By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO April 9, 2002 The votes are in.
Out of 69 applications, 39 Sullivan County businesses have been chosen for inclusion in the Empire Zone, a designation given to the county last year.
The county was allowed 1,280 acres to place in that zone by New York State last year. The majority of the area, 960 acres, was to be used in Monticello (where the zone was awarded) and its contiguous area.
That left 320 acres to be named an Empire Zone throughout the rest of the county. (Currently, there is legislation in Albany that would change that. If it passes, the acreage could be used throughout the county until the 1,280 is filled).
The countys Planning and Economic Development Department has been working diligently to master the complicated process and help county businesses benefit from the zone.
In the original zone (which included Broadway in Monticello and the Kohls distribution center in Wurtsboro), about 125 acres were awarded.
Every 12 months, the zone is allowed to be amended to add more businesses to the zone. The main purpose of the zone is to give tax breaks and benefits to businesses that are looking to expand.
For the past few months, the county has been preparing a law to expand and amend the EZ boundary. It has been discussed extensively during various Sullivan County Legislature Committee meetings.
The latest discussion took place at the Planning and Community Development meeting on Thursday. The discussion focused on a resolution that calls for a public hearing on the boundary amendment on Thursday, May 9, at 11:30 a.m.
The discussion was turned over to Planning and Community Development Commissioner Alan Sorensen. An informational packet on the boundary amendment had been given to Legislators prior to the meeting for their review. Sorensen went over that material and answered questions.
Sorensen stated that 69 applications had been submitted. The EZ Board has recommended that 39 of those business be designated within the zone, including: the Villa Roma Resort, Richard and Lisa Lander, Quintessence Alpaca, ASA Precision/SRS Enterprise, Cochecton Cheese Company, Gasko and Meyer, Sundas Times, Olympus Hotel, Griffins, Inc., Seanachie Pub, Fleet Bank Building, Family Dollar, Liberty Fitness and Wellness Center, Phils Market, Gitlin and Knack Realty, Ideal Snacks, MBM Enterprises, B&B Ford Lincoln Mercury, Alberts Steakhouse, Formaggio Italian Cheese, D.C. Fabrication and Welding, Rolling V, Steingart Associates, Sullivan County Holding, Alfie 3, MGN Realty, Novogrodsky Rd., Diversified Realty, Bernas Paving/Maston Enterprises, Tom Chi, Murray Bresky, Connie Ds Corner, Resnick Equipment, Holiday Mountain, Forestburgh Playhouse, T&V Development, M&V Eagle Enterprise, Monticello Raceway, Glen Smith Building and Best Western Paramount.
None of the businesses are officially added to the zone until the Legislature passes the boundary amendment law. That is expected to be passed at the Legislatures monthly meeting on Thursday, May 16, after the May 9 public hearing.
Legislators asked about the 30 that did not receive preliminary approval. Sorensen explained that some did not meet the criteria or submitted an incomplete application. Those businesses will be contacted and, if the problems are fixed, they could be included in the zone. The list will not be finalized until the law passes, and some minor changes are expected.
The current 39 businesses that may be accepted into the zone make up approximately 55.5 acres 45 of those acres spread out throughout the county.
The resolution passed through the committee. It goes before the full Legislature for it's approval on Thursday, April 18.