Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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January 25, 2014

GM appealing town IDA court decision

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — General Motors will challenge the court ruling that allows the Town of Lockport Industrial Development Agency to continue the process of taking a piece of General Motors Corp. property via eminent domain in order to enlarge its industrial park.

The State Supreme Court Appellate Division made the ruling last month.

GM spokesperson Mary Ann Brown said the auto giant filed the appeal Friday with the New York State Court of Appeals. A hearing will be held next month.

GM owns a total of about 120 acres, roughly bounded by Junction Road, the southern edge of the industrial park and the Lockport Energy Associates cogeneration power plant. The 91-acre piece of land the IDA wants lies west of the GM Components plant on Upper Mountain Road.

The IDA Board of Directors voted last April to use the town’s power of eminent domain to take 91 acres off Junction Road, which borders the industrial park. The plan was to expand the park in order to draw more business and development, the IDA said.

Since the creation of the 201-acre IDA Park, 30 businesses have been assisted, leading to $399 million in investment and the employment of 491 residents, according to the decision. Only 56 acres of vacant land were still available, with just 33 of that suitable for sale and development.

So town officials said under the provisions of General Municipal Law Section 858, subdivision 4, local industrial development agencies can acquire real property for economic development purposes through eminent domain. GM objected, filing the suit in May.

If the appeal fails, the next step is to negotiate a purchase price for the property. An appraisal of the land is expected soon.

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