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Posted on May 2, 2011 at 12:17 PM by PattiAnn Schultz
Once Again, Clarification of the Land Exchange of Property Behind Webster Plaza
It has come to my attention, once again, that some residents are concerned about the 11 acres of wooded property behind Webster Plaza. This topic pertains to a land exchange involving 1.3 acres of park land behind Webster Plaza with 2.65 acres the town would receive next to the Basket Road Field – Home of Yankee Stadium located on Boulter Parkway. This means that 9.7 acres will be left as a wooded area.
Many people may not realize but Van Ingen Drive is not a town dedicated road. This property actually belongs to the owner of the Webster Plaza. However, for a number of years motorists have used Van Ingen Drive as an entrance and exit to Town Hall and the Town of Webster Justice Court. The property owned by the town actually starts at the woods off Van Ingen Drive.
As a public official I do not use scare tactics – I just present current facts of the matter at hand. The facts are that the property behind Webster Plaza, up to the woods, is owned by the plaza owner. Residents who have been driving on Van Ingen Drive to the Town Hall, Justice Courts, playground, ball fields and using the library book drop have been driving on the plaza owner’s property. At any time he could stripe this area to be used for parking for the plaza. If this should happen, Webster residents would not have access to the rear of Town Hall, Justice Courts, the playground, ball fields or the library book drop. This is just a plain fact.
The plaza owner, back in 2009, informed the town that he would like to reclaim his legal property that the town has been using for road because he wanted to expand the parking in the rear of the plaza. This has absolutely nothing to due with Burger King; which was approved by the Planning Board with adequate parking. According to the Webster Town Code, with current square footage that is built-out within Webster Plaza, there is adequate parking.
During conversations with the town, the plaza owner raised the idea of him taking 1.3 acres from the Town into the woods and, at his own expense; he would build the town a road from just beyond the curve at the ball park entrance onto Hard Road. In return, he would also purchase 2.65 acres next to next to the Basket Road Field as open space for the town.
The Town Board has held two Public Hearings on this topic with many members of the community in attendance. There have been Letters to the Editor addressing this issue with the sole focus on the wooded property behind Webster Plaza. No one, except the Town Board, is focusing on the legal issue which is the plaza owner’s right to own land, pay taxes on his land, and have control of his land; which the plaza owner does not have at this time. The Webster residents have been using property as an access road that does not belong to the town. No one has brought forth any other suggestion or ideas as to how Webster residents are going to access Hard Road from the Town Hall, Justice Courts, playground, ball fields or the library book drop without traveling over property that does not belong to the Town of Webster.
In 2004 the Town Board had Mr. Brian Eshenaur, Horticulture Issue Leader of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County, visit the site. In his report Mr. Eshenaur wrote, “Most of the trees were younger and in a range of up to approximately 50 years old. None of them in this area represented old-growth forest trees. Although I do not like to see trees in a natural stand removed, I did not see a unique plant habitat site that necessitates preservation.”
The Town Board has looked at every aspect of this proposal to find a different way to accommodate the current traffic flow entering and exiting the rear of the plaza to the Town Hall, Justice Court, the playground, ball fields and the ever-popular annual mulch pile. The key public safety concern is the ability for the Webster Police to have both the ability to enter and exit via Van Ingen Drive.
If the parking area in the rear of the plaza is striped, motorists and the police would then be forced to use Ridge Road to enter and exit the Town Hall, the Justice Courts, the playground, the ball fields and the library book drop. Can you imagine the traffic congestion that would cause – especially someone attempting to make a left turn onto Ridge Road heading eastbound?
During the past several years the Town Board has preserved over 1,086 acres of Open Space land for residents to enjoy. So exchanging 1.3 acres is not something the Board is considering doing without some reservation. Needless to say, the Board feels it is in the best interest of the Town and its residents to have a second entrance and exit to Town Hall.
This process must be approved by the New York State Department of Parks, the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly; similar to what the town did when building the new ball field.
If you have any questions about your town government, please contact me during regular business hours at (585) 872-7068; or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ronald W. Nesbitt
Webster Town Supervisor