ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/PLANNING/PUBLICITY COMMITTEE

Monday, February 12, 2024 - 10:00 AM

 

 

Ike Tyler, Chairperson

Clayton Barber, Vice-Chairperson

 

Supervisor Tyler called this Economic Development/Planning/Publicity Meeting to order at 10:00 am with the following Supervisors in attendance: Clayton Barber, Matt Brassard, Robin DeLoria, Shaun Gillilland, Charlie Harrington, Ken Hughes, Steve McNally, Jim Monty, Cathleen Reusser, Favor Smith, Matthew Stanley, Ike Tyler, Joe Pete Wilson, Davina Winemiller, Margaret Wood and Mark Wright. Chris Clark and Derek Doty had been previously excused.

 

Department Heads present: Anna Reynolds

 

Deputies present: Dina Garvey  

 

News Media: Alania Penny

 

Also Present: Carol Calabrese - IDA, Elizabeth Lee and Carly Summers - Cornell Cooperative Extension, Mary Jane Lawrence and Jim McKenna - ROOST, Megan Murphy and Caitlyn Wargo - Adirondack Roots, Nicole Justice-Green - Essex County Land Bank and Aurora McCaffrey - Essex County Historian.

 

TYLER: Economic Development, we’ll start with Carol Calabrese.

 

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            The next item on the agenda was the Industrial Development Committee with Carol Calabrese reporting as follows:

 

CALABRESE: Good morning everyone, we submitted a report. Does anybody have any questions on that?

 

TYLER: I don’t see any. Have a good day.

 

CALABRESE: Thank you

 

 

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            The next item on the agenda was Community Resources with Anna Reynolds reporting as follows:

 

REYNOLDS: Good morning, there are three referrals today. The first is the Town of Ticonderoga, proposed site plan review for County Rte. 3, which is also Black Point Road for a 24X24 addition to an existing garage, there is an existing driveway, existing home. County roads or property will not be disturbed, therefore a letter of no impact maybe issued.

 

TYLER: Moved by Ms. Winemiller, seconded by Mr. Hughes.

 

ACTION OF THE ESSEX COUNTY PLANNING BOARD

ON REFERRALS RECEIVED FROM THE TOWN OF TICONDEROGA

 

The following motion was made by Supervisor Winemiller.

 

Whereas, the Essex County Planning board has considered the following GML 239 referrals at its regular meeting on February 12, 2024;

 

REFERRAL                                                                PROPOSED ACTION

Town of Ticonderoga - 48 Black Point Rd.                        Site Plan Review

 

And Whereas, none of the referred, proposed actions directly impacts a county road or county property.

 

Be It Adopted by the Essex County Planning Board that no recommendation or comment on the said referral shall be or hereby is made, and the respective referring bodies may take such final action as they deem appropriate.

 

This motion was seconded by Supervisor Hughes and passed on a vote of  7 in favor, 2 excused and none opposed.

 

TYLER: Any discussion? Being none, all in favor? Opposed?

 

REYNOLDS: The next, in the Town of Ticonderoga, proposed site plan review and special use permit for a new 8-unit motel and accommodations for travelers, at the existing motel on the Lord Howe Street, Montcalm Street intersection. There’s no impact to county roads or property and therefor a letter of no impact can be issued.

 

TYLER: Moved by Ms. Cathy, second, Mr. Hughes.

 

ACTION OF THE ESSEX COUNTY PLANNING BOARD

ON REFERRALS RECEIVED FROM THE TOWN OF TICONDEROGA

 

The following motion was made by Supervisor Reusser.

 

Whereas, the Essex County Planning board has considered the following GML 239 referrals at its regular meeting on February 12, 2024;

 

REFERRAL                                                                                        PROPOSED ACTION

Town of Ticonderoga - Lord Howe/6 Montcalm St., intersection           site plan review and                                                                          special use permit

                                                                                                                       

And Whereas, none of the referred, proposed actions directly impacts a county road or county property.

 

Be It Adopted by the Essex County Planning Board that no recommendation or comment on the said referrals shall be or hereby is made, and the respective referring bodies may take such final action as they deem appropriate.

 

This motion was seconded by Supervisor Hughes and passed on a vote of  7 in favor, 2 excused and none opposed.

 

TYLER: All in favor? Opposed? Carries

 

REYNOLDS: The Town of Newcomb has a proposed area variance for front and side yard, for 5966 State Route 28N, for commercial use of pre-existing structure. There’s no impact to county property and therefore a letter of no impact may be issued.

 

TYLER: Mr. Harrington. Second? Mr. Barber

 

 

ACTION OF THE ESSEX COUNTY PLANNING BOARD

ON REFERRALS RECEIVED FROM THE TOWN OF NEWCOMB

 

The following motion was made by Supervisor Harrington.

 

Whereas, the Essex County Planning board has considered the following GML 239 referrals at its regular meeting on February 12, 2024;

 

REFERRAL                                                                PROPOSED ACTION

Town of Newcomb - 5699 State Rte. 28N                           area variance

 

And Whereas, none of the referred, proposed actions directly impacts a county road or county property.

 

Be It Adopted by the Essex County Planning Board that no recommendation or comment on the said referrals shall be or hereby is made, and the respective referring bodies may take such final action as they deem appropriate.

 

This motion was seconded by Supervisor Barber and passed on a vote of  7 in favor, 2 excused and none opposed.

 

TYLER: All in favor? Opposed? Carries

 

REYNOLDS: And I just wanted to let you know that Nancy Bernstein from ANCA, who does the Clean Energy Communities Program will be here in the 14th to talk about the program at 11:00, if you could all stay and learn about her programs this year. And then just a reminder, you’ve seen emails come across your desk and maybe phone calls about the statewide financial system, so please register for that if you’re not already, if you need help in that program, let us know. It will be required for all the new state grant programs and financial accounting. So, all the claims, payment requests and recording through the SFS system, so that is what the email is, it will say SFS. So, if you’re not registered in that, please look into that over the next month or so.

 

BARBER: When she is coming?

 

REYNOLDS: The 14th.

 

MASCARENAS: Last week we had new supervisor orientation and during the meeting I asked Anna, how much money they were managing and she always hated it when I asked that question, because she doesn’t look at things that way, but when I got a reporting after the meeting, right now they have about $123 million in projects that they’re managing throughout Essex County and it’s just a huge number and a huge amount of work that goes into that and I certainly don’t need to be your ambassador, but just for the amount of work you do and what that does for our communities is ridiculous and I don’t think people know until you tell them what that number is, because it matters an awful lot, so thank you.

 

REYNOLDS: Thank you

 

 

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            The next item on the agenda was the Essex County Historian, Aurora McCaffrey reporting as follows:  

 

MCCAFFREY: Hi there, good morning, so you have my report for the month. At this time, basically the museum, we are getting ready doing various projects for the upcoming season, which begins Memorial Day weekend for us. So, part of the preparation is creating our calendar, scheduling programs and events. We generally have a program every Thursday throughout the summer, that’s a film or a lecture. Then we have our annual special events, like the classic car show, people and peaks, the garden party. So, that’s coming along. We’re finalizing those dates and I’ll have that calendar for you shorty.

But, another big focus is developing the exhibits and each year we like to do a new gallery show, a new seasonal exhibit and I’ve listed all of our exhibits in the report, permanent and new. In the gallery we’re going to do Larry Master and he’s incredible wildlife photography. That will be exciting and then our new seasonal exhibit plan is Indigenous Peoples of the Adirondacks and we plan to partner with the Six Nations Group Cultural Center and Akwesasne Cultural Central, as well as some local scholars to do that.

Otherwise, we’re doing some updates to permanent exhibits and keeping the Adirondack Northway Exhibit, up for another year and adding some material to that.

So, those are exhibit plans, we’re excited about the season, that’s about all I have. Thank you.

 

TYLER: Any questions?

 

MCCAFFREY: Okay, thanks, we’re looking forward to it.

 

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            The next item on the agenda was Cornell Cooperative Extension, with Elizabeth Lee reporting as follows:

 

TYLER: Good morning, everyone, I wasn’t able to attend the new orientation thing, so I just wanted to say, hello and welcome to the new supervisors and I have been trying to meet with each of the supervisors individually, haven’t gotten around to everyone, but I will try and get to  your office, so that we can talk a little bit more.

Just a couple of quick things. I do have in my report, if anyone has any questions. We are in the process of doing a strategic plan and it’s super helpful to us to hear your comments. We sent out a link, a week or 10 days ago and if you haven’t done that, it will really, really help us customize what we are doing in Essex County to your needs. I did put something on your desks, which sort of speaks for itself, it’s a really great program that our office is providing to famer’s for marketing support, farmers and farmer market managers and we got a great response. Mark Godnick in our office is meeting one on one with people to give them, really, really, again that customized, individual consultation about marketing. And with that, unless anyone has any questions for me, I would like to give the mic to Carly Summers, who’s our Ag Issue Leader to give you an update on Farmland Protection Plan.

 

TYLER: Thank you

 

SUMMERS: Good morning, so, it’s been about a year since we completed the Farmland Protection Plan and some of you were around throughout the whole process and then we have a few new people, so I would like to give a little introduction to what it is and then also give an update on how we’re utilizing it so far, so that you know it’s been useful already and will be continue to be useful for many years to come.

So, Ag and Markets in New York State encourages every county that has any agriculture taking place in the county to complete a farmland protection plan, which is basically an outline in how you’re going to ensure that your county maintains agriculture since agriculture land is often in competition with things like development and other things and currently solar and things like that. So, it’s important for us to look at the long term sustainability of maintaining agriculture since that is where our local food supply can come from and in the case of Essex County, we’re actually really special in the State, most people aren’t really aware of that fact that even though we are so mountainous and we don’t have a very large percentage of farmland compared to other counties, we have a very strong agricultural system. We produce a pretty good income from agriculture, but the neatest thing about it, is of all the counties in the entire State, Essex County’s Number 2 in direct to customer sales. So, that means that our farmers are selling directly to customers here, so the food is being provided to our community members in large part, which is really special and also creates a lot of resiliency in our food system.  So, something special about our food system and farmland protection plan is we added the food system part. Most other counties in New York State have not previously ever done that and we did that and Jeff Cahill who is in charge of Ag Districts and farmland protection plans in Ag and Markets said our plan is the model now, for every county that is now working on new plans, he provides our plan and says this is the bar that  you should strive for. So, we’re really proud that and anyway you might remember, if you’ve been around, it all started in 2019, Anna Reynolds and her team, it was wonderful working with her on that and it continues to be wonderful and she is utilizing the plan a lot now. Community Resources, Soil and Water, Adirondack Land Trust and CCE Essex County, we were the key players, but the plan in and out of itself, creating it was an important process because it involved a lot of networking and collaboration and relationship building among many other organizations and the idea with an strategic plan is we’re laying out a ground work of what we see and involving stakeholder perspectives to make sure that all the work that all of our organizations are doing is consistent with what is needed and that we’re not working parallel, that we’re working together. So, I think from what we’ve seen so far that our plan has accomplished a lot of those goals and then where we’re headed is working in that direction, too. So, that’s good and I wanted to let you know that if you haven’t looked at it already, I am just curious if anybody here, has. If you have taken a peek at the plan, it’s really, really interesting. There’s a lot of data in it and almost anything you might be curious about that has anything to do with even food or demographics or income or food access, in addition to all the land issues, such as soils and which farmlands we would want to prioritize protecting, that’s all in there. There’s lots of maps, there’s lots of really great data, but the coolest thing, I think, is all the survey data that came in from all the stakeholders. We had a really strong participation in surveys, especially from farmers and farmland owners that was really impressive and helpful. So, if you want to look at any of that, it is all in our Cornell Cooperative of Essex County website , linked in sections. So, you can download the sections that interest you and if you have a hard time finding that for any reason, please reach out to me, and I will send it to you.

In addition what we’ve done to make it easier for you all and for especially planned partners to track what has happened and how we’re utilizing the plan. We created a spreadsheet that will be updated in real time so that people can add ways that they’ve utilized the plan and we’ve also created indicators of progress that were outlined in the plan and now we’re tracking what those progresses are. So, for instance, how many acres have been conserved of farmland? Whenever that happens, whenever a piece of farmland is conserved we will put in those number of acres or how much money has been raised or in our case, grants that have been awarded, because we have applied for a grant, utilizing this plan. So, that one of the reasons why Ag and Markets really wants you to have a complete new, updated plan, is because it’s a citable document that includes all sorts of relative data as to what should actually be happening, so when you apply to a grant, you have a reference for what people in your community and what organizations in your community and the data says should be happening, so it helps you get more grants, basically and that is what’s happening. So, basically an update that I would like to share, is from our Four Mains collaborators and just what we have used and what is in the tracking spreadsheet on our website, CCE Essex County has utilized this grant and citation for many grants and we’ve gotten about $600,000.00, so far in grant money. Likely because we’ve been able to reference this grant, this plan. Soil and Water also was awarded a climate resiliency grant which is a great good, strong grant and it directly goes to farmers and it’s very important. Anna’s rocking all sorts of comprehensive plans and grants and they’re worth a ton of money, of course and she references this plan, consistently and Adirondack Land Trust has used the plan 20 times. Wherever farmers call them and they ask questions or they look at a piece of farmland to evaluate whether or not it is a priority or not, they utilize this plan. And they have also raised about $600,000.00 in, that will be used directly to conserve farmland, as a result of utilizing the data in this plan.

So, I just wanted to give you a quick update on that and let you know that we are working on this plan, that you guys did support and you were part of for such a long process and we’re really excited with how it’s supporting all of our work and we use it all the time to make sure that the work that we are doing and the education and outreach is consistent with what the plan outlined.

Does anybody have any questions?  

 

TYLER: Don’t see any, thank you ma’am.

 

SUMMER: Thank you very much.

 

 

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            The next item was the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST), with Jim McKenna and Mary Jane Lawrence reporting as follows:

 

LAWRENCE: The end of the reports are to compliment the end of the year video, so this is just the hard copy.

I have a couple of updates. I am going to start with the eclipse. I have the eclipse stickers, here. I brought a pack for each of you. We are dialing in on all of the designing viewing areas, so that’s almost completed.  We will be putting money, 5-weeks out of the eclipse, we will be doing a paid marketing campaign to direct people to those designated viewing areas, along with the community events. The data shows that’s about when people start really planning their in-market, you know, where they’re going to go and what they’re going to do, so we’re going to follow the data and we’re going start marketing about 5-weeks out. In March, we’re going to start distributing the glasses, the signage, stickers and we also have information cards that we’re going to be distributing to all of our communities. There’s going to be a QR code on it and it will direct, one side is the whole Adirondack region and then the other side will be by the individual regions, so that will be great information to distribute to our day travelers, as well as overnight stays. In addition, we are working with Up in Coding, which is a IT firm out of Tupper Lake. They’re creating an app and we’re helping them pull our information, our data, from our websites onto their app, so that app will be available during the eclipse. So, all great things are happening with the eclipse.

Last, but not least, we sent out an email, last week to all our businesses, as a reminder, Wednesday is the last day for them to order glasses, if they want glasses for wholesale to sell or whatever. Any questions on the eclipse?

 

TYLER: I know I have some very nervous people in Westport, about this eclipse. 

 

LAWRENCE: Yeah

 

TYLER: I hear, regularly from them.

 

SMITH: I have a question, earlier, last week, Joe Pete, sent out an email about advise from those who want to head into the woods, and that seems to be the same feedback I have been getting from some of the residents in Wilmington.

 

LAWRENCE: The feedback about?

 

SMITH: You know, heading into the woods, up Whiteface Mountain to some of those trails to see the eclipse and it’s not really a good time of the year. So, my question was, is the DEC, also preparing for this kinds of eventualities?

 

LAWRENCE: Yes, I want to get back to your nervous people in Westport. So, two things, one, we’re discouraging any backcountry viewing, period. Like go up this little mountain, instead of this big mountain, we’re saying, no, we’re really discouraging that, as well as there’s no safe ice in April. So, we had, 2-weeks ago, our first meeting with all the state agencies that we collaborated with local and state first responders and they are setting up a command center in Ray Brook and they are doing their best to try and facilitate where the DEC is going to be, where there State Police are going to be and all of their efforts. They are collaborating on that and we will be having another meeting with them, the end of this month, in February, as a follow-up.

Do you want me to just call you on that?

 

TYLER: Sure, they’re main, they have a lot of concerns and their main concern in safety and security, basically.

 

LAWRENCE: Yeah, I mean it’s just a wild card. We’re doing our best to just keep people in those designated areas, because that’s going to be the best way to control, like we were saying to you. But, it’s so dependent, on one, the weather, as far as the daytrippers and then just the unknown, where are they going to go. I mean we’re doing our best to get as much information out there, so that they just go where we tell them, as opposed to where they think the best places are to go. Supervisor Wilson, will you send me that email that you sent out?

 

WILSON: It was actually one that came from ROOST and I just copied it. My concern was discouraging people and I know you have been discussing it, but Favor asked about DEC and they haven’t included me in any of their planning, so it was good to hear that you’re meeting with them and they’re taking real steps, because it could be dangerous.

 

LAWRENCE: Yeah, I think there’s a couple of things. One is, we hear regularly, even from the State Police, is lack of staffing. I mean just the amount of people that they feel that they have access to, as far as staff, that time of year, people are gone, schools are on vacation, etc., etc., so I think they’re all strategizing and working the best they can with what they have.

 

GILLILLAND: One thing that came to me, after I talked to you the other day, was that this event is going to take place about the time the kids are going to be on school buses. I kind of inquired to as what our local schools plan was and I found it wanting.

 

LAWRENCE: What was the response to that? Because what we’re hearing is they’re going to take a school day, they’re going to have early dismissal and also do a virtual day for school. So, I’m curious.

 

GILLILLAND: The one that I heard is bring them in late and keeping them later, which doesn’t make sense to me. But, anyway, I guess, you have a fact sheet on how many people you think are going to be showing up and also the centers and things like that, kind of the estimates?

 

LAWRENCE: Yeah, so we have an estimate just from what the occupancy is. You know with the lodging properties and then what we’re hearing in different communities. So, for instance the Wild Center, which I know is not in Essex County, but for example, they sold 2,000 tickets for their event and they’re sold out.

 

GILLILLAND: I’m thinking if maybe if  you can just kind of send out a score sheet to the Board of where we are with those estimates and stuff.

 

LAWRENCE: Sure

 

GILLILLAND: And maybe the Board can send them to their local superintendents to focus that this could be an issue. I see traffic stopped, I see people looking up at the sky and driving and you know hitting buses.

 

LAWRENCE: Yeah, I don’t think school buses at that time of the day, and keeping in mind, although, the eclipse is at the time, people are going to be moving well before that, because it’s like an hour and half, approximately, before the beginning of the eclipse to the actual eclipse, itself. So, in theory, people are going to be moving early, setting up camp, getting where they going to be, the concern is when the eclipse is over and then everybody is going to do a mass exit.

 

WILSON: As an element of that, I was trying to coordinate with DOT to get mobile message boards on Rte. 73 and regional DOT is not allowed to hand out the signs, it’s all being coordinated through Albany, because there’s such a great demand for traffic control. So, yeah, it’s already too late to get message boards out. So, I think encouraging schools, Keene, is the school is going to be, they’re not going to have school that day, it could be the busiest day, you know rival a busy Sunday in the fall.

 

LAWRENCE: We do know that the lodging properties are full Sunday and Monday night, so Sunday and even Saturday is going to be high traffic into market and we are also encouraging lodging properties and anybody that has a vacation rental to do a promotion that will keep people Tuesday. Sunday, Monday night, they’ll stay, instead of everybody mass exiting, trying to stagger it out, again.

 

HARRINGTON: Certainly school districts have made it, made all parents aware of what their schedule is and I am sure that their mindset is that parents need to have one on one control with their children, whereas at schools, there may be a degree of difficulty in regards to that. Also, I am aware that all of Essex County schools will be providing children with safety glasses and with that will be all the concerns and directions involving the use of those glasses. I know that the school districts are very much aware of the dangers that could occur in regards to this, so they also are doing their part in educating parents, as well. So, I certainly appreciate the efforts that school districts are utilizing in regards to this.

 

LAWRENCE: I agree, I think that the question mark is how they’re going to be handling the day, itself. Whether it’s going to be a school day or a snow day or what that leaving the school will look like for the school buses, if they do hold classes.

 

HARRINGTON: I know that they plan on having all the students at their own residences prior to the eclipse.

 

LAWRENCE: Oh, I missed that part. So, you’re saying all the Essex County schools are planning on having their students at home by the time?

 

HARRINGTON: That’s my understanding, now I don’t think that’s going to change. You can double check on that.

 

LAWRENCE: Where did you get that?

 

HARRINGTON: I would just call the district, the superintendent of CVES and I’m sure you’ll gain the information in regards to that.

 

LAWRENCE: Alright, thank you, that’s great information, thank you. Is there any other questions regarding the eclipse?

 

GILLILLAND: What’s next after the eclipse?

 

LAWRENCE: Geez, summer, we’re planning for summer. We do have a couple of other things coming up to summer, that I would like to touch on. We just came back from the New York Times Travel Show. There was 20,000 people in attendance for the show and we distributed thousands of pieces of literature about all the regions at that show, it was very successful.

We are attending the Adirondack Sports and Fitness Expo in March and that will be a focus on directing people to the eclipse website, we have handouts, because that will be our daytrippers, it’s from the Saratoga market, so we’re doing a lot of, as much getting in front of people and handing out information, so that again, they are doing what we wanting them to do.

We’re currently planning the Adirondack Day at the legislator offices in Albany, it’s May 6th and that’s where we represent all the Adirondack Region with different sectors, whether it’s tourism, business and agriculture and history and arts and then we do a reception at the end of the day. We hope that you all can join us, that’s May 6th and we will be sending out an email reminder so that any of you that can join us are there.

We’re collaborating with Hamilton and Fulton Counties on the Northville Placid Trail 100th Anniversary, which is this year. Nation Trails Day in is June and then there’s a celebration in Fulton and Hamilton and then in Essex County, along the trail, celebrating that 100th anniversary and it’s the longest trail and the oldest trail in the Northeastern United States. So, there’s a lot of history and a lot of great things about that trail that we don’t want to forget about.

We have our meeting with the Bloomingdale Committee for the first round of drafts for the Bloomingdale sign, we’re very excited to get that up and going.

And then again, we’re planning for summer and fall, already.

Last, but not least, I am here to offer our sincere apologizes for the oversight in inviting all of you to the Empire State Winter Games VIP reception and opening ceremonies. There’s no excuse, there was a change of leadership, last year with the Sports Council and that was missed last year, and we got it now and there was another change this year and with the change, we missed it. So, I got a call from Chairman Gillilland on Thursday, all the blood drained, completely out of my face and when down in my toes somewhere and I felt a little faint, I immediately got on a call with the CEO of ORDA, Ashley Walden and the Executive Director of the Sports Council. We had a long and deep conversation on this and I feel think we’re definitely on the same page at this point, so I apologize.

 

TYLER: I heard it was your assistant’s fault.

 

LAWRENCE: Actually, it was Jim’s fault, I am glad you brought that up (laughter). Thank you

 

 

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            The next item was the Essex County Land Bank with Nicole Justice-Green reporting as follows:

 

JUSTICE-GREEN; Alright, we don’t have a huge update programmatically, right now, executing a lot of our new state and federal contracts, but I did include,  emailed Judy a separate report, I apologize, it’s very image heavy of the 14 Springfield Road home. That home has made significant progress over the past two months. The Adirondack Explorer, I want to say, about 5-6 months ago, before we started construction on the home, did like a video of what this home looked like. So, since it’s the Land Bank home and per Supervisor Hughes’ request, I wanted to make sure that it was really well documented, all the work that goes into rehabilitating these zombie properties.  The first step was removing 8,000 pounds of garbage from the home. The photos that I gave to you, don’t really do it justice, but the video certainly does. But, the home has been abated for asbestos, it’s been lead abated, the roof have been pulled off, trees come down, the front has been dug out, so there’s actual parking. This lot is very small, so there’s no street parking in this part of Upper Jay. The septic system had actually failed a number of years ago and the homeowners were parking on top of their septic system. We are about to demolish an illegal structure off the home to put the new septic system in the back of the home, so it have a compliant leech field, it’s just very exciting progress on this home and so I wanted to share that with you all. We expect the home to be completed in about two months and on the market  by this May. That process for putting a home on the market is something that we’re working with, internally, right now, with the New York Land Bank Association it ensure that it’s transparent, adheres with their housing and that the home is priced appropriately for folks that are above that 80% to 200% income variation, because the Land Bank was really created to really serve that workforce housing niche, that missing middle. Most folks below 80% AMI have access to closing costs and down payment assistance, but a lot of the people that we’re hoping to hire at the County level and at that workforce level don’t have any assistance and are priced out of the market. So, that is that report and if you have any questions, please let me know. The Land Bank itself, just signed a contract with LaBella and Associates to do a very in-depth feisability study on the Winebrook Parcel in the Town of Newcomb for development. We also are about to bid out and apply for a fairly large rehab grant for the rest of the Land Bank homes that we have in our inventory, through New York State and so a lot of my work has been, over the past month, finishing the inspections on those properties, developing the scopes and developing a competitive plan to actually rehab them. Because of the incredibly deteriorated state of these homes, if we don’t get funding soon and start to rehab and stability them, they are probably going to come down, which is what we’re hoping to prevent. Some of the homes have to come down anyway. The home in North Elba that Supervisor Doty gave us, that home just has to be torn down. Although, the home that’s in Lewis, even though it’s super close to needing to be torn down, because of the conservation easement, we can’t tear the home down, so we have to gut it, fully. That’s just a little peek into that work we’re doing, but the work is really starting to pick up and I thank you all for your support.

 

TYLER: Any questions? Thank you, Nicole.

 

 

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            The next item was Adirondack Roots with Megan Murphy reporting as follows:

 

MURPHY: Good morning, so we did submit a report, does anyone have any questions on that?

I know we’re running a little over, but I just wanted to mention that we did submit a Smart Growth Grant. I think us and about every else in Essex County, from municipalities to non-profits, but we did want to mention that. One of the things that, what we were applying for was a pre-development fund. What we are seeing and what we’ve identified as that, that is one of the biggest barriers of be able to develop pieces of property, is better understanding if they are developable. So, we worked with a few municipalities that have pieces of property that might be interested in doing some sort of small, affordable housing development on and so that was part of that application and what we would do is work with those municipalities and we do have two non-profit developers that are working on doing small developments to figure, so what we would do is we would have a pre-development fund and we could work with those municipalities and those non-profit developers to figure out is the property itself developable, if it is, how many units? What are all of the things that we have to do through to get to the point of actual development? So, this is something working with the Regional Economic Development Council, have been identified as a barrier to creating more housing, affordable and workforce housing. So, if we don’t get funded, which I am going to have to say that I am pretty skeptical of, because it is so competitive, we will be looking for other funding for that. So, we are always open to hearing from municipalities, if you have a piece of property that you think maybe appropriate, we would be happy to start to you about that, because I think that only gives us more ammunition when we go out to say that there are these things here. I will say some of the properties that we’re looking at are also in Warren and Hamilton Counties, because our intent with the pre-development, would be permanent affordability. One of the things that we talked about with the municipalities and in fact some of the municipalities approached us, because of Adirondack Community Housing Trust and the idea that the houses would be, always perpetually affordable, if they were in the trust, but then also the non-profit developers are looking at that same idea. So, I would put in that caveat that if we were to work with municipalities we would want these homes to have some sort of perpetual affordability. Any questions?

 

TYLER: I don’t see any.

 

MURPHY: Great, thank you.

 

TYLER: Anything else to come before this committee?

 

HUGHES: Mr. Chairman, Dina, placed on everyone’s desks this morning, a resolution urging the Congress to continue to fund the Affordable Connectivity Program through the FCC, beyond April 2024 and I am hoping that this committee can support that, by a motion and a second and a vote.

So, I will make a motion.

 

TYLER:  That will do it.

 

BARBER: I’ll second.

 

RESOLUTION URGING CONGRESS TO CONTINUE TO FUND THE AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM THROUGH THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION BEYOND APRIL 2024.

Hughes, Reusser

 

TYLER: Any discussion

 

HUGHES: This program, very quickly, is offered as a subsidy to individual homeowners that meet the threshold, the criteria threshold. there’s approximately 2,000, over 2,000 people in Essex County who are actively participating in this subsidy and so I would encourage us to support here, but certainly bring it back to your own town boards for consideration there and if you would like the electronic version, I would be more than happy to share it with you.

 

TYLER: Thank you, any more discussion? All in favor? Opposed? Carried.

Anything else?

 

MONTY: Ken, do you want to touch base on the information Tectonic is gathering?

 

HUGHES: Yeah, sure, hopefully all of you received an electronic survey from Tectonic, who’s neem contracted by the Lake Champlain, Lake George Regional Planning Board. They’re working with the five counties in the region, plus all the town supervisors and village mayors to gather broadband access data for unserved, underserved in not only the larger county, but also our local communities. So, they’re in the collection data phase right now, so if you received that email, please respond back to it. I appreciate all of those of your that have done so already. It’s the not the nest worded survey, but it does get the job done and we’re hoping that that information will help Tectonic organize their data to submit to the Planning Board, so that the Planning Board can help influence the Connect All Office when it comes to potential grant funding for broadband and fiber deployment in our communities and in the counties. Jim, does that?

 

MONTY: Yup

 

HUGHES: Okay, great.

 

TYLER: Thank you. Anything else? We are adjourned.

 

 

AS THERE WAS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THIS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/PLANNING/PUBLICITY COMMITTEE, IT WAS ADJOURNED AT 10:40 AM.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Dina Garvey, Deputy

Clerk of the Board