Burnet Road neighbors bear down to try and save homes

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CLAY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A dead-end road in the Town of Clay is in the middle of a controversy that has more and more people asking questions. 

Burnet Road has more than 30 houses, some with families who have lived there for more than 30 years. In the last 12 months, Maureen Matthews says she and others on the road have been getting mail that didn’t seem right. 

“We thought it was a scam,” she said. “You get something in the mail, and it says an entity wants to purchase your property.”

The neighboring land from this dead-end road is desirable for development.

Diagrams from that neighboring property, called White Pine Commerce Park, include a map showing the park stretching East along Route 31 from Caughdenoy Road all the way to the Cicero Town Line. The county controls the nearly 1,000 acres there.

In the middle? Burnet Road.

Onondaga County has long wanted to try and make something of the land. Now, it feels like it is ready to meet the opportunity. After missing out on a similar project last year, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon believes a huge opportunity is on the horizon with a semi-conductor company.

“We do believe there will be an opportunity to land it. If we do and we need more land we do need to have conversations with the [home] owners,” McMahon said. “This is a fluid position and a fluid process. The fact that we are talking about a top 10 semiconductor company in the world coming here is a good problem to have.

The county’s Industrial Development Agency has been approaching many of the homeowners on Burnet Road about selling their properties or granting purchase options to the county.

That is where the problem lies for Maureen Matthews and her neighbors.

Many of them have been approached by the county to sell their properties. McMahon said Monday that not all of the houses on Burnet may be needed to accommodate a potential suitor, but that is subject to change.

Maureen made it clear she isn’t planning on going anywhere. She says she is not only fearful of the environmental impacts a semiconductor company could bring, but she is concerned the neighborhood she has called home for 30 years could be wiped out in a matter of months. 

“It is very upsetting,” she said. “You don’t sleep. Your stomach gets sick.”

Michelle Nuzzo also lives along Burnet Road and has alleged bullying on the part of the representatives who have come to her door with offers to buy her home. 

“We are tired of the lies when we do hear anything, the lack of transparency, the harassment, and the attempts to instill fear in us to get us to sell our homes with their lowball offers,” she said.

Nuzzo has created a Facebook group, Clay Homes Preservation Coalition, to share information about the county’s plans. A petition on the website protesting the county’s plans has more than 300 signatures.

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