Bus Garage Work Continues Despite Neighbors' Opposition

Bus Garage Work Continues Despite Neighbors' Opposition

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Despite pending lawsuits, plans are still underway to expand the First Student bus garage under construction in the Jefferson County Industrial Park.

First Student is the national bus company that won a contract with the Watertown City School District.

Local developer Mike Lundy plans to finish the garage by next month. That plan has brought opposition and multiple lawsuits against the town of Watertown's planning board.

"You have a project that's already underway in the field that should be stopped," said Jan Kublick, a lawyer for Onondaga Development LLC.

The board approved the project in January, but Lundy has submitted a new, larger project on the same land with the same goal.

"It's a modification and enlargement of the project that was approved back in January," planning board co-chair Thomas Boxberger said. "It's a total change in the layout of the property."

The concerns are the same and were voiced at a public hearing Tuesday night. 

Companies near the site, such as Car-Freshener and Opal Development, say it will cause traffic issues.

"We have information from various highway departments that indicate it's probably not a problem." Boxberger said, "but we do have traffic study that we need to look at and review."

Those companies also claim the industrial park doesn't allow this kind of land use.

"My client's concerns include the fact that our reading of the town zoning ordinance doesn't permit this use, which is a pretty big deal," Kublick said.

Lundy says he plans to continue moving forward.

The public hearing has been extended through next week. Comments can be submitted in writing or given at a special planning board meeting on June 14, when the board could vote on the project.

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