Lakefront land sale

A map of the land the Geneva City Council has agreed to sell to Bunnell Associates, owned by real estate developer Dave Bunnell.

GENEVA — A controversial deal to sell seven acres of land adjacent to Seneca Lake State Park in Waterloo will go back before City Council.

Wording in the resolution passed at Council’s Nov. 2 meeting needs refining, City Manager Matt Horn said Wednesday.

“The City of Geneva has determined that the proposed sale of a city-owned parcel at the entrance to Seneca Lake State Park in the town of Waterloo will require additional public consideration before any action is taken,” Horn said in a press release issued Wednesday morning.

Horn explained later yesterday the city Attorney’s Office reviewed the documentation and determined it should be modified to reflect the actual sale terms.

Horn said when the city solicited requests for proposals, it received one submission in August — that came from Bunnell Associates of Geneva, which is owned by real-estate developer Dave Bunnell. He plans to build 32 seasonal rentals on the site.

Bunnell offered $275,000, but asked that the city conduct any necessary environmental cleanup associated with the site — much of the park area near 5&20 includes fill material from decades ago — and bring water and sewer utilities to the site.

“I negotiated a reduced price of $200,000, with the developer responsible for all environmental and utility costs,” Horn said. “This was not formatted as a new proposal, just terms of negotiation between us and Bunnell.”

However, those terms were not attached to the resolution Council approved by a 6-3 vote, Horn noted.

“The cleanest way to resolve this is to have the parameters of the agreement attached directly to the new resolution,” he said.

Horn said that means Council will need to vote on a new resolution “with those terms specifically attached, rather than just referenced.”

A public hearing is not required, Horn continued, and the resolution could come back to Council by its next regularly scheduled meeting, which is Dec. 7.

The sale has been criticized by many. Some believe the parcel should remain undeveloped, while others say the city did not publicize it well.

The sale was approved after a land swap with the state failed to materialize. The city had wanted to swap the parcel in exchange for a piece of land adjacent to the city’s Lakefront Park.

City officials have pointed out the parcel Bunnell wants to buy is not on the lakefront, but abuts Seneca Lake State Park to the north. There is no shoreline involved with the parcel.

Three Democrats voted against the previous resolution: Angelina Marino (Ward 1), Steve Valentino (Ward 3) and John Greco (Ward 6).

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