City Officials Not OK With Proposed Hotel PILOT

ELLICOTT – City of Jamestown officials are not in favor of a potentially unprecedented PILOT agreement for the proposed new hotel at Exit 12 on Interstate 86.

On Tuesday, a public hearing on the proposed hotel project was held at the Ellicott Town Administration Building, with three people speaking during the public hearing. The new hotel project is being proposed by Boxwood Hotel LLC. The company also owns the Hampton Inn located at Exit 12 and the Best Western along West Third Street in Jamestown. A Holiday Inn Express is the proposed new hotel.

The first person to speak was Robert Kenyon, Jamestown economic development coordinator, who read a letter addressed to Michael Metzger, county Industrial Development Agency board chairman, from Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi; Greg Rabb, Jamestown City Council president; and Vince DeJoy, Jamestown development director. The letter stated city officials are not oppose to private development at the exit and they have advocated for enhanced street lighting for the area. However, city officials are against the potential “unprecedented” 15-year property tax abatement plan for the hotel development.

“We also believe that a public taxpayer subsidy will be unfair to like businesses at the interchange, as well as other lodging properties throughout the Greater Jamestown region and southern Chautauqua County, that do not currently and never have received such assistance,” the letter stated. “Furthermore, the city contends that a reasonable case has not been made by the developers that a property tax PILOT is absolutely necessary for this project to go forward. Representatives of Boxwood Hotel LLC should be asked if they will be forced to cancel the project if the proposed level of public taxpayer subsidy is not approved.”

The letter continues to say that only new or expanding industries resulting in significant job creation or increase in taxable assessed valuation; those bringing in export value that generates new money for county municipalities; and businesses offering new products or services not provided currently should be given fruitful tax abatement incentives.

Another speaker during the hearing was Cecil Miller III, Ellicott town supervisor, who spoke in favor of the project. Miller and the Ellicott Town Board have written a letter supporting an IDA PILOT program for the project. Miller said this development could lead to more development for Exit 12. Also, he said the developers for Boxwood Hotel had many spots to select from on I-86, and Ellicott officials are pleased they have selected the Route 60 exit.

“This is a prime location for retail development,” he said. “We are thrilled they chose the town of Ellicott.”

One local resident spoke during the public hearing. Gene Aversa, who lives in the area of the possible hotel development, said with an additional hotel there will be more concern for public safety. He said a traffic study should be done to see if a traffic light would need to be installed to enhance vehicle safety in the area.

A decision by the IDA Board on the PILOT agreement should be made during its next meeting, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17.