Amid pushback from Oneonta residents speaking during the public comment section of Tuesday's Common Council meeting at City Hall, a proposal by the city to swap a small parcel of land was tabled.
The site in question is a portion of Morse Street that is owned by the city. The deed would be traded for an adjacent property owned by River Street Gardens, LLC. Residents who spoke against the motion said they were concerned about its timing.
The planning commission tabled a related decision on moving forward with a proposed residential development on River Street Gardens property in the Sixth Ward after public input.
The decision was made to “move slower” with the process and get more input from residents. The council voting on this step did not match that decision, residents argued.
Mayor Gary Herzig said a city ordinance required any sale or purchase of land to be subject to a public hearing before being decided by the city council. Herzig said he interpreted a swap as a sale, and as such tabled the motion to be brought back after a public hearing. The hearing was not scheduled during the meeting.
The Common Council also authorized the submission of an application to the state Department of Transportation for $2.5 million in grant funding under the Public Transportation Modernization and Enhancement Program. This application is for possible land acquisition that might be necessary for development of the city's new transportation hub.
Herzig said that the proposed spot for the hub beneath the downtown parking garage may not be large enough for the project. Engineering consultants are conducting a study. The grant funding would allow the city to acquire land as needed to develop the transportation hub.
Additionally, the council authorized the submission of a grant application to the DOT for $119,000 under the Accelerated Transit Capital program to make upgrades to Oneonta Public Transit's computer systems and automated bus-washing system.
In other news:
• The council authorized the purchase of heavy duty snow-removal equipment for use at the Oneonta Municipal Airport.
• George L. Korthauer said that the city will break ground at the Dietz Street parking lot for the installation of electric car-charging stations Thursday. Ongoing repaving of Fair, Delaware, Lewis and Otsego streets in the First Ward will be completed tomorrow.
• A public hearing for the city's 2019 budget was scheduled for Monday, Nov. 26, at 6 p.m.
Whitney Bashaw, staff writer, can be reached at 607-441-7218 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her on Twitter @DS_WhitneyB .