Amazon seeking local non-profit for historic home

By RACHEL COLEMAN
Posted 10/5/21

“It’s probably 95 percent complete in terms of its restoration,” said Don Chase of the Bluewater Property Group, during a presentation to the Town of Montgomery Planning Board last …

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Amazon seeking local non-profit for historic home

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“It’s probably 95 percent complete in terms of its restoration,” said Don Chase of the Bluewater Property Group, during a presentation to the Town of Montgomery Planning Board last week.

Chase referred to the historic Haber House, located on the Amazon property on Route 747 and owned by USEF Sailfish, LLC. Part of the approval for the Amazon project was a directive from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to relocate, rehabilitate and repurpose the historic home.

Motorists on Route 747 may have noticed the improvements made to the structure and its new location north of the entrance to the Amazon facility.

“I understand it was quite an undertaking,” said Planning Board Chairman Fred Reichle. “It does look wonderful.”
Chase admitted that there are still a few items that need to be completed, including work on the windows and a chimney, but the trouble is fulfilling the last requirement—finding a new use for the house.

“We’re here tonight at this juncture to prepare for the ultimate use of the house,” said Chase, explaining that they are seeking a two lot subdivision to separate the historic property from the rest of the Amazon facility.

“We hope to find a charitable organization, a non-profit, to donate the house for their use,” said Chase.
While they’ve had conversations with organizations like the USAA, it hasn’t worked out.

“We’ve also talked to the town a little bit about potentially the historical society maybe finding a home there,” added Chase.

Chase said the new lot will be a conforming lot. While the utility infrastructure is in place, the electric and sewer have not yet been connected.

When questioned about whether Amazon had considered keeping the structure, Chase explained that the SHPO had told them to find a user related to historical preservation or a charitable organization. Failing that, it could be used as a residence.

In the meantime, the applicants are moving forward with the proposed two lot subdivision, which the planning board intends to discuss in its next workshop.

The board also heard a presentation for George’s Fuel, for a proposed structure on Albany Post Road.

The business was renting a building on Route 52 in Walden and now needs to find a new home. After purchasing two parcels on the southeast corner of Route 52 and Albany Post Road, the applicant wants to combine the two lots into one 1.8 acre lot and construct a building that will house offices for the business as well as a five-bay garage to store their trucks.

There is an existing residence on the property, which they considered converting into offices for the business, but abandoned the idea in the face of code compliance issues. Instead, the building will be removed, along with the existing well and sewer.

Thomas Olley, representing the applicant, noted that there is a federal wetland on the property, but it is not regulated. They have tried to keep the building and driveway 100 feet from the edge of the wetland.

Olley said they’ve also chosen the location of the driveway out of respect for the nearby residential property. The idea is to create some separation rather than have a commercial driveway right next to them. The business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with occasional emergency deliveries.

There will be no fuel storage on the property, except whatever might remain in the trucks at the end of the day. No heavy repairs will be performed in the garage.

The planning board said they would get back to the applicant following soil testing and review.
The board also listened to a presentation for a two lot subdivision for the Estate of Dorothy Reichle. The chairman recused himself as an adjoining property owner and family member.

The property, located on Beamer Road, consists of an existing house and outbuilding. The proposal is to separate the outbuilding onto a new lot and build a single family home on that lot.

The public hearing regarding UNFI was extended another month to Oct. 25 at the request of the applicant, as they are still working on plans. The board still accepted public comments on Monday, including reiteration of issues with trucks parking along the road and a suggestion that the town perform its own noise study in coordination with neighboring residents.

“I think it might give us some accurate data about whether or not UNFI is really meeting the requirements of their site approval and also the SEQRA process,” said resident Karina Tipton.

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