Ronald W. Nesbitt

Supervisor's Corner

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May 23

Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

Posted on May 23, 2016 at 12:05 PM by PattiAnn Schultz

This has been a very busy week regarding a new project slated for the corner of Salt Road and State Road.  There has been an abundance of misinformation floating around on social media that drives me crazy. I only had one resident make a phone call to my office to express her concerns and discuss this. Residents: pick up the phone and call me or email me and I will make sure that you get the correct and true details.

The land at Salt Road and State Road is not open space, green space or forever wild. There is a very big misconception over this piece of land that was purchased under the Town of Webster Green Print Plan under the direction of the Webster Open Space Committee. If you can recall the Town Board and the Open Space Committee encouraged Webster votes to approve a $22 million bond that included development rights and purchase of lands in Webster to slow down development that was booming at the time. Residents turned that bond down because they felt it cost too much and the development rights of the bond where too costly and residents wanted to purchase lands that they could walk on.

The Open Space Committee and the Town Board went back to the drawing board and came up with a bond of $5.9 million that included buying the development rights of 393.52 acres on State Road and Salt Roads from the Schreiber family. This development right purchase forbids the Schreiber’s from selling the land for a housing development.  However, they retained ownership of the property for farming and could sell the land as it was for agricultural uses in to the future. There has been a “for sale” sign on this piece of property for many years because they wanted to sell the property.  If this property was open space, they could not have had a sign up advertising the property was for sale because it could not be sold. 

Now a firm by the name of Intergrow has stepped forward to purchase the development rights on this piece of property and put up a greenhouse to grow hydroponic tomatoes. They have two of these greenhouses already built in New York State: one in Fillmore, New York and one in Albion, New York. I have visited the one in Albion and it is a very clean operation. The greenhouses are mostly dirt floors and all generators and boilers are housed inside to prevent any noise from escaping outside. There are moveable curtains on the top of the green house at night so as to not light up the neighborhood.  There are large inside barrels that collect snow run off and rain water all year long to use as irrigation to water the tomato plants.

There may be two or three tractor trailers a day that will travel to and from the plant delivering tomatoes to local supermarkets like Wegmans, Tops, and Aldi’s. The plan, upon completion in future years, will employ up to 150 employees making up $12.00 to $20.00 per hour.

We are at the beginning of this project development.  I appreciate all of the residents that came to the Planning Board Meeting last Tuesday with comments and valid concerns that need to be addressed in the coming months. There will be more meetings in front of the Planning Board and Public Hearings that will also be scheduled for residents to continue to learn about this project and address any concerns they might have during the process.

If you have any questions about your town government, please feel free to contact me during regular business hours at (585) 872-7068; or email me anytime at  

Ronald W. Nesbitt