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Roberts Road Freezer eyes additional land purchase

The Roberts Road Freezer project may be expanding.

During the Chautauqua County Legislature’s Public Facilities Committee meeting this week, members agreed to modify a resolution that would allow the company to purchase another 7.5 acres of land.

In 2018, Roberts Road Freezer, LLC purchased about 10 acres of land from the county to build a 100,000 foot freezer. The company, which was at time was doing business with Fieldbrook Foods, left an option open for them to purchase another three parcels of land for $1 in the next six years. After six years, the county would be free to market that property, however Roberts Road Freezer could match if it so chose.

According to Mark Geise, deputy county executive for economic development and chief executive officer of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, Wells, which now owns Fieldbrook, is doing an internal expansion, which is why Roberts Road Freezer, LLC wants the additional land.

“There is a great deal of interest in doing more in that area. I don’t want to say too much, but there is now interest in that brownfield parcel as well,” he said.

Richard Dixon, chief financial officer with the county IDA, said the property would be difficult to market to another business due to its shape and contamination. He added that the sale helps taxpayers because the county currently pays $5,500 a year for liability insurance. “If this project does go forward and they exercise this option on this property, that (insurance) cost will go away and will also be on the tax rolls,” he said. “This is a win-win for everybody and it will help everybody out.”

Committee Chairman John Hemmer, R-Westfield, said he supports the move. “They’ve made some investments already and it would seem like if they’re willing to make more investments, they must be doing pretty good. I’m happy about that,” he said.

The Public Facilities Committee unanimously approved modifying the resolution. Later, the Administrative Services Committee also approved modifying the resolution.

The agreement still needs the full legislature’s approval, which will vote on it Jan. 27.

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