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Emerald Acres project in Pamelia set to break ground

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Following a two-year legal battle developers waged against the town, the Emerald Acres town-house development project for 53 single-family homes in Pamelia, originally approved in 2010, is expected to break ground this summer.

The 19-unit first phase of the project — located on 5.47 acres behind Willowbrook Golf Club on Route 37 — is set to start this fall and be completed by summer 2013. The remaining 34 units will be built by summer 2014.

A ruling in April by the state Supreme Court in Lewis County stated the Town Council doesn’t have the legal authority to interfere with a decision originally made by the town Planning Board in 2010 to approve the project. Gaetano Javarone claimed town officials refused to sign documents needed to acquire regulatory approval for the project, which was needed for the project to obtain construction loans.

“Our delay was the direct result of the town,” Mr. Javarone said. “The Planning Board approved this project in 2010 with conditions, but the town board wanted to implement restrictions. We could have been done with this early 2011 if we received the cooperation from the town.”

The developers also had filed a separate lawsuit accusing Supervisor Lawrence C. Longway, who is an independent housing developer, with having a conflict of interest, but that case was withdrawn.

The project will be funded with a $275,000 loan from the Jefferson County Local Development Corp., and will receive $340,000 in sales tax relief and $50,000 in mortgage recording tax relief. In addition, a $300,000 loan from the Development Authority of the North Country will be considered by the board for approval at its meeting today.

Town Attorney David A. Renzi said officials never restricted the developers from moving forward with the project after it was approved by the Planning Board. But the town did advise them to complete documentation that would enable it to receive approval for the project from regulatory agencies.

“The ruling said that Pamelia can’t interfere with the project, but the town was never interfering,” Mr. Renzi said. “In my opinion, Javarone is his own worst enemy.”

Mr. Renzi said the state Department of Health still hasn’t approved the project because the proper documentation was not submitted to the town.

“These agencies sometimes require an environmental study so that they can have a coordinated review of the environmental impacts,” he said. “But the developer doesn’t want to do it because there are inherent flaws with the project.”

Mr. Longway declined to comment.

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