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OCIDA approves $70 million tax breaks for Clay distribution center

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency.

The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency has approved $70 million in property, sales and mortgage tax relief for the construction of a massive warehouse distribution center in the town of Clay. 

The project, which was announced in September, is moving ahead as planned only after a couple months. And that has some county residents like Kay Cloud, worried.

“I’m concerned about having something rammed through, and not following the procedures of having an independent environmental assessment for something of this magnitude," Cloud said. "It’s the process.” 

Residents are concerned about the environmental impact of fumes and noise coming from the estimated 10-20 trucks per hour, entering and exiting the facility. It would be located on the site of a public golf course and some residences are nearby. There hasn’t been an independent environmental study. Trammell Crow, the developer, has been working with the county industrial development agency, OCIDA, on the state’s required environmental assessment. Pat Hogan is the chair of OCIDA, and said they haven’t been just a rubber stamp.

“We went through every one of these questions, along with our consultants, lawyers, Trammell Crow and the state and county agencies involved," Hogan said. "It wasn’t acceptance. We were an active participant in this.”

Trammell Crow still needs more local government approvals before construction can start in the spring. A tenant for the distribution center, which is expected to create 1,000 new jobs, still hasn’t been found.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.