's proposal to store the salt at the edge of the industrial park and adjacent to a neighborhood area appalled the owners of nearby properties sporting manicured lawns and carefully tended gardens, along with the parents of adolescents who play Pop Warner football across the street.

Rotterdam Planning Commission Chairman Lawrence DiLallo announced that the town had received a letter from Ricelli Enterprises at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 5, stating that the company was withdrawing its application.

Loud applause greeted the announcement. The move had been bitterly opposed by hundreds of residents whose properties border the proposed new location. But, the applause had hardly ended before residents started speculating that the company would try to get around the town's regulatory process and relocate anyway, claiming they did not need prior permission from the town.

The speculation was fueled by the way Ricelli attorney Frederick Micale worded the withdrawal letter.

On behalf of Ricelli Enterprises, we are withdrawing the application for special-use permit, Micale said in the letter, adding, "No further action can lawfully be taken by the planning commission." The lawyer added that the company would not be bound by any other action of the planning commission.

Micale did not return calls requesting clarification last week.

Ricelli has leased Lot 5 in the industrial park for the past five years from the Galesi Group and has operated from there without incident.

An $18 million project to transport refrigerated produce from Washington to Rotterdam by rail, called Railex, is under construction near the present bulk salt pile location. Earlier this year, it became apparent that Ricelli's operation would need to move to make way for Railex.

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