Tuesday, August 26, 2008

AMD clears another hurdle

- The Malta Town Board has set zoning in place to allow Advanced Micro Devices to build up to three nearly 1 million-square-foot computer chip plants in the Luther Forest Technology Campus.

Monday night's unanimous vote clears the way for the town Planning Board to review specific site plans for the park, if and when the expected $3.5 billion project is officially proposed.

Town and AMD officials worked for six months to write the specific zoning changes requested by the company.

A public hearing that began on Aug. 11 was concluded before the vote Monday night.

Three citizens spoke before the vote. Each was optimistic that the projected 1,400 jobs would be created by the AMD project.

But concerns about environmental hazards and increased traffic on town roads were also expressed.

Carol Henry, chairwoman of the Community Response Board, said her committee was concerned about construction trucks on local roads. and that once the plant is built, that emergency workers be properly trained and conduct drills to prepare for any problems that might arise.

Carol Marotta, a member of the Stillwater Planning Board, said she was worried about chemical emissions from the plant as well as increased traffic during and after construction.

"We should all think positively, but stay vigilant," she said.

Members of the Town Board said they are very excited about the prospect for the computer chip manufacturing industry and the opportunities it could bring.

Councilwoman Sue Nolen recalled more than six years of meetings and tours of the park.

"I'm happy today is the day [of the vote]," she said. "Our children will be able to get jobs here and I'm pleased to say yes [to the zoning]."

Councilwoman Tara Thomas also mentioned the jobs that would be created and that she has witnessed the loss of local jobs over the years.

"I've seen too many childhood friends move away to find work," she said.

Matt Jones, lead attorney for AMD, said all prospects for the project look good.

"We're in the position to advise AMD that all impediments have been resolved," he said.

Steve Groseclose of AMD said the zoning approval, "gives the foundation for us to move forward to build this facility. This will have an impact on Malta for generations to come."

In addition to the potential for jobs on the technology campus, local leaders have said thousands of other jobs will come to the area as support businesses.

On Wednesday, AMD Executive Chairman Hector Ruiz is scheduled to make his first visit to the Luther Forest Technology Campus.

The visit is in part to thank local officials for their work reviewing plans for the factory, as well as for Ruiz to see first-hand the progress that has been made in preparing the park.

The internal road system within the 1,350-acre campus in Malta and Stillwater is currently under construction, as is a Saratoga County water system that will supply the proposed plant with manufacturing water from the Hudson River.

From : http://www.dailygazette.com/