Editor’s Note: The following is a letter to the editor submitted by David Hall, owner of National Book Auctions in Danby, in response to a recent article by The Voice.

As always, we welcome alternative or dissenting viewpoints. To submit one, contact me at msmith@ithacavoice.com

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Dear Editor:

Thank you for your interest in the project I have been spearheading to establish a business incubator and clinic in Danby. I would like to clarify a couple of points in the article you published and flesh out more of the total story.

I would first like to point out that this application is not for development nor redevelopment. Rather, it is a matter of recycling. We are not proposing any changes to the building other than addressing some overdue basic cosmetic touch-ups such as painting and floor re-surfacing. We seek to use it in a manner similar to what is currently approved, the primary difference simply being that there would be multiple Danby businesses and non-profit organizations making use of the facility rather than just one.

Under our proposal, the property would become more in line with the town’s comprehensive plan in multiple ways including by being able to serve the following specific elements in the comprehensive plan:

Objective C.1.1.4: Plan for transition of incubator or start-up commercial and low impact light industrial businesses to the next stage in a small business park in Danby, or in another municipality with tax advantages for Danby and such businesses.

Objective C3.1: Support the development of community-oriented, small-scale business, and service establishments such as a diner, gas station, farmers’ market, post office, and health care services.

Objective C3.2: Support the development of innovative employment options for Danby residents in community-oriented, small-scale businesses and service establishments.

I would also like to see substantiated, the dates and content of the complaints against the property that have allegedly been registered with the Town of Danby in the past. This has been an oft-referenced, casual statement which I have not seen supported.

I have heard specifics only in the form of a few minor issues that were addressed shortly after the time when they were raised. We want to address impact issues and over the past 19 months as this has been worked through the Planning Board twice and a special working group for several months, all impact issues have been brought forth and addressed. The Planning Board has now voted on four separate occasions, to recommend this proposal to the Town Board.

Specifically considering the water usage issue, there are a small number of houses in this region that have indicated that their wells do not perform at a level that they find satisfactory.

However, the four houses closest to our building have no water supply issues. The neighbor’s well that has routinely been referenced in discussions about our building’s impact on neighboring water supplies is in fact also performing poorly now, at a time when our building is seeing very little use.

I have offered a very aggressive mitigation limit on our building, one that would see our property limited in its water usage at a level far more restrictive than any other property in Danby. Additionally, being in an agricultural district provides a rapid path for any property in this area to install large herds of livestock which would have enormous water consumption needs. Thus, substantial water consumption by a neighbor is a constant high risk in this area and we have taken steps to dramatically reduce that risk on this property.

I’m also including with this submission, a letter I read before the Town Board on January 18th of this year, when the proposal was again recommended by the Planning Board and sent on to the Town Board. This letter demonstrates the spirit with which I have approached this project and my desire for this to be a project that was built by the community, with input from all involved parties.

I continue to believe that such a facility would be of much greater use and appeal to the residents of Danby than a single clothing factory. Thank you.

Regards,
David Hall

  01-18-16 Town Board Letter by David Hall

http://ithacavoice.wpengine.com/2016/03/gunderman/

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.