By Nadine Cafaro
The back and forth about four large warehouses being built in Montgomery is ongoing, and now many residents feel unheard at local meetings.
Along the northwest side of 211, by Union and Weaver Street, two 60,000 (35 feet high) and two 80,000 square foot (45 feet high) warehouses are being proposed to be built for various purposes. The proposed project has been in the works for years.
When it first got suggested, it seemed as if the village was on board with residents. A letter, signed by Village Mayor L. Stephen Brescia was sent to Zoning Board Chairman Randy Wilbur in July 2022 to state opposition to raising the height variance for said project. Given that two of the warehouses are 45 feet high, the applicant received this height variance. The Village of Montgomery’s code for this area has a maximum height of 35.
Last week, the Village of Montgomery Planning Board again opened up a public hearing for this project following the anticipated flag test. Here, the project’s engineer and attorney discussed updates, like results of the flag test and noise study.
Engineer Scott Sicina of Lanc & Tully said the noise should be addressed more thoroughly. “If there’s no operational hours, I think there should be something at least addressed about what could potentially happen at night,” said Sicina.
When the public were given their time to speak, they did not hold back.
Timothy Mahoney, a local resident, began the conversation, noting drainage issues near his house. “Where are these trucks coming in and out of? Where are they going? Why don’t we have a realistic noise study?”
John Cappello, of J&G Law, noted that Mahoney should pick up all the documents for this project at village hall to understand about the traffic and more.
Weaver Street resident Brandon Raab also spoke, claiming that no one considered the view of the warehouses from local properties, just from the street.
“They weren’t worried about what it was going to look like from your property, they were worried about what they were going to look like from the street. So that just shows you how much you care about the residents that are here,” said Raab.
He further mentioned that he feels like the board isn’t exactly listening to them.
“The reason why I also feel so upset is [because] I feel like you guys are not showing us due diligence. I know they’re also residents too who own property. I understand that you want to build and no one is arguing against that. But the size of the scope and how close it’s going to be is why I’m so upset,” Raab mentioned.
There were numerous other speakers, all of whom brought up various concerns to the board about these warehouses being seen from their properties or keeping them up at night from noise.
At one point, the residents got fed up.
Weaver Street resident Jeff VanZandt asked the board, “Why don’t we feel the residents have any of our concerns being addressed here?”
Planning Board Chairman Kevin Conero reiterated that they’re not trying to hide the warehouses completely, but doing their best to mitigate it based on code.
VanZandt responded to this. “I’m saying you build a board to mandate certain things to protect the residents and I don’t think you care about it.”
This caused some commotion and raised voices, making Attorney Stephanie Midler tone down the intensity.
“In order to have a productive public hearing, everybody has to one, take a deep breath,” Midler said, “Everybody can be heard, as you can see, no one’s enforcing the time limit. So we’re trying to listen to everybody. I’m trying to work with everybody. So can you listen to everybody?”