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Clapper Road interchange raises questions

Board Chairman George Leveille in a Feb. 25 Spotlight article about people not being disturbed by what goes on in the town's industrial zone. She also stated Leveille's previous position as director of economic development and other dealings with the town constituted "a conflict of interest" with his role as planning board chairman.

The Penks cited petitions signed by hundreds of residents opposed to a Clapper Road realignment or interchange for truck traffic from the Bethlehem industrial zone.

During the actual presentation, Penk asked several questions that led to some back and forth between Sargent, the board and Penk. Supervisor Jack Cunningham interjected at a couple points stating, "This is not a debate," and

"Mr. Penk, can we continue the presentation, please?"

Sargent said that some of the concerns about traffic flow and traffic alleviation that Al Penk asked about were also concerns expressed by the Thruway Authority.

"The Thruway [Authority] has the same exact question," he said. "They did not reject the interchange idea outright, but would like to see more information."

Traffic on Route 9W was of particular concern, with questions about where people would be accessing the Thruway and how much of the already-congested thoroughfare would be helped by a new interchange.

The Thruway, Clapper Road and Route 9W would need to be "reconstructed" to make the project work and would most likely have to include a roundabout on Route 9W.

Councilman Sam Messina called site a "multiple need area" and that there were certain buildings and churches of interest on Clapper Road.

"I would like a re-look of what the economic development goals are," he said.

Councilman Kyle Kotary noted that none of the current board members were in office when the possibility of a new truck route came about in 1989, stating it was "good to get a historical perspective."

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