Plavchak confronts criticism on intersection project

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 2/14/24

Last week Lloyd Supervisor Dave Plavchak addressed criticism that was recently posted on Facebook about work being done on his property that is part of the Tillson/Toc intersection project. His home …

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Plavchak confronts criticism on intersection project

Last week Lloyd Supervisor Dave Plavchak addressed criticism that was recently posted on Facebook about work being done on his property that is part of the Tillson/Toc intersection project. His home is located on the corner of Vineyard Avenue and Toc Drive, adjacent to the ongoing work at the intersection.
“On social media there was a picture of excavators in the driveway of my house with some words on it insinuating that I’m getting special treatment and I’m getting a new wall on taxpayers dollars,” he said. “It’s totally untrue.”  
Plavchak pointed out that this project has been in the planning stages for more than 15 years and moving his driveway off of Vineyard Avenue and around the corner onto Toc Drive was touched upon more than 10 years ago. He said the final drawing of his driveway, which includes the retaining wall, was sent to him on December 31, 2019 by the project’s consulting firm of Barton & Loguidice, two years before he was elected Supervisor.
Plavchak said shortly after taking office in January 2022 he asked the town’s ethics board to review whether he had to recuse himself from the bid process or from working with the contractors and the engineers on the project.
On March 2, 2022 the Ethics Board issued an advisory opinion, commending him for reaching out for clarification and concluding there was no conflict of interest, “because the project’s elements that personally involve you occurred prior to 1/1/2022 when you were sworn in as Town Supervisor.”
They added that the payment Plavchak received for land acquisition and rights-of-ways was made in May 2019 and engineering plans to move his driveway and erect a retaining wall were done for safety reasons and drawn up in 2020. They also stated that other landowners received compensation and have had work done on their properties due to impacts from this project. Plavchak said when the ethics board completed their review the entire Town Board went into executive session to hear their opinion.
“The social media post that was put out was by an ex-town board member who was in that executive session. Why they would knowingly put out false information and try to harm myself and my family and put us through that stress is unbeknownst to me; so therefore I feel compelled to make sure the community fully understands the facts and what went on and my involvement with it,” Plavchak said. “Hopefully, this is beyond us and hopefully people who do this don’t continue to post pictures of my house and stress out my wife, my family and other members.”
Board member Mike Guerriero asked if the wall being built on the Supervisor’s property was in the original project plans, with Plavchak responding that it has been in the finalized plans since 2019. Guerriero pressed his point, noting that it wasn’t in the first original plan, which Plavchak acknowledged, but “neither were all the walls on Tillson Avenue.”  
Tom Baird, Senior Associate/Partner with Barton & Loguidice, agreed that the original plans did not have a wall to be built on Plavchak’s property. He said his firm signed a contract on the Tillson/Toc intersection project in 2010 and from then until June 2013 a survey, a preliminary design and other environmental investigations had to be completed. In addition, the firm was considering multiple alternatives for the intersection, such as a roundabout, that was ultimately rejected by the state. After that rejection, Plavchak’s driveway was shown as a relocation effort onto Toc Drive.
Baird said this is a shared driveway and had to drop its elevation coming in from Toc Drive where the wall is currently. For safety reasons the driveway also had to be widened by about 10 feet.
“And getting into the slope we determined there would be a structural impact on the pool and by the final design around 2019-20, we did have to add a wall to hold up that slope,” he said, adding that this issue has been on the company’s radar for the past 10 years. “Once things got finalized we think we have the best option there for longevity and safety.”
Baird said the first initial bids that went out to contractors did not have details on the wall because his company did not have enough information on the bedrock and soil conditions underneath Plavchak’s property. That information became available at the start of the project’s construction and allowed for better estimates of the amount of materials needed in the area of the driveway.  
Guerriero said there must have been a job order issued, “for all that extra work to be done and didn’t it have to be approved by the state?” Baird pointed out that the project was bid in two pieces because of the state’s funding timeline.
“The first change order of three was to add the second piece of culvert but the quantity of the wall was already in the first initial bid; so there was no change order to put that quantity in. It was just the exact location wasn’t fixated yet until we got the field work done. So there wasn’t a change order specifically for this wall, that’s absolutely not true.” He did add, however, that there were a few change orders on the project – adding a culvert, a time extension for work on Vineyard Avenue due to funding being enacted and a third for extra materials needed to deal with the utilities that were unknown but uncovered during construction.
Baird said there is price per square foot for the wall but he does not yet have that quantified but are only recording the quantities that are presently put in. He said he would break out the cost of the wall and provide it to Councilman Guerriero.
Dan Goslin, Construction Manager for Barton & Loguidice, highlighted for the town board the “broad strokes” of the remaining work on the project. He said Vineyard Avenue is the main focus at this point and tying it in the remainder of Tillson Avenue from Smith Terrace to Vineyard. It includes roadway and sidewalk work, a guide rail and a protected bridge rail across the bridge and final paving and drainage work down on Vineyard Avenue. This will necessitate the closure of Vineyard Avenue for the month of April. After it is reopened, the final top paving, guide rails, striping, box soil and seeding, general clean up of the project site and completion of the punch list on any final items will be done, “to ensure that the project is completed to our standards and everybody is happy with every single piece of the project before we cut the contractor loose.” This is expected to be completed by May 31.  
Plavchak said the cost of the project was about $6.2 million, “and I think right now we’re staying very close to that.” Goslin agreed with that estimate, saying, “At this time with the pluses and minuses of each individual item on the contract [we’re] within that number.”