To the editor:
Your piece about the Starlight/Ayco redevelopment project before the Colonie Industrial Development Agency downplays the numerous negatives of this ill-conceived project. Redevelopment is terrific, but not if its burdens outweigh the benefits to residents of Colonie. Town officials’ comments clearly minimize these burdens and telegraph the town’s prejudgment of this project. We deserve better from our town.
Your article does not mention the 55 acres of protected New York State wetlands and buffer area disturbed in Phase 1, with another 60 more acres to be impacted in future phases, the obvious reason that this parcel has not been previously developed. Wetlands not only provide wildlife habitat and prevent erosion, water pollution, and storm water damage, they constitute some of the last green areas remaining in the town. These areas are now systematically being developed, while Colonie’s new Comprehensive Plan is finally in the works.
The fact is Goldman Sachs/Ayco is moving 600 workers from another Colonie site. Phase 2 proposes to “pirate” another 600 jobs from Saratoga County. We are not alone in doubting the $5 million proposed town-paid-for “connector road” through the Goldman Sachs/Ayco property will provide needed access to the Northway for Ayco employees, and we do not think it will alleviate the current terrible traffic situation. And it will be paid for by mitigation fees other area developers have paid in the Boght GEIS area, not by Ayco/Starlite, as IDA President John Kearney states in your piece.
If this not a sufficient affront to Colonie residents and taxpayers, the Colonie IDA is poised to grant Goldman Sachs/Ayco exemptions from millions of dollars in taxes that would otherwise be levied upon construction, property purchase and ownership. This amounts to a transfer of more than $12 million dollars in town operating expenses from these developers onto the backs of Colonie’s residential and commercial property tax payers. It is just wrong to raise our taxes, in addition to the loss of wetlands and traffic gridlock at Routes 9, 9R and I-90, so that Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s wealthiest companies, can make more profit.
A Partnership for Planning.