Johnson City Advances Eminent Domain for Lester Ave. Property
Johnson City is poised to go ahead with exercising its eminent domain powers to acquire property on Lester Avenue for a new Department of Public Works facility.
The Village Board held a public comment period on the plans to pay market value for the former Country Valley Industries site at 60 Lester Avenue and, with no additional comment by April 27 and with the May 4 approval of environmental and other impact studies the process is moving to the legal phase. Mayor Greg Deemie says the Village could be able to take possession of the property in "three to six months."
A developer had looked to use the site for a hemp processing facility. The Agency in January of last year reviewed a proposal by Great Eastern Hemp LLC to open a processing facility at the site just west of the City of Binghamton line. The $11.1 million development proposal had sought over $840,000 in a Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) deal. Mayor Deemie says Great Eastern had paid $2.2 million for the property.
By August, 2020 the former sheltered workshop site was on the market and the processing plans were called off. A slump in the hemp industry was being blamed for the change of plans.
Since then, the Village had been looking to build a new Department of Public Works facility to replace the one on Brown Street that is prone to flooding. Johnson City had approved the purchase of a plot on Grand Avenue in August of 2019 for the new public works facility but turned its sights to the old Country Valley Industries property as a better location. The Village has offered close to $2.6 million for the lot but Mayor Deemie says the owners want about $2.9 million.
Meanwhile, the Mayor says the Village is currently seeking to sell the Grand Avenue property that it had purchased for the DPW garage. He says there have been several inquires from properties interested in that site.