Mayor Defends GEIS On Railyards;
Rep Lapin Takes On RSS Housing
By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Oneonta issues – development plans for the former D&H Railyards and the 65-unit RSS housing project in the Sixth Ward – dominated today’s April meeting of the Otsego County Board of Representatives.
Mayor Gary Herzig told the county reps that the GEIS – the generic environmental impact statement on the railyards that has generated opposition from Otsego 2000 – is simply a preliminary overview. GEIS lets future developers know “what’s in that property and know the challenges,” such as lack of energy sources and protected wetlands on the site.
If prospective employers come forward with specific plans, they will still have to go through SEQRA, the state’s more detailed environmental review, he said.
He was accompanied by Otsego Now CEO Jody Zakrevsky, who detailed prospective plans for the railyards, ranging from advanced manufacturing to a brewery or eco-commercial park.
During the public comment period that began the meeting, speakers generally opposed both the GEIS project and the RSS housing project on River and Duane streets.
County Rep. Danny Lapin, D-Oneonta, who represented that neighborhood, told his colleagues most of his constituents opposed the housing project – it includes 12 units for tenants in recovery – because RSS had not communicated with them or been ”transparent” about their plan.
Seth Clark, who is running for Common Council in Ward 2, which includes the Silver Creek neighborhood where a housing project was completed in 2017, said multi-family housing is lowering property values.
“Oneonta is not the toilet of Otsego County,” he said.
He also voiced support for the railyards redevelopment, saying Oneont has “a horrendous poverty problem” and is in desperate need of jobs.