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Schodack Planning Board approves plans for Amazon distribution center

July 03, 2018 04:16 PM

SCHODACK - A 1,000,000-square-foot Amazon distribution center is one step closer to being built in the Town of Schodack.

The Schodack Planning Board approved permits to continue with the development plans at their meeting on Monday night.

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Those in favor said it's high time Schodack saw some development that could help create jobs and expand the town's tax base. Others argue these plans are being rushed along, and their questions about the environmental impact of the facility aren't being answered.

"I didn't move to East Greenbush and I didn't move the Clifton Park I moved to Schodack,” Jen Williams said. “Why? Because I wanted rural character.”

Williams has lived in Schodack for six years. She said she’s concerned because of the facility's proximity to the town's aquifer.

"So what happens when Amazon comes up with some magic robot or whatever else, moves somewhere else and I've got 1,000,000-square-foot building next-door it's going to be subdivided with God knows what goes in there,” Williams said. “What environmental impact that's going to have? And it still sits on the aquifer that charges my wells as well as the town wells."

An engineer who reviewed the environmental impact and water quality and site plans for the town said all of the resident's questions have been addressed in numerous documents submitted to the town.

But Williams said those answers aren't so easy to find.

“The information is not comprehensive in full like an EIS (Environmental Impact Study),” Williams said. “It may be done but it's done in over 700 pages of documents that are not fully and completely compromised so that we can read it, understand it, make amends with it and mitigate those factors."

Those in favor of the facility said it would bring other development interest, as well as 800 full-time jobs to the area.

However, A Rensselaer County labor union representative said those numbers are often skewed, and the jobs are labor intensive:

“They use these facilities as a carrot to the small towns the small communities that are economically hard pressed and are looking for development in their communities,” VP of Troy Area Labor Council Sean Collins said. “But this isn't the right kind of development or if it is Amazon is a company that has the money to pay 100 percent of its tax burden, has the money to pay substantially better wages."

Scannell, the developer for this project will now have to get water and sewer extension approval from the town board. Planning Board officials said that could happen in as little at 4 - 6 weeks. If that happens developers are hoping to have the facility open by October of 2019.

After Monday night's meeting, residents said they are considering filing a lawsuit against the town. We'll keep you updated with new developments in this story as we get them.

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WNYT Staff

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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