Supervisors agree to look for new jail sites


By David Avitabile

After agreeing that the new jail won't work at the Seebold site in the Town of Schoharie, supervisors are once again looking for a site for it.
Following an explanation from flood recovery officer Bill Cherry Friday morning, supervisors agreed to withdraw from the purchase agreement with the Seebolds for the site on Route 30 just north of the Village of Schoharie.
The Seebold site was facing archeological, wetland, and water table issues, Mr. Cherry told supervisors.
After they agreed not to go ahead with the purchase of the Seebold site, supervisors were presented with five possible sites-and suggested two more-Friday afternoon. In addition, other sites may be considered.
The five suggested by flood recovery coordinator Bill Cherry are all in the Town of Cobleskill, including one that is in the village.
A site above the 500-year floodplain, proximity to the courthouse, access to municipal water and sewer, impact, and availability are key considerations.
The proposed sites are:
• The current "Doc" Reilly Park on Route 7 in the Town of Cobleskill.
The 42.1-acre parcel is a town park and several women's softball teams still use it.
It has municipal water and sewer and natural gas nearby. It is zoned industrial and is 4.9 miles from the courthouse.
Deed restrictions on what the land can be used for and legal issues regarding the reclaiming of town parkland would have to be investigated and could be an issue, Mr. Cherry noted.
"The Town of Cobleskill has expressed willingness to enter into discussions of considering this site for the new Public Safety Facility," Mr. Cherry said.
• A 15.48-acre parcel diagonally across from the former MOSA offices (the site of the new E-911 center) on Route 7 in the Town of Cobleskill.
It has municipal water and sewer, natural gas and is 5.5 miles from the courthouse. It is zoned highway business.
Mr. Cherry told supervisors that the current design for the jail would fit on the site but there would be little room for expansion.
The property is for sale, according to Mr. Cherry.
A building would be visible from I-88, but probably not from the Route 7 corridor.
• The current Nark Farm on Shady Tree Lane in the Town of Cobleskill.
The 35-acre parcel has village water and sewer and natural gas. It is 7.3 miles from the courthouse and is zoned agricultural and rural residential.
The property is currently listed for sale.
The entire parcel is 102.3 acres but the county would only be interested in a 35-acre triangular potion on the on the eastern side of Shady Tree Lane.
• A 56.2-acre parcel at the intersection of Forester Road and Route 7 in the Town of Cobleskill opposite the Colonial Diner.
There is village water and sewer and natural gas. It is zoned highway business and 8.7 miles from the courthouse.
• Two parcels owned by the Schoharie County Industrial Development Agency in the Village of Cobleskill.
The parcel, 13.8 acres, has village water and sewer and natural gas. It is zoned mixed use and is 13.8 miles from the courthouse.
The Mineral Springs Road site is relatively level and there appears to be few road challenges, according to Mr. Cherry.
"However, the PSF (public safety facility) would be clearly visible from I-88, Mineral Springs Road, and South Grand Street, and it is unknown at this time whether the site would be available."
In addition, supervisors suggested two sites to be considered, and Sheriff Tony Desmond also made a recommendation.
Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe said he had been contacted by the owners of A&S Garage on Route 30 between Middleburgh and Schoharie.
The 18-acre site does not have municipal water and sewer but the owners would remove the existing structure, according to Mr. Skowfoe.
Sheriff Desmond also suggested a site nearer to Middleburgh.
He noted that in addition to housing the jail the PSF has a law enforcement function.
There are already three police departments in the Town of Cobleskill, the village police, the SUNY police, and the State Police, all within a two-mile radius he told supervisors.
To be fair to the residents in the southern end of the county, Sheriff Desmond suggested building the new jail closer to Middleburgh.
The public safety facility would offer better police services and be open 24 hours a day, he added.
"It would be in the best interest of that part of the county to have a strong police presence."
Schoharie Supervisor Chris Tague lobbied to put the jail off of Zicha Road. That site had been one of the finalists before the Seebold location was selected.
If the jail was build off Zicha Road and Route 7, it would be hidden in back, on the east side of the creek with access to the Capital District, he added.
There is no municipal water and sewer on the site, but is only one mile from hooking up to the Central Bridge sewer system and 1.7 miles from the last water hook-up on Route 7.
In addition to these locations, others could be considered by supervisors. Mr. Cherry asked for public input. Any locations that meet the criteria will be considered.
"We want to do it right," Mr. Cherry said Friday afternoon.
He did note that the county fire training site on Howes Cave and the former MOSA site on Route 7 would not be considered, for a variety of reasons due to land constraints.