On October 2 2019, City Council will vote on a resolution to schedule a public hearing on the sale of a 7.25 acre parcel of city-owned land located in the Town of Waterloo, adjacent to entrance of Seneca Lake State Park. In 2016, City Council approved the sale of the parcel to a local residential developer, but then cancelled the sale after severe backlash from the public. A few months later, the City Manager and Council were found to have violated the city’s Code of Ethics during the sale process.
Earlier this summer, Council began discussing a possible land swap with the State Park, which would end up giving the city a strip of land along the shoreline that would highly desirable to residential developers for its waterfront access.
Today, there’s some very good news for the people of Geneva.
And bad news for developers.
Parcel To Be Purchased By State, Made Part Of Seneca Lake State Park
According to an Agenda Item Briefing for Resolution # 46 – 2019:
“The Finger Lakes Regional Office for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation has expressed interest in purchasing this parcel to utilize for park uses for the Seneca Lake State Park.”
It also seems that the city is expecting a fair payment from the state for the parcel:
“The purchase offer will be based on a current market appraisal and will
be presented as non-negotiable.”
According to Seneca County tax records for the parcel, the fair market value of the property is $136,700.
(When the City sold the same parcel to a developer in 2016, they would have received $200,000, but would have been responsible for the costs of environmental cleanup and running water and sewer to the site).
The resolution also makes it very clear that a land swap will not be part of the deal.
Previously, City Council asked staff to look into the ability for a land swap with Seneca Lake State Park land along the water southwest of the parcel with in Ontario County that abuts the City’s lakefront walking trails. This potential purchase offer will not include a land swap.
However, the sale is not expected to be finalized until next year, leaving plenty of time for development-friendly Councilors to derail the deal.
We also anticipate that the offer will be an option to purchase and if approved, the
closing would be in the Summer 2020.
Why This Is Potentially Great News
If the sale goes through
- A 7+ acre tract of city-owned green space will be added to the adjacent Seneca Lake State Park and permanently protected from development.
- The proposed land swap with the state would have given the city a strip of shoreline that’s know to have drawn interest from residential developers for years. Instead, that shoreline will remain part of the State Park and permanently protected from development.
- The small parking lot located in Lakefront Park near the State Park entrance, which is used by working class residents to park and walk or carpool into the State Park and save on entrance fees, will remain in place for the near future.
- The majority of the people of Geneva oppose Lakefront Park development, and the people will win one battle in the larger fight to keep the Park in the hands of the all the people, not just a few wealthy developers and condo owners.
If the resolution to establish a public hearing is approved on October 2nd, the public hearing will be held at the regular City Council meeting on November 6, 2019.