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JCIDA seeks to resolve developers’ dispute...

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A majority vote from business owners at the Jefferson County Corporate Park will be needed to allow Penske Truck Leasing to lease a facility owned by Michael E. Lundy, because of its status as a retail business.

A letter requesting signatures of approval from owners for the proposal was mailed Thursday by the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency, which owns the industrial park off outer Coffeen Street. The agency has a covenant that prohibits the establishment of retail businesses there.

Though he does not own land within the park, Alexandria Bay developer P.J. Simao recently voiced his opposition to the plan for Penske to move into Mr. Lundy’s building. Mr. Simao previously received a letter of intent in July from Penske expressing interest in his building near the park entrance at 21291 Route 12F, the former SMX repair center. But then Penske changed its mind to pursue Mr. Lundy’s 10,000-square-foot industrial facility, which has been vacant since the West Carthage developer built it as a speculative venture in the summer of 2010.

Mr. Alexander said the agency has always sought approval in the past from business owners when retail businesses have moved into the park, including Timeless Frames, Morgia’s Pasta and Haun Welding Supply, all of which are light industrial with a retail component. No business owners have ever voted against such a proposal. But if that occurs, the matter would probably be put to a majority vote, Mr. Alexander said.

The agency “has judged these things in the past by whether or not they’re negatively impacting anyone else in the park,” Mr. Alexander said. “Some (retail proposals) we’ve never taken to owners for approval because we feel it’s not going to work, and reject it out of hand. As I understand it, this covenant was primarily designed to avoid a high-traffic section in the park wherein you’d upset owners with a lot of cars in a road that might be occupied by tractor trailers.

“But Penske is not a Walmart or Kmart and aren’t going to put a lot of traffic in there because they aren’t big,” he said. “We’ve never had an issue where even one person says no. If it’s a problem, we go back to talk with them about why. If one person adamantly says no, I would tend to think the majority would rule.”

Mr. Alexander, who said he believes there is bad blood between Mr. Simao and Mr. Lundy, said the clash between the developers has detracted from the agency’s mission of economic development.

“I wish that Mr. Lundy and Mr. Simao would come to some agreement on dealings so the community can continue economic development actions and be unhampered by these cross purposes,” Mr. Alexander said. “Penske’s business model is primarily working with other businesses to lease them tractor trailers, so it’s a business-to-business thing. Some of their business is to rent trucks to people moving around Fort Drum, and I think that is a valid community service to have.”

Mr. Alexander said he hopes the matter will be resolved in October.

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