Landfill ‘buffer’ in talks

JOHNSTOWN — Attorneys for both Fulton County and a private landowner are still trying to resolve a final negotiated price for a 75-acre parcel near the landfill the county wishes to turn into a “buffer zone.”

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 9 approved purchasing roughly 75 acres of land from a private property owner adjacent to the county landfill.

The price was listed then as $125,000 for what was indicated at the time as possible future development.

But county Administrative Officer Jon Stead said Tuesday that three months later, the deal isn’t final yet.

“They’re still in negotiations on the purchase price,” he said.

When the deal was first announced in October, officials said the county would transfer $125,000 from a landfill depreciation account to unreserved fund balance to pay for the property.

The board last October authorized former Chairman James Groff to execute a real estate purchase agreement for that amount with property owners Jason and Diana Snell.

“The owners near the landfill were interested in getting rid of the property,” Stead said.

The property was listed as adjacent to the Fulton County Department of Solid Waste, located at 587 Mud Road in the town of Johnstown. The resolution approved indicated the owners provided a “written commitment” to sell their property to the county for $125,000.

Officials said the 74.7-acre parcel — including a house and outbuildings — borders the landfill.

Department Director David Rhodes last fall recommended purchasing the property as a “buffer zone” for the landfill and for “potential future development.” The landfill was opened by the county in 1989, with decades of site life remaining.

But Stead said that most likely when this latest deal is finally done, no development will result.

“There would be no planned development likely on that property,” he said.

He said there is certain acreage near properties like landfills never used for actual development, but merely serve as a buffer between the landfill and nearby residential properties.

“It’s a fairly common practice to acquire adjacent properties to the landfill,” Rhodes added Tuesday.

He said there is no project planned currently for the 75 acres.

“It’s similar to other acquisitions of other properties since the landfill opened,” he said.

Otherwise, Rhodes referred additional questions to Stead or the Board of Supervisors.

Stead said that during negotiations, the $125,000 previous price was found to be “restricting,” and attorneys are still working on the sale.

“We’re still actually going back and forth on the purchase price,” he said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Josh Bovee

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