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Proposed Warren Road DOT Facility

Aside from neighborhood resistance to a New York State Department Of Transportation (DOT) facility that will be relocated from the Ithaca Inlet to a 15.55 acre portion of about 70 acres on Warren Road, the problem of sewer was also raised. The DOT has requested that the Warren Road Sewer District be extended to include the property, and Monday it appeared that major hurdles standing in the way of that had been cleared.  Village of Lansing Mayor Donald Hartill said concerns about dwindling sewer treatment capacity had been addressed, and the Village would approve sewage transporting from the town, through the Village to the Cayuga Heights Sewer treatment plant.

Two concerns stood in the way of providing sewer service to the DOT. First, Town effluent must go through the Village of Lansing on its way to the Cayuga Heights treatment Plant.  The DOT had approached the Town first, but Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne he would refuse to act on the request until the DOT first cleared it with the Villages of Lansing and Cayuga Heights.  The other concern is the limited portion of the capacity of the Cayuga Heights Sewer treatment plant allotted to the Town.

An idea had been floated that the whole property should join the sewer district, but LaVigne said that allowing sewer for the whole parcel would break precedent, as well as tying up too much of the Town's limited sewer capacity.  A recent agreement designed to facilitate the new Town of Lansing Sewer District #1, which will run north along East Shore Drive from the Village to service two new developments plus the RINK/the Field, allotted limited sewer capacity to the Town. Assigning capacity needed for the larger parcel would cut into future development potential.  Instead LaVigne favored only considering allowing the 15.5 acre DOT property into the district.

"Since we don't do that for any other parcel I see no reason to do it for this one," he said. "In the past our history has indicated that we have expanded districts, whether it be a water district or a sewer district, as we are doing with the land across the street (from the Town ball fields)... that is the standard practice.  It also gives us more say on future projects that go in there, because the EDU limit is so critical for sewer projects for us right now."

LaVigne said he had asked Town Engineer Dave Herrick to compute the number of EDUs that area would be the equivalent of for their sewer applications.

At Monday's Village of Lansing Board of Trustees meeting Hartill confirmed that the less intensive plan is acceptable to his village.  He said that adding the 70 acres was the plan until late Friday afternoon, but on Monday he was told that only the DOT portion would need sewer at this time.

"The problem is that we cannot commit to that much capacity," he said. "The county owns something like 70 acres there.  The initial gambit was that they wanted sewer service for the entire parcel.  The Town has a fixed number of gallons per day in its agreement with Cayuga Heights.  So if that were to be developed, then something else would not be.  So that's good news."

Hartill said that Village Engineer Brent Cross would write LaVigne to say sewer for the subdivided parcel is OK with the Village.  Hartill added that he would also write a letter permitting sewage from the facility to travel through the Village of Lansing's sewer system on its way to the sewer treatment plant in Cayuga Heights.  Once Cayuga Heights agrees to the plan, LaVigne says town officials will consider adding the property to its sewer district.

That takes care of one of the Town concerns about the facility.  LaVigne said that another was taken off the table when it was announced that Tompkins County was granted $1.5 million of state funding to locate a new shared fueling facility that will be used to fuel airport vehicles and airplanes, as well as county vehicles such as plow trucks and sheriff's cruisers.  A number of people had raised concerns about a fueling facility on the DOT land, which is near the end of the Ithaca-Tompkins Airport runway.  The new DOT facility will also fuel its vehicles at the shared fueling facility, obviating the need for a fueling facility on the DOT property.

LaVigne said he has been in touch with DOT officials, who may return to Lansing to address other concerns raised, including the proximity of the facility to private homes, and a plan that LaVigne has said could be improved to buffer those homes from the DOT property.

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