6/23/2005

Decision delayed on eminent domain request: (Syracuse NY) News 10 Now, 6/22/05

By Adam Chodak

This spring, representatives for DestiNY and OCIDA crafted an agreement regarding the proposed R&D Park in Salina. Wednesday morning, the OCIDA Board held a meeting to discuss the agreement and possibly vote on it. But neither a discussion nor a vote took place.

"Members of the agency are in favor of the project and would like the project to succeed. At the same time, we have an obligation to those families who own businesses and work for the businesses that are in Phase 3," said OCIDA Chairman Robert Baldwin.

Phase 3 beings the part of the agreement in which OCIDA agrees to use eminent domain to condemn more than two dozen Salina businesses to make way for the R&D Park.

Phil Jakes-Johnson represents Solvents and Petroleum in Salina. He sees OCIDA's decision to hold off on a vote as a sign the board is seriously considering his group's objection to eminent domain.

"OCIDA Board members, volunteer board members, are giving due deliberation to magnitude of this agreement," he said.

Not all in attendance applauded the postponement. Deputy County Executive Ed Kochian thinks the delay only frustrates the developer's grand design.

"They're spending money at a rapid rate and I'm pretty sure there comes a point where they say we have to know that we're going to recover some of that money or else we can't keep spending it at the rate we're spending it," said Deputy County Executive Ed Kochian.

Baldwin hopes this impasse doesn't translate into a complete melt down of the project. Instead, he thinks a step back and reflection will open the door to an acceptable compromise.

We tried to contact DestiNY officials Wednesday for comment, but, as usual, they did not return our phone calls.


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