ASHVILLE - The first step to having a new pet food factory in the area has been completed.
On Wednesday, the town of Harmony approved a special-use permit which would allow Saturn Petcare Inc. to establish a pet food and related products factory at and around 5151 Fairbank Road in Ashville. No additional restrictions were placed upon the use permit by the town.
According to Shelly Johnson, Harmony town clerk, obtaining a special-use permit is just the first step for Saturn Petcare Inc. before a new pet food factory can be realized.
"Saturn Petcare doesn't even own the location yet," said Johnson. "That's still in process, and they couldn't even give us a definite date when that was going to be done. They're still in the process of buying the building. They just wanted to know from the town if we were going to impose any additional limitations on them as a business. However, since it's an allowable use in our industrial area, we did not put any additional restrictions on them. Now all they need to do is buy the property."
Saturn Petcare is a German-based company. No employees were present for Wednesday night's decision. Rather, Andrew Goodell, who is also a state assemblyman, represented the company during the meeting Wednesday. He is assisting the company with local legal issues, as well.
"I've helped (Saturn Petcare Inc.) get in contact with the Chautauqua Lake Sewer District, so if they go forward with the project, they will meet all requirements," said Goodell. "I've been helping them work with the county Health Department, which has been extraordinarily helpful in getting us information about the water supply at the location. The company is doing a due-diligence evaluation, so I've helped them file several environmental health and property condition reports. I've also helped them to apply for a special-use permit."
According to Goodell, the local officials who have been involved with the potential purchase of the property at 5151 Fairbank Road have gone above and beyond the call with regard to helpfulness.
"Everyone has been great, and that includes Bill Daly, Rich Dixon and the CCIDA, who have been working closely with the company to explore economic development incentives that are available on the local and state levels," said Goodell. "Our county executive, Greg Edwards, has been personally involved and helpful. The head of the county Planning Department responded to a zoning referral request very efficiently, and that has made things easier. Chris Humphrey and Randy Peterson at the South and Center Sewer District have both played critical roles, as have Bill Lawson and the Town of Harmony Board. Everywhere we've turned for help or assistance, the local officials have been extraordinarily helpful and cooperative. I could not be more proud of our local officials and residents."
However, according to Johnson, the company is also looking at another location for their pet food factory, and it appears that the location is out of state.
"We're not sure what (other) state they're looking at, but what will happen is that they will take the package that the IDA here in the town is offering them, and compare it to whatever other site they're looking at before they make their decision," said Johnson.