Ag company will leave Albion for new site in Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 September 2014 at 12:00 am

Helena Chemical has operated out of village since 2007

Photo by Tom Rivers – Helena Chemical plans to leave this site on Platt Street in Albion for a new complex on Allis Road in Ridgeway. The Orleans County Planning Board supported the project during its meeting today.

RIDGEWAY – Three years ago Helena Chemical made a push to build a new facility serving the agricultural community on Long Bridge Road in Albion.

Helena first set up shop in Orleans County in 2007 on Platt Street in the village of Albion. The company wanted a site out in the country, closer to its many fruit and vegetable farmers.

The company withdrew its plan for Long Bridge Road after some residents voiced concerns about the added truck traffic. The company believes it has found an ideal location for its expansion. On rural Allis Road off Route 31 in the town of Ridgeway, Helena wants to gradually build a complex of six structures.

The company will use the site as a distribution point for chemicals, seeds and other products for the agricultural industry. Helena won’t manufacture any chemicals there. It mostly sells bags of seeds and bottles of chemicals.

“What we do is distribute products,” Mitch Wilber, Helena branch manager, told the Orleans County Planning Board tonight.

The company would only have one neighbor on Allis Road, the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. Helena isn’t open on Sunday when the church has services. The church also has some Wednesday evening programs.

The company has been operating out of the densely populated village the past seven years, and there haven’t been any complaints from residents about noise or odors, said Ron Vendetti, the village’s code enforcement officer.

“We’ve never had any issues with them in the village since 2007,” Vendetti told the Planning Board.

The Allis Road property is zoned industrial and includes access to the railroad, which Helena wants to utilize for some shipments. The company plans to put in a railroad siding. It will also extend a 10-inch waterline from Route 31 to the property.

The six buildings would be about 75,000 square feet collectively. The company is planning a 23,000-square-foot processing plant building, a 20,000-square-foot agri-chemical warehouse, a 20,000-square-foot packaging seed warehouse, a 7,140-square-foot liquid fertilizer building, a 3,260-square-foot office building, and a 2,500-square-foot shop building.

The County Planning Board recommended the Town of Ridgeway Planning Board approve the site plan for the project, while urging there be an “adequate buffer” between the Helena property and the church. The town should also make sure the structures can be readily accessed by larger sized emergency vehicles, county planners said.

Helena opened the Albion site as a satellite of the Geneva office. Albion handles the company’s business west of Route 390 in Monroe County.

“The Albion site is kind of constrained,” Wilber told county planners.

Helena sees more potential in serving the farm community with the expansion, he said.

“The company has been pleased with our results in Western New York and would like to do more,” he said.