Thursday, 09 May 2013 14:28

Few Malta Residents Attend Viewing of the GlobalFoundries Balloons

By Chelsea DiSchiano | News

MALTA — Only three Malta residents showed up to the public viewing of four balloons hovering over the GlobalFoundries Fab 8.2 grounds last Saturday, May 4. 

Four red balloons marked the corners of the potential Fab 8.2 campus, each balloon representing the tallest heights of the proposed building. The Town of Malta and GlobalFoundries organized a public tour of the grounds from different vantage points throughout town to allow residents some perspective on the visibility impact of the building. 

Though several representatives from the Town of Malta, Tom Jones, GlobalFoundries’ attorney, and some reporters were in attendance, only three town residents arrived to take part in the tour. 

“It was very, very light when we left the parking lot,” said Tony Tozzi, building and planning director for Malta. “We did run into another two residents later and there was some confusion—they showed up at Global’s main campus and I think there was some confusion over another event opening of the ball fields so they may have been gathering at the main entrance instead of Town Hall.”

Tozzi said the group met at the lakehouse of two residents who live on Snake Hill Road, which had “the most visible location where you could see the balloons,” according to Tozzi. 

Asked about the residents’ reactions to the view of the balloons, Tozzi said they seemed to be more concerned about the future smokestacks’ impact on the environment than the visibility of it.

“Their concern seemed to be more about air emissions than visible aid,” Tozzi said. “But they did feel if the building were painted to camouflage a little bit so it wasn’t such a bright white—they’d like a more earthy tone so it won’t show the building as much as the bright white would, so it sounded to me like that was what they suggested as the best remedy [for the visibility].”

Tozzi did add that he has been getting calls and emails with comments from residents on the visibility, giving an example of an email he received from a boater who wanted to know why the balloons were put up when boating season wasn’t in full swing.

“The bottom line is there’s never an appropriate time to do this,” Tozzi said. “If it was fall, we’d get complaints about there being too much foliage. If we do it now, the boaters aren’t out there, so it is what it is—they’ve done the assessment in the SSEIS, so I think there is enough information for the Town Board to be able to assess the impact.”

Tozzi concluded that they are now closing out the comment period over what GlobalFoundries has submitted for the environmental review of the project and that the town board should be getting a final document from the company within the next two weeks. 

“Over the next week or two they should be getting a final document from GlobalFoundries, or their version of it—the actual final document is what the town board deems it to be,” Tozzi explained. “They will hand it to the town board who will have to make a decision on the mitigation and impact magnitude of the project.” 

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