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City rejects industrial park water district, will sell directly to developer


City Council members have declined a request by the town of Pamelia to sell water to a proposed water district that would serve a planned 88-acre industrial park on outer Bradley Street proposed by Purcell Construction Corp. in November.

Instead, the Watertown City Council expressed interest in selling water directly to Purcell Construction through a contract for the industrial park.

On Dec. 18, attorney David A. Renzi, who represents the town of Pamelia, sent a letter to the city requesting the deal with the city to sell water because the town was forming a water district for the project.

But Mayor Jeffrey Graham and council members Roxanne M. Burns and Stephen A. Jennings oppose selling water through a district.

Ms. Burns pointed out that there has never been a water district formed just to serve one user. She also opposes the arrangement because she has not seen any plans for the project.

In questioning that strategy, Councilman Joseph M. Butler Jr. pointed out that the city is going to end up selling water for the industrial park anyway, and he questioned why the city should not do so through a water district.

“What’s the downside of selling to a water district?” he asked.

In November, Purcell announced plans for the park with railroad access and space for up to 20 businesses on 88 acres of commercial land off outer Bradley Street at Interstate 81. The company bought the land Oct. 3 from Pyramid Cos., Syracuse, for $1.25 million. Only about 7 acres of the proposed industrial park are in the city, while the remaining land is in Pamelia.

Initially, Mayor Graham proposed annexing the land in Pamelia that would be used for the industrial park into the city, but the developer rejected that idea.

Council members have instructed City Manager Sharon A. Addison to respond to Mr. Renzi’s letter, notifying him they are not interested in the water district arrangement. Instead, the city would sell directly to Purcell Construction through a contract or proceed with annexation.

On Feb. 3, council members unanimously approved a zoning change for the portion of the property in the city. They changed it from Residence A to Light Industrial.

Richard R. Gefell, Purcell’s project manager, said he has not had a chance to discuss the water district situation with the city because he is out of town, so he did not want to comment. He intends to set up a meeting for next week with city officials.

Pamelia Town Supervisor Lawrence C. Longway could not be reached to comment.

In December, Purcell also announced it also wants to construct a 10-building business park on 30 acres off outer Washington Street in front of Summit Wood apartments.

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