Planning under way for food processing plant on 81 acres at agri-business park
Town of Batavia officials are going to work as quickly as possible to get development plans reviewed and approved for a food processing facility on an 81-acre parcel at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.
Sources tell The Batavian that a company is planning a large facility that could employee from 200 to 300 people. But when asked for confirmation on details Tuesday night, GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde said confidentiality agreements prevent him from discussing both the name of the company and the nature of the processing plant.
While Hyde cautioned that the deal is "not 100 percent," it's clear from the discussion of planning board and zoning board members Tuesday night that the company is serious about building its new plant in Batavia.
"This project is going to move very fast," said Gary Diegelman, chairman of the zoning board.
It must, Hyde said.
"They want to move very fast," Hyde said. "There is some extended time frame for negotiations, but they want to get moving in advance to take advantage of the good weather before it gets nasty."
The zoning board will meet Nov. 7 to discuss three requested variances to the zoning code.
The company is requesting permission to build a warehouse higher than the 40 feet allowed by the zoning code, Diegelman said. The initial request is to build a 45-foot-high warehouse, but the company anticipates eventually expanding to 120 feet high.
Diegelman suggested the board just consider approving the 120-foot high variance now to save the company the trouble of coming back later for a new variance.
Because of the Monroe County water towers on the other side of Route 5, and variance already granted for the O-AT-KA Milk Products plant, the variance shouldn't be a problem, Diegelman indicated.
The company also wants to provide parking based on three shifts of workers, rather than a number of parking spaces dictated by the total square feet of the facility.
And they want parking spaces that are 9' x 18' rather than the code of 10' x 20', but the variance request is not unusual in the town.
As for the planning board, it will hold a meeting to discuss any changes in the SEQR process. The ag park already has been through environmental review, but the 81-acre project could have additional or different environmental impacts that need to be considered.
On Nov. 14, the board will discuss a proposal to change parcel boundaries in the park to create the 81-acre project.
Hyde indicated that while the project isn't completely locked down, Genesee County is the frontrunner, well ahead of sites considered in Pennsylvania and even Livingston County.
"I think there’s a lot of excitement (about the project), not just in Genesee County, but across the region and the state. People recognize that the Finger Lakes and Western New York are primed for growth in food processing, a recession-proof industry, because people have to eat and our country continues to grow."
Photo: GCEDC's Mark Masse, VP of business development, shows site map plans for parcel changes to the agri-business park to members of the planning and zoning boards.