Town Planning Board Meeting November 13, 2007

The Town of Tuxedo Planning Board met on November 13, 2007 at 7:00pm.

The meeting began with a continuation of the Public Hearing for preliminary subdivision approval of Northridge, Phase 1 of the Tuxedo Reserve development.

Andrew Danse of Tuxedo Reserve opened the Public Hearing with a plea to the Board to close the Public Hearing at the conclusion of the evening’s session.  Following these comments, Nils Gerling, Board Chairman, asked each Board member individually if they had any questions or concerns to discuss.  Board member Jim Hays had several questions regarding the modified list of waiver requests received by the Board at the Special Workshop held on November 9, 2007.  Tuxedo Reserve had come before the Planning Board in October with a list of 102 waiver requests for Phase 1 of their development.  The waivers requested were based on areas of their plan where there were any deviations from regulations specified in either the Town Code or the Special Permit.  This list has now been narrowed to 55 requests.   Mr. Hays inquired as to why certain waivers had been eliminated or deemed unnecessary by the Town’s consultants.  He went on to express his concern that the approval of so many waivers this early in the process would set a precedent for the entire project.

Town consultant Stan Puszcz responded by circulating amongst the board a list of the original 102 waivers, complete with a status report on each one.  He explained that not all of the 102 requested waivers represented substantial deviations and that many of them, were small technical issues that have been resolved and removed from the list.

Board member Mary Hanson once again expressed her desire to have members of the Town Board as well as the Town Planning Board present at meetings that involve discussions about the preliminary approval as several of the requested waivers fall in the Town Board’s jurisdiction.

Board members Gary Phelps and Joseph Gartiser had no comments or questions.

W. Gatas of Highlands Environmental Research Institute spoke to the Board on behalf of the Torne Valley Preservation Association.  He gave a brief tutorial on the adverse effects that both removal of soil and blasting of bedrock can have on our water supply.  He expressed great concern that construction will affect the quality and quantity of water in the surrounding areas.  Patsy Wooters also spoke on behalf of the Torne Valley Preservation Association and commented that the current site is the wrong place to build this development for a host reasons ranging from water and terrain issues to potential traffic problems.

Cynthia Soroka from northern New Jersey echoed Patsy Wooters comments and expressed concern about living downstream from the project and it’s effects on the water supply.

Geoff Welsh, Environmental Consultant for the Town of Ramapo, Village of Suffern commented that drainage from streams on the site will run directly into the Ramapo River and as a result, will effect the water in what has been deemed by New York State a Critical Conservation Area.  He suggested that an on-site environmental inspector be added to the project once construction begins to monitor this situation on a daily basis and also check for things like Timber Rattle Snakes and other environmental issues that are sure to arise.

Rob McQuilken of Tuxedo Park inquired about the status of the land gifts the applicant must make to the town as stipulated in the Special Permit and was advised by Andrew Sptizer of Tuxedo Reserve that the permit requires these gifts to be made just prior to major disturbance of the land. 

Michele Lindsay of Tuxedo Park inquired as to whether or not the Village of Tuxedo Park has received the most up to date project information and was informed that they had.  She went on to state that she had been at the Special Workshop on November 9, where the issue of Northridge’s water district had been discussed at great length.  Mrs. Lindsay asked the Board if there would be any further discussion on this issue and was informed that the water district falls within Town Board jurisdiction.  Finally, Mrs. Lindsay brought up the issue of project over-site after construction has begun.  She cited the unfinished construction within the Sterling Mine Estates project, which has remained both unfinished and unsightly for many years now, and inquired what if anything the Board can do to ensure that a similar situation does not occur with Tuxedo Reserve.  In response, town consultant Stan Puszcz informed her that the applicant’s Special Permit directly addresses the issue of site supervision and that the Town will have the ability to hire whoever they wish (at the expense of the applicant ) to carry out inspections.  Over-site and inspection enforcement will once again fall under the jurisdiction of the Town Board.

Tom Wicks, of Ridgewood New Jersey, expressed concern that the fracturing of granite through the bedrock would have adverse effects on the water both locally as well as down stream from us in Bergen County.

Once the public was through making comments, Board Chairman Gerling made a motion to officially close the Public Hearing on preliminary approval for Phase 1 of Tuxedo Reserve.  Trustees Hays and Hanson voted against the motion, stating that they felt there were still many unanswered questions as well as information yet to be gathered on which the public should have the right to comment.  However, Chairman Gerling along with Board Members Phelps and Gartiser voted in favor of the motion and as a result, and the Public Hearing was closed.

Next on the agenda was the “Sean Neil” subdivision.  Mr. Neil presented preliminary maps and plans to the Board.  A public hearing on this subdivision will take place at the next regularly scheduled Planning Board Meeting, which is December 11, 2007 at 7pm.

Finally, Andrew Danse of Tuxedo Reserve addressed the Board and expressed his gratitude for their having closed the public hearing on Northridge.  He went on to explain that a great deal of time and effort has gone into the plans being submitted for preliminary approval and he assured the Board that granting such approval will be in no way the equivalent of “handing the developer a shovel”  Rather, he explained, it will allow the applicant to take the plans to the next level, which is DEC approval.

Board member Jim Hays responded by explaining that there is a lot of confusing information being presented that the Board will need to fully understand prior to casting their votes.  It is crucial that they understand exactly what is being approved and what is not being approved and the reasons why. 

Board alternate Susan Goodfellow expressed her frustration over the fact that neither of the previously scheduled special workshops have actually functioned as workshops for various reasons.  The Planning Board needs to go over each waiver request in addition to a multitude of other issues in detail with their consultants before they can be expected to vote one way or the other on preliminary approval for the project.

A third Special Workshop with the Planning Board and their Consultants has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 20, 2007 at 7pm.  The applicant will not be present at this workshop.


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