Another Day…..Another Lawsuit | May 1, 2007
The following article appeared in the Times Herald-Record. It now looks as if Sterling Forest LLC is taking the Village to Federal Court, where legal costs can rapidly escalate. It would seem prudent for the Village to negotiate a settlement. Instead, Mayor McFadden makes frivolous comments which can only exacerbate this situation.

Sterling Forest sues for access to Tuxedo Park's water
By Ramsey Al-Rikabi

Times Herald-Record
April 25, 2007

Tuxedo Park — Sterling Forest LLC, which wants to develop a chunk of land just outside Tuxedo Park, has filed a federal lawsuit aimed at forcing the village to sell it water.

Without water, there can be no permits for the development, called Sterling Place. And without permits, no big price tag and no big profit for Sterling Forest, a company headed by former Orange County Executive Lou Heimbach.

Sterling Place is Mayor David McFadden's nightmare: Sixty-three homes, many right on the border of this exclusive village, a tennis ball's toss from one of its prized ponds.

In fact, Tuxedo Park's new neighbors could walk out their back doors and into this community of 730 at the southern tip of Orange County — never having to go through the police-staffed gate like other visitors.
To halt the homes, the village has refused to let Sterling Forest hook up to a water main that runs under the 44 acres to be developed. The suit hinges on whether a 1953 agreement between the village and the New York State Water Power & Control Commission requires Tuxedo Park to provide water to any customers outside its border.

Sterling Forest won a similar suit in state Supreme Court last year. The village is appealing, but while that is pending, Sterling Forest is pressing ahead with the federal suit.

The village has the water, for sure. At a Village Board meeting last month, trustees discussed how they needed more customers for what they tap from Tuxedo Lake.

"It's not that we don't want new customers," McFadden said yesterday.

McFadden predicts 2.5 children per new home, which he calls a "negative tax impact" on schools. And then there is the environmental impact.

"When I say environment," McFadden said, "I mean the quality of sound, light, natural resources and so on."

Founded in the late 1800s as a nature retreat for New York's very rich, the present-day village counts its rugged natural setting as one of its greatest assets.

That aesthetic — wilderness with handsome luxury homes planted in the hills — would be scuffed along the northern edge where Sterling Place is planned, in the triangle formed by Route 17 and Warwick Brook Road.

McFadden, possibly in jest, referred yesterday to the planned homes, which are expected to sell for at least $600,000, as "low-income housing."

And with that many new people living right on the border, "you would imagine crime would go up," he said.

In the Supreme Court Lawsuit that the Village lost to Sterling Forest last year, the Court found the Village Board acted in “an arbitrary and capricious manner” and was troubled by the public announcements of the Mayor and a Village Trustee.

When a reporter asks a question about some current legal action the correct response is “no comment”, unless you have an unlimited legal budget that you are willing to spend (see Village Loses Sterling Place Lawsuit)

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