Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Small town in New York fights to keep out Amazon

Schodack, N.Y. (Wikipedia map)
Most small towns want to lure more businesses, but some residents in Schodack, N.Y, are trying to keep one out. 

Online retail giant Amazon wants to build a million-square-foot fulfillment center just outside the town of 13,000. "The warehouse is set to stand three stories tall in the mostly rural area and boast more than 1,000 parking spaces for an estimated 800 employees. It will have spaces for massive delivery trucks on one side and be built on land totaling 116 acres previously used for farming," Michael Sainato reports for The Guardian

After the town board approved the plan in July, an association of homeowners near the site the Birchwood Association, filed suit to try to halt the project. The lawsuit seeks an appeal against the town board's decision and asks that an environmental impact study of the project be required.

"They argue the local economy does not suit such a large development – and nor does it need the promised jobs. Schodack primarily thrives on small local businesses and the county Schodack is located in, Rensselaer County, already has a relatively low unemployment rate, currently at 3.9 percent, and a median income over $61,000," Sainato reports. The Birchwood Association also cited concerns about traffic, property values, emergency services and groundwater contamination.

"We all have paid residential tax rates in this neighborhood. They come in with corporations, give them huge tax benefits, and screw everyone else who lives here and the water supply," Marci Brunner, a leader of the association, told Sainato. "We are trying to protect the environment and the quality of life, not just for us but everyone in Schodack and the local areas that will be impacted by this."

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