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New Complication In Roundabout Project?

Utica, NY (WIBX) – If the Common Council votes on the proposed Oneida Square roundabout at its meeting tonight there is enough support for the more than $2-million project to pass. At least five councilors have said they will vote in favor: Richard Lawler, Ed Bucciero, Lorraine Arcuri, Joan Scalise and Jerome McKinsey.

However, Councilman Jim Zecca says the city would be skirting it’s own charter, the Second Class Cities Law and the General City Law if it does not hold a seperate public hearing on the closure of a small portion of Plant Street. Whether or not the strip of road he refers to is part of Plant Street is being disputed by other city officials.

Street sign at the corner of Plant and Genesee Streets

Zecca says street signs clearly show that Plant Street continues to Genesee Street. The city’s official map says Plant Street ends at State Street.

Charles Brown, first assistant Corporation Counsel, said in memo dated February 16th, that the roundabout proposal neither calls for the closing of an existing street for amending the official map.

“It is important to recall here that when the statute refers to “street” it is not referring to the paved portion within the curb line, but rather to the entire land owned or dedicated for street purposes as shown on the Official Map…If you look at the Official Map, the entire roundabout as proposed will be located within the street line for Oneida Sqaure. Therefore, this is no amendment of the official map involved. There is simply a reconfiguration of the traffic patterns within the exisiting street line,” Brown’s memo reads.

Brown continues,”…This might appear to be an extension of Plant Street, however, on the official map, Plant Street ends at the State Street line. Therefore, conversion of that area from vehicular traffic to pedestrian traffic does not amount to the closure of Plant Street or State Street or Genesee Street.”

The Council Attorney, Honorable Anthony Garramone, has weighed in on the proper protocol to follow if it is determined to be a part of Plant Street. Garramano did not, however, address whether it is part of Plant Street or not.

Garramone’s letter, dated February 10th, says when altering the location of a city street or revising city maps does require public hearings, and any such plan must be referred to the Planning Board of the City of utica and the Board of Scenic and Preservation Society.

Frank Gerace, a consulting engineer, tells WIBX the city’s Official Maps determine where the street actually ends, therefore no other hearings or procedure would be required.

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