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The last of the mines were closed in the s. In , the park was expanded after a acre 2. Although Sterling Forest LLC developers had planned to construct luxury homes and an hole golf course on the tract, local residents and concerned environmentalists rallied and were able to procure the tract for the state park.
The park's forest habitat is important for the survival of several species, including timber rattlesnakes ,  black bear , fox , various raptors and songbirds , and many rare invertebrates and plants. Hunting, fishing, ice fishing, hiking and snowshoeing opportunities are available. The park conserves a part of the Northeastern coastal forests ecoregion. The park is administered by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. The park includes the Frank R. Lautenberg Visitor Center, which offers exhibits about the local environment and overlooks Sterling Lake.
A New York State hunting license and a Sterling Forest State Park hunting permit are required to hunt in the park, which is only permitted during deer and turkey season. Some areas are closed to hunting. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the state park in Michigan, see Sterling State Park. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. March Learn how and when to remove this template message. Retrieved March 31, Environmental Conservation and Recreation, Table O-9". Rockefeller Institute of Government. This analysis should compare the tax impact of the permitted development with the requested amended development, with and without age restricted housing.
Age restricted housing is over built and is not selling. We are also concerned about the environmental impacts of development within the Mountain Lake and Tuxedo Lake water sheds and our consultant gave a number of presentations to the board and wrote them two long letters detailing our concerns about stormwater calculations, potential groundwater pollution and impacts to wildlife habitat. We are urging a carefully engineered plan for storm water managementwithin the Tuxedo Lake water shed and the Village is demanding that the present quantity and quality of run off from the development to Tuxedo lake not be adversely affected even by major storms.
This is important because the Village has just completed long and difficult negotiations with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation with respect to our dam and its ability to withstand severe storms without cresting waters rising above the top of the dam.
Changes to its watershed could adversely affect the hydrology of the lake. The Town Board scheduled a public hearing on the proposed amendment for October There was a very big turn-out with standing room only and many people being turned away. We estimate between and people attended and many spoke, all opposing the amendment and urging the Town Board to negotiate a better deal for the Town.
Supervisor Dolan opened the Public Hearing by reading the official procedures and rules of conduct for Public Hearings. Speakers were asked to confine their comments to the following subject matter:. Comments from residents of Tuxedo were heard first. It was announced that the hearing would be stopped no later than 10 pm, and would be continued at a later date if there were still speakers to be heard.
Evelyn David spoke first and stated that her comments were in response to the recently received Target Tuxedo letter. She went on to state that that at a time when the world around us seems to be strengthening laws, Tuxedo is loosening theirs. In her view, the Town should be enactting stricter zoning laws rather than loser ones that make it easier for the developer to build.
Dan Gladding — Click Here to read Mr. Sue Scher — Click Here to read Mrs. Kristia Cavere began her remarks by stating that she is strongly opposed to Tuxedo Reserve. She has two main concerns. First is the proposed Smart Code. Her second concern is downtown Tuxedo. She noted that the original plan had been focused on revitalizing our existing downtown while the proposed plan will add a second downtown area between Tuxedo and Sloatsburg.
Finally, expressed concern with the lack of environmental impact studies from the proposal and stated that these must occur as well as further fiscal analysis before anything can be approved.
She concluded by noting that many people have chosen to live in Tuxedo because it is a green oasis located between Bergin County and Northern Orange County, both of which are highly developed. She would like to see it remain green. The Supervisor thanked Mr. Gerling for his part of those hours. Gerling then stated that he had been reviewing the DSEIS and had found the document riddled with errors, both in the form of mathematical errors as well as omitted information.
Additionally, the document states that there is no anticipated negative impact on existing retailers in Tuxedo, however that assessment is for Phases 1 and 2 of the project.
There is no mention of the impact of Phase 3. Gerling feels that if competitive retail is introduced, it might well have an impact on our existing retailers. His recommends that the Town Board meet with Budget Officer Pat Sullivan in addition to their consultants in order to verify the numbers before moving forward. JoAnn Hanson — Link to her remarks. Hays, a Trustee of the Village of Tuxedo Park and its Deputy Mayor, began his remarks by commenting that he was not speaking on behalf of the Village, but rather as a town resident.
He went on to say that development of this property will move forward one way or another and that it was not his intention to oppose the development Wiith that said, he went on to outline some of his concerns with the project as proposed.
This review should include a fiscal impact study of the proposed changes specifically in terms of the housing mixes. Because age-restricted housing is not selling at this time, Mr. Hays feels that the analysis should be done both with and without age-restricted housing.
Hays also expressed concern about the intentions of property owners. This milestone was critical to the project in order for it to meet its first bulk land sale scheduled for the second quarter of Hays feels it is important that the Board knows whether or not the land owners intend to engage in substantial infrastructure construction such as building a sewage treatment plant or if they intend to engage in minimal construction and sell all or part of the land.
Hanson, a member of the Town Planningf Board, commented that she had reviewed the DSEIS, and wanted to know what the development will cost the current taxpayers. Will the taxpayers bear the responsibility of paying for this? Hanson continued on to report that she has spoken to Tax Assessor Greg Stevens and was dismayed to discover that he had not been asked to review the documents. Hanson concluded by stating that that the town is looking at some serious expenses and she suggested that they had better make sure that these expenses are funded by the Developer..
Robert McQuilkin , a Village resident and member of the Village Planning Board, stated that he is concerned about the amount of proposed retail space in the project. Because the previous Town Board made it a cornerstone of the special permit to restrict commercial space, Mr. McQuilkin is alarmed by the newly proposed amount. Focus must be placed on the revitalization of Route He also raised the question of whether there is money in the budget to cover the increased wear and tear on the roads in Tuxedo Reserve.
He noted that the proposed roads are very steep and have many switchbacks as well as lots of steep retaining walls and thus will be expensive to maintain. Mary Graetzer - Click Here to read Mrs. She stated that she had reviewed the Special Permit and Findings Statement while preparing her remarks and that in her view, three are four areas of concern. At this time, Mrs. Gary Pompan — Link to his remarks. Kathy Norris commented that residents have been asking the same questions over and over again for years and that no one is answering them.
It is inherent in human nature and written in the Constitution of the United States that a property owner tbe able to do with their own property what he or she wishes. Some of her questions were:. Charlie Hunt , a Clinton Woods resident whose background is in strategic planning and outcomes research, expressed his concern that there is no scalable monitoring.
He went on to suggest that Trigger points should be introduced so that if things are not moving along successfully with phase, then phase two and phase three are put on hold. He feels there are optimistic residency figures in terms of school-age children but if that balance changes because of the economics, he would like to see a trigger than let the development go no further. Ken Magar introduced himself as the previous Supervisor of the Town. As such, he commented that he had spent almost 10 years reviewing this project before voting in the Special Permit in He feels minor changes are inevitable.
It is his personal opinion that without development, this Town and the school system will die. The Town needs development but it is their responsiblity to make sure that this development is reasonable. If you want changes, shelf them. Get the prpject started! Mary Yrizarry urged the Board to listen carefully to the statements made by non-residents who are living with real development and not dismiss them just because they are not from the Town of Tuxedo.
The previous Town Board struggled with these issues over many years. They listened to a plethora of views and did their best to accommodate as many of them as reasonably feasible. Even then, the final document was not perfect and since that time more information has come to light both from the developer and outside observers. Yrizarry suggested the Board take it with a very large grain of salt. Michele Lindsay inquired as to how the Town plans to control the quality of the building and landscaping of the project.
She mentioned that a year and a half ago, she had appeared before the Town Board to speak about Sterling Mine Estates. Her concern at that time was that the project had been allowed to move forward and was then abandoned and left half finished, creating not only an eyesore, but a safety hazard.
She also expressed concern about the fact that the water facilities in the project are to be maintained by the Homeowners Association. She further commented that she had heard at a Planning Board meeting that if the Homeowners feel they can no longer maintain these facilities, then the Town woill have to take them over.
Finally, she spoke about the proposed land swap noting that the developer is proposing to give land zoned for light industry along Long Meadow Road to PIPC in return for land along South Gate Road.
Does it make sense for the Town to give up the possibility of developing businesses along Long Meadow Road in the future when such businesses would be beneficial to the Town in terms of tax revenue? He noted that the revenue numbers were based on figures, which were valid 5 years ago. The claim that the addition of units to a Town of our size would be tax positive or even tax neutral is suspect.
While ideally these funds would come from business taxes, our Town is geographically unable to handle more than the railroad, the Super Highway, the Highway and the River in our narrow valley. Business will move South. Pendl noted that the developer has changed the housing mix to add substantially more housing for families with children. Susan Goodfellow - Click Here to read Mrs. Peter Regna - Click Here to read Mr.
He suggested that everyone give it some time because perhaps the land here could become very valuable in the future in terms of a carbon offset credit. Bill Sloe inquired as to the history of the developer? What have they done? Thomas Wilson stated that after 13, hours of study, the project is already tax negative. If the Town is being asked to increase the commercial space from to George Williams , a resident of Tuxedo Park who works for a real estate firm in New York City, noted that Phase 1 consists of 75 units however the town is not requiring that the sewer treatment plant be constructed until 80 units are built.
He submitted several pictures of the rough grade of the roads, which are situated on the 40 acres of Tuxedo Reserve that lie in Sloatsburg as well as pictures of a well. Wells in Rockland County are regulated by the Board of Health and that agency has said that this looked like Tuxedo Reserve would take the water from this well and transfer it over the county line to their development.
They bargained them down to units. They were told the development would yield 20 schoolchildren. So now these property owners are paying less taxes because their homes are worth less. All this has shifted the burden onto all the other taxpayers in Town. George commented that the developer is here for only one reason … economics.
As a result they are asking for more multifamily units and more commercial space. George commented that he hoped the Board would listen to all of the speakers present and that the residents would continue to keep up their vigilence.
He noted that he will give water testimony later in the process and would be making his remarks on natural resources. Welch disagrees with the DSEIS where it says that the project would have a non-significant effect on natural resources.
The DEC listed wetlands on the site are valuable wildlife habitats. Welch mentioned two species, the red shoulder hawks and copperhead snakes. A field worker doing salamander studies observed a den of 19 copperheads on the site, in an area located in Phase 1 of the project. Welch concluded that the property would be much better preserved as a key link between Sterling Forest, the Ramapo River Watershed and Harriman Park.
One of their main concerns is the adverse impact that the project will have on the health of the Ramapo River watershed, which is a sole source aquifer with headwaters in New York. It provides drinking water for millions of New Jersey residents. The quality of the water is already severely stressed from the existing level of development. It makes little sense that this fragile watershed should be given over to massive development.
The project undermines all the efforts to safeguard the water supply made by the citizens of New Jersey for years. Janet Burnet lives in Suffern, but commented that she is a stakeholder in the process because she lives in the Ramapo River Watershed. What is the truth? Is there so little water that United Water needs to build a desalination plant on the banks of the Hudson River or is there so much water that they have no hesitancy in promising that they can supply the Tuxedo Reserve Development.
She recommended that the Board initiate discussions with officials from Rockland and New Jersey as well as Orange County water officials. She hopes that the Town of Tuxedo can be counted on to protect our regional water supply. Cynthia Sirocco asked for a moment of silence, which she said was not for animals or birds or insects but for human beings because we are destroying our water and air quality.
The Tuxedo Reserve development will have an impact not just on Tuxedo, but it will also have have a global impact on water and air quality. Gross pointed out that the table only considers the impact on the school budget and does not consider the fiscal impacts to the Town at all.
The fiscal impact on the Town, which is already projected to be negative for the General Fund and Fire District, would become negative in all taxing jurisdictions.
This is particularly disturbing since in all public representations to date, it would appear that the applicant was respecting the sensitive nature of the lake, avoiding encroaching no further than feet from the edge of the wetland surrounding the lake. There is no other mention of a boathouse in the DSEIS, except briefly in an appendix to the Technical Memorandum where it appears as an item in a long list of recreational areas in the project.
These activities could expose Mountain Lake to intensive, damaging recreational use over the long term. In the short term, the proposed activities represent a significant encroachment on a NYSDEC regulated wetland, which has not been disclosed to the Town Board.
Improvements to provide access to Mountain Lake have not been shown on any map or plan. This is an area of concern that requires much more disclosure and analysis. This property is presently part of the Sterling Forest un-fragmented forest. Obviously, the approved plan would already have an impact in reducing this un-fragmented forest, but the DSEIS disclosed that the Mountain Lake area of the development will cause the loss of an additional 94 acres of un-fragmented forest, leaving acres intact.
This means that acres of un-fragmented forest would remain under the current Special Permit and that nearly one-third of that — 94 acres — would be lost under the proposed amendments. This is a significant impact, which could be avoided if there were no development in the Mountain Lake area.
Gross had many more points he wanted to make and he was told he would be able to speak again at the continued hearing. Click Here to read this statement. Patsy Wooters —Click Here to read Mrs. He asked to look at the site and was sent to the developers who denied his request.
Chief Perry requested the establishment of a local oversight person so that if something is found, it can be identified. He recommends that residents petition to have a referendum put on the ballot asking residents whether or not they want to see Tuxedo Reserve built. In his view, the development should never be built.. He said a letter had been sent to the Town Board in lateJune ,which made it clear that PIPC would not undertake any review of this matter while the applicant was still seeking various approvals for the project.
Yet the applicant has clearly sought approval for development on land currently owned by the PIPC. The PIPC would like to make it clear that the land swap is not on the table at the moment. McGowan said that a number of people had addressed the deficiencies of the DSEIS and he would like to add that there were unsupportable statements made in the document.
There are some good parts, in particular a discussion of fragmentation where the applicant lays out the significance of the area and then lists the consequences of fragmentation only to sweep aside the project and say that there would be no impact on fragmentation.
McGowan feels that it would be hard to find an impartial expert to read the document and come to the same conclusion. When reviewing an EIS, he likes to look at the species list as he finds it a window into how thorough the review has been. He found some interesting omissions here…. Those species tend to cohabitate with timber rattlesnakes, which makes him wonder if they did sufficient work for timber rattlesnakes. There are species listed as being on the site, which are also unusual.
Either these are misidentifications or very exciting finds. One is the norther leopard frog, very common up north but this would be the southernmost occurrence. MdGowan has been looking for for 20 years. These are not known in New York State. McGowan will pass this information along to the State Mammalogist. McGowan was the last speaker. Dolan requested all speakers submit their comments in writing as quickly as possible. After the hearing is closed, the Town Board will go to work on the project conducting a number of workshops with the Town Attorney, the Town Planner and the Town Engineer as well as the applicant.
These workshops will be open to the public although there may well not be any public comment period. WHEREAS, an Act of Congress recognizes the national significance of the Highlands region to the United States and the Highlands Conservation Act of encourages a regional approach and cooperation to protect priority conservation lands by the four states in the Highlands region; and.
WHEREAS, the Ramapo River Watershed upstream in New York State is under threat of development from large-scale housing projects including the Tuxedo Reserve development which proposes to build 1, units and 33, square feet of commercial space across 2, acres of forested steep slopes; and. WHEREAS, the construction of Tuxedo Reserve will disturb steep slopes, causing soil erosion to silt up streams and rivers; uncover bedrock to expose cracks, allowing non-point source pollution to migrate directly into the aquifer; and add impervious surfaces, preventing rainwater absorption into the ground and increasing run-off and area flooding; and.
Scores pack hearing to question Tuxedo Reserve report. Attached is a two page summary of the issues facing our community as a result of new plans proposed by Tuxedo Reserve. It is a factual and fair document based on a report prepared by Mr. Steve Gross, Municipal Impact Analyst.
Gross was hired by the Target Tuxedo Group, an organization based in Tuxedo that has expressed reservations about this large development for many years. His findings should instill concern in all residents, since each of us will be affected in some way by the development plans and alterations proposed by Tuxedo Reserve. Above is a map that shows clearly where this development will be situated. No matter how you feel about the contents of the accompanying Summary — it is meant to give each of us, at the very least, a clear idea of the issues involved.
The most important thing is to inform yourself before the hearings on October 26th. The entire plan and impact statement is available at our Town Library. It is of paramount importance that we all attend the Public Hearing on October 26th, currently scheduled for 7: Sincerely yours, Target Tuxedo Group. Public Hearing October 26, 7: The Tuxedo Reserve Project, which received approval for 1, housing units in , is back before the Town Board, seeking amendments to the original plan.
Supporters of the project hope for positive tax revenue from high quality housing and commercial development, additional school children to keep Baker High School viable and a fix for the ailing Tuxedo sewage treatment plant. The question before the Town Board is whether the proposed changes are in the long run, better for the residents of our town than the previous plan..
The Town Board can and should negotiate with Tuxedo Reserve to achieve the best plan for present and future residents. What changes are being proposed?
The former Town Board spent years negotiating the Special Permit, awarded in Steep slopes, rock outcrops, and wetlands are obstacles to some proposed road alignments and development areas. Therefore, the applicant has proposed changes that would remove the development from these difficult areas, and place it in other areas some of which were previously considered undevelopable near Mountain Lake and within the Tuxedo Lake watershed. These changes the former Town Board worked to avoid.
Some of these changes may be beneficial for the town, others may not. Either way your town board is being pressed to accept all of the proposed changes now.
Are the tax benefits certain? The applicant has represented that the project will be tax-positive -- generating more in taxes than it demands in services — despite the fact that this is rarely the case for residential subdivisions. However, this tax benefit is completely dependent on some hard-to-believe assumptions:.
It is important, therefore, that the Town Board do a thorough and independent fiscal analysis of the proposed amendment, as recommended by the Town Planning Board. This analysis should include a comparison of the fiscal impact of the plan with that of the plan with and without age restricted housing.. The proposed development is huge and there are many uncertainties, some of which will not be known until construction is underway.
If things go poorly for the developer they can seek another amendment to the Special Permit, but what if things go poorly for the Town? The Special Permit specifies the number of units allowed, it does not specify unit prices. The developer has the option of building cheaper units, which would adversely impact projected tax revenues. No less than 50 retaining walls, measuring as high as 30 feet , and as much as a half mile long, and some 25 rock cuts are proposed. Most of the retaining walls and rock cuts are associated with road construction, and these roads will eventually be turned over to the Town to maintain.
Maintaining simple roads is expensive enough. How much will it cost to maintain roadways supported by retaining walls as high as 30 feet? Which plan will be more or less expensive for the town to maintain? New impacts near Mountain Lake The new plan proposes a new residential neighborhood that would be situated adjacent to Mountain Lake. In the original plan, this area remained as open space, maintaining a very important wildlife connection between Mountain Lake and a large regulated wetland.
A major bedrock fracture also underlies this area. Contaminants could enter the fracture from the proposed new neighborhood, and contaminate both groundwater resources and the Ramapo River. The Town Board should insure that development in this sensitive area does not have negative impacts. What is the rush? Regardless of whether Related builds the development, which is unlikely, or someone else does, it will be built.
Related,does not plan to develop this project until at the earliest, if at all. Construction will be in accordance with agreements between the developer and the Town Board that should be carefully negotiated and there is plenty of time for such negotiations. They need to hear from the public. Let your opinion be heard. Reserve development hearing scheduled. On September 14, the Town Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the project as complete.
A Public Hearing has been set for October 26 at 7: Steve Gross of Hudson Valley Environmental Consulting representing the citizens action group Target Tuxedo, has submitted several letters to the Town Board in which he raises a number of key issues with the SEIS as well as the project in general. Please take a moment and review these letters. As requested, I am submitting my comments in writing. My comments regarding completeness are therefore made in this context, and anything I include in this letter is something that I personally believe should be addressed before the SEIS is accepted as complete.
In assessing whether these are indeed completeness issues, I suggest the Town Board, in part, apply a standard of whether it is an issue that should be subjected to the greatest possible public review, for that is the true difference in requiring that it be addressed in the SEIS versus the FSEIS. I was very glad to see a cuts and fills analysis in the SEIS. I am, however, discouraged by the lack of detail.
Suddenly, the analysis shows never before seen, nor discussed, retaining walls 50 in total and rock cuts 25 in total. There is nothing in the SEIS describing anything at all about these walls and cuts. How tall are the walls? What material are they made of? Are they gabion walls consisting of broken rock in metal mesh boxes, or perhaps something more aesthetically acceptable? Will they be vertical, sloping, or stepped? Once the roads are turned over to the Town, who will be responsible for maintaining them?
Similarly, more information is needed for the rock cuts. How tall are the rock cuts? What is the angle of repose? How much blasting will be required? Will blasting occur near sensitive receptors?
The amount of impervious surfaces is underestimated by the fact that the retaining walls noted above have not been included. Removing soil cover and exposing rock surfaces, especially in large areas of rock cut, will also increase the amount of impervious surfaces. The SEIS calculates that there will be acres of impervious surfaces resulting from the development as would occur under the proposed amendment, and that this represents an increase of 2 acres over the acres that would occur under the project as previously approved.
However, the last calculation of impervious surfaces reported to the Lead Agency was acres in the FEIS for the previously approved project. The acres represents an increase of 12 acres 8. The significance of this difference is that the currently approved stormwater management plan is based on the acres, and the stormwater management plan for the acres in the proposed amended plan will need to accommodate a significantly increased amount of stormwater runoff than had been previously engineered.
In addition, these calculated amounts will increase even further once the amount of impervious surface represented by the retaining walls and new exposed rock surfaces is added. A bedrock fracture acts very much like a pipe. It is a perfect conduit, transporting water quickly over a distance. It is therefore possible for contaminants to enter the fracture from the proposed new neighborhood, and contaminate both groundwater resources and the Ramapo River.
The lack of any true analysis of this potential impact therefore renders the SEIS incomplete. In truth, where it runs under dry land, this fracture would be close to the surface, given the shallow depth of soil in that area. Therefore, it is especially susceptible to being a point of entry for any contaminants that would be produced from road runoff, pesticide usage, etc.
Excavation activities could potentially expose this fracture even more. Whether the water table is near the surface is nearly irrelevant, as long as the opening to the fracture trace itself, much like the open end of a pipe, is located at or just below the surface. Market values were derived from a Tuxedo Reserve market study conducted in July Even for a peak market, the values projected for the proposed housing seem very optimistic.
The proposed estate houses could possibly be compared to a 3, square foot home that sold within Tuxedo Park within the last year. That home sits on 1. It is also noteworthy that this is the only home that has recently sold within Tuxedo Park, which likely signals that there is a soft demand for homes in the upper price range within Tuxedo.
This can only drive prices even lower. The fiscal impact analysis in the SEIS may therefore be presenting a positive result that does not actually exist. I also maintain that no fiscal impact analysis for the Tuxedo Reserve project can be considered complete unless it considers the strong possibility that the age restrictions may need to lifted in order to fully market all 1, proposed units.
Such a scenario would completely change the outcome of the fiscal impact analysis. The applicant should also be required to submit a current market analysis for age-restricted housing. I believe it is imperitive to require a revised fiscal impact analysis before the SEIS is accepted as complete.
This is a critical issue which should be subjected to full public review and comment, and should therefore not be left to be corrected in the FSEIS. I believe there are two completeness issues regarding wildlife habitat. The first specifically regards the Mountain Lake neighborhood. Building in this area will have a severe impact on this corridor.
Such an implication, however, ignores the very steep ridge line that passes through this open space, which renders it useless as a corridor for amphibian passage between Mountain Lake and the NYSDEC wetland. It is my opinion that the SEIS is therefore incomplete in its treatment of this issue. The SEIS should provide a clear analysis of this impact, and include consideration of not putting any housing units within the area most utilized by wildlife.
The potential impact on amphibians should be particularly highlighted. The provision of tunnels under the roadways for wildlife passage may provide some mitigation, but will not completely compensate for this impact. The second completeness issue has to do with the revelation that a timber rattlesnake was sighted on the property.
It is clear that this statement needs to be changed, and that change should be accommpanied by further analysis to resolve this obvious discrepancy. It is my professional belief that all the items discussed above are completeness issues that need to be addressed before the SEIS is accepted as complete and made available for public review.
The changes proposed in the amendment are extensive and far-reaching, and should rightly be exposed to the greatest possible level of public input and review. Should you wish to contact me regarding anything contained in this letter, please do not hesitate to call me at Respectfully submitted, Stephen M.
Some issues are listed because the proposed changes in the project pose potentially new or increased impacts. Other issues are listed because it is our belief that these issues were not adequately addressed in the original EIS, and they are particularly significant in reagrd to the proposed amendment. At the June 1 workshop meeting, Mr. In the opinion of Target Tuxedo, this is an important point. The applicant is once again back before the Town Board, asking approval for what is notably their third amendment to the previously approved plan.
The given reason for these amendments is that further inspection of the property revealed conditions, such as vernal pools, wetlands, and steep slopes, that were either previously unknown or more severe than expected. This in large part stems from the lack of a cuts and fills analysis in the DEIS. There is no denying that the Tuxedo Reserve property is rugged, containing many areas of severely limiting steep slopes and rock outcrop. For a development in a rugged area like this, a basic, fundamental analysis should always include a calculation of the area of disturbance.
This calculation, in turn, is necessarily dependent on a cut and fill analysis. Obviously, the outer extent of cuts and fills distant from a roadway or building construction becomes the outer perimeter of the area of disturbance. The extent of vegetation removal can not be determined without it.
The extent of wetland impact can not be determined without it. The impact upon wildlife habitats can not be determined without it.
Stormwater calculations can not be determined without it, as the conversion of forested land to cleared land changes the coefficient of runoff used to calculate increases in the rate and volume of stormwater runoff.
The impact on steep slopes can not be determined without it. The extent of blasting can not be determined without it. The list goes on. While this may be technically possible, it is unlikely. In at least one location, your own Town Engineer identified a stretch of roadway that would require a foot high retaining wall to accomplish this feat of engineering.
Absent a retaining wall, a 3 on 1 fill slope would extend at least 90 feet from the edge of the roadway. It is notable that the wetland impact map provided by the applicant contradicts the area of disturbance map, indicating fills within the wetland buffer extending approximately feet from the roadway.
With the retaining wall, the Town Board could be accepting a Town road that could carry a very high cost of maintenance and a potentially high liability. Either way, this is information that has yet to be formally presented to the Town Board as lead agency. With this SEIS, the Town Board has both an opportunity and a responsibility to take a hard look, as required by SEQRA, by requiring that a full cuts and fills analysis be required for the entire property.
This is not exactly true. There is another all-too-plausible scenario in which the fiscal impact could turn negative. From the start, the applicant has represented to the Town that this project would have positive benefits for the Town. Chief among them was that it would be a positive tax ratable. A significant factor in making this representation is that a very large portion of the project would be age-restricted.
Were this not true, and this portion of the project became available without restriction to all families, the demand on educational services would be significantly higher, and the project would become tax-negative, creating an additional tax burden on existing residents as a result. This article documents that the regional demand for age-restricted housing has evaporated, and more importantly, that Planning Board after Planning Board, in Town after Town, has been forced to reluctantly agree to lift the age restrictions on a long list of approved age-restricted developments.
It seems nearly inevitable that such a fate awaits Tuxedo Reserve as well, yet the applicant has not retreated an inch from representing the project as being largely age-restricted and tax-positive, even to the point of stating that the only scenario in which the fiscal impact would be negative would be if a new high school would need to be built.
Such a statement appears completely oblivious to the regional evaporation of demand for age-restricted housing, and the documented trend of approved projects having their restrictions on age lifted.
I therefore strongly recommend that the Planning Board require the applicant to submit a new, current market study for the type of housing that they are proposing, and that the applicant also be required to provide an alternative fiscal impact analysis that examines impacts under a scenario in which all age restrictions are lifted.
The results of fiscal analyses can be manipulated to come out positive by either reducing the projected costs, or by inflating the revenue side. In this case, it appears that the revenue side of the equation has been inflated by utilizing extremely optimistic sale prices for the proposed housing units. The projected sale prices are used in the fiscal analysis to calculate the assessed values of the units for taxing purposes.
I believe a critical eye should be used in determining whether it is indeed valid to assume that the projected sales prices are realistic, and can be used to determine a real value, that in turn can be used to determine an assessed value for conducting a legitimate fiscal impact analysis.
Rather than being on a tight lot surrounded by other homes, it sits on 3 acres fronting on Tuxedo Lake, with incredible views over the lake. It is hard to believe 41 buyers would find the proposed estate houses a good value by comparison. The proposed estate houses could possibly be more directly compared to a 3, square foot home which sold within Tuxedo Park. These homes would sit on very small lots, measuring only 0. Is it truly reasonable to expect that there will be willing buyers who would pay this sum for a 3-bedroom home on a tiny 0.
Any new fiscal impact analysis should require a new market study to consider current economic conditions, and should be based on more realistic values for the proposed homes. It is very possible, if not likely, that the fiscal impact from this project would be negative if more conservative, realistic values are used in the analysis.
It is improper for these items to be part of the fiscal impact analysis. The analysis should be limited to the positive and negative impacts of the proposed action by itself. After that is determined, then potential mitigative measures, such as the donation of land and services, can be evaluated as an offset to the anticipated impacts.
But a donation is just that — a donation, and assigning a dollar value within the fiscal impact assessment is inappropriate. Yet, it is notable that some of the scenarios in the fiscal impact analysis are only tax positive once a positive credit for the land and grading is included.
There is no question that the area lying in a direct line between Mountain Lake and the large New York State wetland is an important wildlife corridor. The revelation that a timber rattlesnake was sighted on the property is an indication that the timber rattlesnake study conducted by the applicant may have been inadequate.
It has come to our attention that the credentials of the lead investigator who conducted the study may be questionable as they regard rattlesnake investigations. Given the recent revelation that a timber rattlesnake was indeed sighted on the property by others working for Tuxedo Reserve, we believe it is imperative to revisit this issue, perhaps this time using an expert chosen by and answerable to the Town directly. The proposed Mountain Lake neighborhood would also be situated on top of a major bedrock fracture that runs along the axis defined by Mountain Lake and the NYSDEC wetland see attached map.
This fracture represents an interface between groundwater and surface water resources, as is evidenced by the presence of both Mountain Lake and the NYSDEC wetland along its axis. Where it runs under dry land, this fracture would be close to the surface, given the shallow depth of soil in that area. The SEIS should therefore examine the potential impact of placing the Mountain Lake neighborhood and associated road system over this fracture.
The applicant has represented that the amount of open space will increase under the new amendment. This seems counterintuitive, given how areas previously proposed as open space would now be developed.
Is this because the actual amount of land could increase with the PIPC land swap? Does this statement perhaps take into account setting aside the northern tract as open space? As part of the SEIS, the applicant should provide an understandable assessment of the impact on open space in general, and unfragmented blocks of open space in particular. The Southgate Road entrance is being revised due to impacts on wetlands and vernal pools.
How did this come up? Where is the additional study? The Planning Board asked the applicant for this same information, indicating that it has never been submitted. Clearly, this is new previously undisclosed information which has resulted in a proposed change to the project.
As such, it should absolutely be provided as part of the SEIS. Particular emphasis should be placed the impacts that would occur to wetlands and vernal pools without the PIPC land swap. The applicant has stated to the Planning Board that the amended project has been calculated to have approximately 50 acres of impervious surface more than the approved plan. Whether this is an error in the original calculations for the approved plan, or an actual increase resulting from the proposed amendment, it nonetheless represents a significant potential stormwater runoff impact that has not been considered under the previous SEQRA analysis.
It is therefore an issue that is critical to be considered in the SEIS. As part of the proposed amendment, the applicant has stated that they will be eliminating certain proposed traffic improvements previously agreed to under the Special Permit. To support this change, the applicant cites traffic counts taken on July 2, , to show that area traffic has decreased.
However, it is entirely improper to take traffic counts in residential areas during the summer. Such counts would be expected to be lower. There is no school-generated traffic, and some percentage of the drivers who would normally be commuting during the peak hour are on vacation.
This would be especially true on July 2, with the July 4 national holiday just two days away. When this point was raised during Planning Board review, the applicant cited additional counts taken in October that confirmed the July counts.
However, the October counts were never submitted for review. This proposed project change should therefore not be approved without valid supporting studies provided in the SEIS. This obviously represents an increase in traffic that would be generated by the commercial component. The applicant has represented that the patrons of these commercial uses will come exclusively from within the development.
If so, this should be documented with supporting evidence in the SEIS. Even if true, however, truck traffic and other forms of delivery necessary to support the commercial uses will increase.
This is an obvious increased impact as a result of the requested amendment, and should be analyzed in the SEIS. The proposed project will generate a significant amount of sewage, which will obviously need to be treated through a sewage treatment plant, whether that be a plant that serves the region, the Town, or limited solely to the confines of Tuxedo Reserve itself.
Depending on the treatment alternative chosen, the project may present serious implications to the receiving plant, and to the Ramapo River. This particular issue has generated great concern among many individuals and groups.
As it is a direct impact of the proposed action, it should be discussed in the SEIS, if for no other reason than to expose the issue to public review and comment. New development, including roadways, is now being proposed on approximately 30 acres within the Tuxedo Lake watershed. Tuxedo Lake is a drinking water supply for residents within Tuxedo Park, and an additional residents within the hamlet of Tuxedo.
The potential impact on the water quality of Tuxedo Lake is a new issue associated with the proposed amendment that needs to be addressed in the SEIS. We completely support Mr. From our investigation, we feel that the land swap actually coming to fruition is highly unlikely, even if it receives the full endorsement of the Town Board.
As such, focus should rightly be placed on the plan without the land swap, with the land swap being only a possible alternative. As the applicant has represented that the proposed amendment was prompted by the desire to avoid environmental constraints, such as steep slopes, wetlands, and vernal pools, it would be logical to examine another alternative that considers a reduction of the number of proposed units to achieve the same goal.
The issues discussed above contain serious implications for the proposed project, and for the Town of Tuxedo and its residents. To that end, it is our sincere hope that the Board will accept the suggestion of Mr. Castricone to hold a public scoping session.
I would strongly recommend that regardless of this negotiation, the Town Board requires that the SEIS includes an analysis of any issue that the Board sees fit, and that the scope includes all of the issues discussed in this letter. On behalf of my clients, Target Tuxedo, I am pleased to see that the Planning Board has requested that the applicant provide the Board with cuts and fills estimates. I must, however, disagree somewhat with a response that was given to the Board by your engineering consultant at the March 31st workshop meeting.
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