Town to take over road for bottler
JOHNSTOWN – The town soon expects to take ownership of a private road connecting a new water bottling plant with a state highway, but officials may end up at odds with the water bottler over how much land they’re taking over.
CG Roxane, which will be tapping a watershed to bottle Crystal Geyser-brand spring water in a heavily wooded section of town, purchased the land surrounding Old Sweet Road – a dirt road usable only by four-wheel drive vehicles – and paid to have it developed according to standards.
The property has been transferred to the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency, which asked the town to pass a resolution conceptually approving the transfer. The Town Board said it would not take action until all documents were in place.
But at Monday’s Town Board meeting, board members indicated it isn’t clear whether the town is expected to take over just the five acres of newly built road and its right of way or all of the 22 acres CG Roxane owns along the road.
“We don’t want you guys buried in soft costs of taking the land when it’s not part of the official project,” town Attorney Cathi Radner told the board.
CG Roxane’s sole spokesman and vice president, Page Beykpour, has not returned repeated requests for comment, but Jim Mraz, the executive director of the IDA said the understanding between CG Roxane and the town calls for Johnstown to assume ownership the 22 acres the company acquired to build the road.
“It was discussed and presented to the Town Board, and they understood there was going to be about this much,” Mraz said this morning. “The number of acres hadn’t been completely surveyed, but they knew it was in the low-20s range.”
“I’m not sure it’s what we intended to do and not what we would do now,” Councilman Walt Lane said Monday.
The road between Watershed Road and Route 29 and its right of way, which is 60- to 120-feet wide, to accommodate drainage, take up about five acres, town Assessor Katherine Oare said. The paperwork for the properties is complicated because the road makes a few turns, skirting a cemetery, and a sliver of the property sits in a different school district.
Radner said reviewing the deeds will be labor-intensive and time-consuming, and she suggested town officials meet together to carefully go over the final map.
“Let’s make sure before the Town Board says yes, we know what’s on the table,” she said.
The Town Board on Monday also authorized Highway Superintendent T.J. Bradt to post 6-ton weight limits on any town road after March 18, which could impact CG Roxane if vehicles are restricted on Watershed Road.
Bradt said he would post the limit only on roads prone to damage because of melting snow and frost.
CG Roxane’s $25 million, 170,000-square foot plant has been constructed but it’s operating on limited power with generators, awaiting an electrical hookup from National Grid. The utility, which has to construct a new substation in the town of Ephratah to accommodate CG Roxane’s needs, said the facility should be online by the end of March.