Palatine Dairy requests benefits

JOHNSTOWN —Palatine Dairy is requesting two Fulton County Industrial Development Agency benefits — property tax and sales tax exemptions — for its proposed project to occupy the former Spray Nine building on Route 30A.

The IDA board of directors discussed and took action on the more-than $6 million project Wednesday night at the Fort Johnstown Annex.

“The new [Palatine Dairy] owner wants to expand production,” said IDA Executive Director James Mraz.

Palatine Dairy, LLC will occupy the 80,000-square-foot, former Spray Nine building at 251 N. Comrie Ave. Mraz said the building is currently assessed at $770,000.

Mraz said total benefits requested exceed $100,000. An actual figure was not made public. A public hearing on Palatine Dairy’s request will be conducted at 10 a.m. Feb. 5 in the county Planning Department Conference Room at the Fort Johnstown Annex.

“I don’t think there’s anything out of the ordinary here,” said IDA attorney Kara Lais.

Mraz said Palatine Dairy LLC indicated improvements on the Spray Nine building will mostly involve heating-ventilation-air conditioning improvements.

“They’re estimating they’re going to spend over $1 million renovating it,” he said.

Palatine Dairy, LLC on Jan. 8 submitted its site plan to the Johnstown City Planning Board. The IDA board last week authorized Mraz to send a letter to that board endorsing that board as lead agency for the coordinated State Environmental Quality Review of the proposed project. It was noted the company is currently in the second phase of its environmental assessment.

Mraz recounted some history behind the project, which involves the current Palatine Dairy building in the Montgomery County village of Nelliston. He said Palatine Dairy currently occupies one-third of an old, 20,000-square-foot slaughterhouse, employing 10 and producing 45 flavors of cheddar cheese and six flavors of cheese curds.

“The balance of it is in kind of rough shape,” Mraz said of the Nelliston building.

He said Palatine Dairy wants to expand its business to start manufacturing artisanal cheeses, butter, ice cream, and yogurt: both drinkable and cup style. The company needs more space for the new process equipment, he said.

Mraz said Palatine Dairy, LLC originally purchased an eight-acre parcel adjacent to its existing Nelliston building to use to construct a 20,000-square-foot addition to create additional dairy manufacturing space. But he said the company discovered a state Department of Transportation drainage easement traversed through the parcel that would “significantly impact” the company’s ability to construct the addition.

The Montgomery County Sewer District also advised Palatine Dairy, LLC it didn’t have the wastewater capacity to handle the additional flow the form would generate from its expansion, Mraz said. Those two factors resulted in the company not expanding in Nelliston, he said.

“They have executed a contract to purchase the [Johnstown] building, contingent upon their due diligence,” Mraz said.

He said the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility told Palatine Dairy it has capacity to treat its waste stream.

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

By Josh Bovee

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