Jumpin’ Jack’s seeks land for expansion
Village willing to sell small strip of property
SCOTIA Village officials are open to the idea of selling a small strip of land to Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In for an expansion project, but first have to agree on a price.
Meanwhile, owner Mark Lansing is holding off on the project to renovate the ice cream building at the landmark Scotia diner on Schonowee Avenue until after the summer of 2012 because he said it’s too cold to start construction now.
“We just couldn’t finish it up in time to open up next year,” he said.
Lansing added he would likely start in mid-September next year. A right-of-way issue held up starting this year. Lansing’s property has to be set back at least 10 feet from a right of way along Schonowee Avenue that was at one point used for a now-abandoned trolley line. The expansion would put the property in the village-owned right of way. Lansing wasn’t aware of the problem until his land was surveyed.
Lansing’s business was under several feet of water at the height of the flooding from Tropical Storm Irene this past summer. Twenty picnic tables floated down the Mohawk River but some were recovered. In addition to the picnic tables, he also had to replace grills, ice cream machines, a cooler and a freezer.
While rebuilding, Lansing wants to construct one 413-square-foot addition onto one side of the ice cream building to house new handicap-accessible rest rooms and a 260-square-foot addition to the north side of the building to expand the customer service area.
Mayor Kris Kastberg, at a Board of Trustees meeting last week, said he is supportive of the project and selling the land to Lansing. “I don’t really see any reason not to,” he said.
Kastberg said Lansing helped out the village by selling for $1 his property adjacent to Freedom Park so Scotia could complete its $1.5 million project to shore up its riverbank from erosion damage. The project was completed in 2010. The market value was $68,000.
The village cannot legally sell the property to him for $1, according to Kastberg.
“You can’t as an elected official give away public property. It belongs to the residents of the village. To sell it for less than fair value is not a good idea,” he said.
Kastberg doesn’t think it will be assessed at an outrageous price and added that Lansing only wants the piece of land in front of his business — not the whole strip. The mayor hoped to get a surveyor, assess the property and complete the process within a couple months.
Village Attorney Lydia Marola said the village has been trying to get an easement behind Lansing’s property to access the new riverbank erosion control system it installed as part of the project. Some armoring — basically a mat of concrete cones — was installed to help protect the shoreline.
The village wants to make sure that no structures are placed on the system that would interfere with how it works.
Kastberg said if the property ever changed hands, the village would not be able to access the armoring system without a legal document.
“Mark is probably one of the best neighbors you could have but he might not always own that restaurant,” he said.