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Shawangunk subdivision raises concern among neighbors

January 9th, 2013

“I do not want to see a big development,” said Chris Lesser, a neighbor of a proposed subdivision to be located on Brimstone Hill Road and Sinsabaugh Road. “I’m mighty relieved to hear you’re not putting it in.”

Lesser and other neighbors of the property owned by the Martinelli family attended the public hearing held before the Shawangunk Planning Board last week to air their concerns about the project. The proposed 5-lot subdivision contains approximately 314 acres and originally called for several times the number of lots, but that plan has now been withdrawn and scaled back, to the relief of the neighboring property owners.

“They do not want to do it now,” said John Tarolli, the applicants’ engineer, explaining that the property owners were not interested in moving forward with a large project. He noted that while they had no desire to do it at this point that did not mean they couldn’t pursue it in the future or sell the land to a developer.

According to Tarolli, the property is being divided up into five lots: one with an existing house and barn, a second with an existing house, a third with an existing multi-family structure, a fourth with a proposed house and the remaining acres will form the last lot.

Neighbors questioned whether the property had the required road frontage and expressed concerns of future traffic issues on Sinsabaugh Road. The property also contains wetlands and stormwater management concerns were raised.

The board directed the engineer to note eligible state wetlands on the map and decided to hold the public hearing open to their next meeting.

Tarolli also appeared before the board in regards to a large subdivision off Buena Vista Avenue, proposed by Lee Titus.

The project is in a unique pickle with two open applications, the first prepared in 2006 calling for a 32-lot clustered subdivision, while the second was prepared in 2012 and seeks 31 lots.

“We did it, but now I’m having a difficult time understanding why,” said Tarolli, noting that the second application had been requested by the Planning Board.

It was explained that due to major changes—chiefly the designation of state wetlands and buffers that meant the original plan had homes located within those zones—they believed a new plan was necessary.

The 2006 plan had been granted preliminary approval by the Planning Board and granted an extension which was set to expire in January. The applicant was looking for an extension of that approval to June, but the board decided to extend it for two months.

Planning Board chairperson Kris Pedersen said their next step was to make a recommendation to the Town Board for approval of the clustering, which she anticipated to occur before the end of the month.

The Wallkill Fire District returned before the Planning Board for a continuation of the public hearing on their proposed firehouse to be located at the corner of Borden Road and Route 208, across from John G. Borden Middle School.
Joseph Minuta, architect for the project, advised the board that the NYSDOT had given prior conceptual approval for their proposed access onto Route 208, but had decided upon further review to require the access be moved further away from Borden Road to form a kind of intersection with Lavoletta Street. The project will still have access to Borden Road, however the inner layout of the project has been redesigned to make the anticipated “shortcut” through the property “unpalatable” as drivers would be faced with a series of stops and turns.

Resident Brent Yukoweic told the board he believes that an environmental impact study and traffic study should be done on the project. He was advised by the board that an EIS is not required and a traffic study was waived by the Town Board as the fire department is an essential service.

The board voted to declare intent to be lead agency on SEQRA and to forward the application to the County Planning Department for review.

A public hearing was also held on a lot line change on Schneller Lane, which would convey approximately 12.05 acres of vacant lot to the Open Space Conservancy. With no public comments, the board voted to close the public hearing, pass a negative declaration as to SEQRA and grant preliminary and final approval.

The proposed 2-lot subdivision of about 50 acres by Enaid Properties on Indian Springs Road and Meadow Hill Lane also came before the Planning Board. No new buildings are proposed on the parcels, which were originally set up as a breeding farm according to the property owners. The board set a public hearing on the project for Feb. 5.

By Rachel Coleman

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