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Warren County puts brakes on plan to sell contaminated land

Warren County puts brakes on plan to sell contaminated land

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D&G Recycling site

A view of D&G Recycling in Queensbury, located on property owned by Warren County. The county is selling the property to another company, and D & G's owner is not happy.

QUEENSBURY — Warren County supervisors have decided to hold off on a plan to sell a piece of land that was once part of a Superfund site.

The county has been exploring the sale of part of a 14.8-acre lot off Lower Warren Street in Queensbury that was once part of the Ciba-Geigy pigments factory complex, which was part of a court-ordered cleanup that went on for years.

Ciba-Geigy deeded part of the property to the county in 1991 for $1, and the county has used it for a highway garage and rented buildings to recycling companies. A piece of property to the west of the county land, which is now vacant, was the site of the bulk of the chemical cleanup.

One of the recycling companies has shown an interest in buying 10.3 acres of the property that it used for years until moving to a spot on Corinth Road in Queensbury, offering $400,000. But some supervisors have questioned the wisdom of selling a potentially contaminated piece of property that has been bringing in income.

The Board of Supervisors considered a resolution Friday to declare the property “surplus,” the first step to be taken when a municipality wants to sell land.

But Queensbury Supervisor John Strough and several other supervisors raised questions about the plan, saying the land isn’t “surplus” and that an application for a subdivision that would be needed to keep the portion that has the highway garage hadn’t been started.

Strough said there are 24 pages of “restrictions” on the property, and there may be interest from another corporate buyer.

“I think it’s premature for us to consider this resolution,” Strough said.

The deed when the county bought the property requires the purchaser to not disturb the asphalt or building on property, so as not to release contaminated soil below. That restriction has given some supervisors pause over selling the building, since the county would have limited control over what subsequent owners do with it.

The county could insist on contract language that bars the buyer from taking up asphalt or doing building work, but should the buyer not abide by that covenant, the county could retain some liability. The county passed a local law in 2012 acknowledging the contamination when it agreed to take less than market value to lease the property to D & G Recycling, which is currently using the property but did not bid to buy it. Perkins Recycling of Queensbury made the offer.

Glens Falls 2nd Ward Supervisor Peter McDevitt said he believe there were “legitimate concerns” about moving forward with the questions that had been voiced.

“I don’t believe it’s gone through a full vetting,” said Chester Supervisor Craig Leggett.

In light of the questions, the board voted Friday to table the resolution and sent it back to the board’s Facilities Committee for additional discussion.


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