Tuesday, May 22, 2018

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Citizens not sold, yet, on proposed Port Jervis annexation in Deerpark

HUGUENOT – A joint Deerpark Town Board and Port Jervis Common Council hearing Monday night on a proposed annexation by the city of town land, mostly in the Tri-States gateway area appeared to raise as many questions as there were answers.

Port Jervis Mayor Kelly Decker was the sole presenter, who spoke for about a half-hour, explaining the history of discussions.

“There were several meetings in early 2017.  Two municipalities agreed to explore this opportunity.  Both agreed mutually upon parcels for the benefit of the taxpayers.”

The initial proposal included about 110 acres, much of it in Tri-States, with a smaller parcel just north of the city in Huguenot.  The Port Jervis school property, with the high school and elementary school, could also be involved.

Decker conceded everything is, in his words, “hypothetical” at this point on how both municipalities might benefit financially. Based on very preliminary discussions with property owners on what they might do with the land if the annexation goes through, warehouses, restaurants, hotels and even a conference center are among the possibilities.  Decker said they came up with an estimated enhanced value of around $23.5 million. 

“The share of revenues, at this particular time, we discussed, would be 50 percent, 50 percent of revenues, 50 percent of expenses,” Decker said.

The ‘expenses’ would be the usual – water, sewers, police and fire.  Port Jervis has 24/7 police, and a firehouse a block from the area.  Deerpark’s police is part-time.

Developers would be responsible for any road construction. 

The mayor also noted jobs that are likely to be created and would be available to both city and town residents. 

A handful of citizens spoke.  Most raised concerns over traffic and possible runoff if the land is largely paved over.  One, noting the possibility of hotels and restaurants, worried about competition for businesses a short distance away in downtown Port Jervis. 

Attorney Bill Onofry had the most detailed list of issues, including one he sees as a potential roadblock.

“The petitions have to be submitted by a party that has land that is contiguous, or actually adjoins the City of Port Jervis,” Onofry said.  “Several of those parcels don’t even touch the City of Port Jervis.”

Onofry said this could be doable, but a lot more need to be put on the table. 

The Town Board, which hosted the hearing as part of is scheduled meeting, agreed to keep the hearing open for another 30 days.

 


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