BY JOEL GROSSBARTH
Over 300 hundred Clarkstown residents packed the main auditorium in Town Hall to voice their concerns over a proposed development project in North New City.
Supervisor George Hoehmann opened the meeting with residents by stating the “informational” meeting was the first time in recent Town history that the unprecedented move was made. He stated the amount of phone calls, letters and concerns the Town received necessitated the meeting to inform residents of the process the application will take.
The project known as Buckley Farms seeks to subdivide a 30-acre lot on North Main Street across from its intersection with Phillips Hill Road. According to Town Principal Planner Jose Simoes, the applicant, Apfelbaum Family Limited Partnership, seeks to build 22 single-family homes and 200 rental units dedicated as senior housing. While development takes place on a regular basis in Clarkstown, the location, scope and type of development seems to have hit a sour chord with residents.
Residents peppered town officials with questions and comments during the informational meeting. All of the residents were against the project for various reasons. Many stated the environmental issues the project created were overwhelming. Some stated the proposed overdevelopment of New City was concerning.
“I am concerned about the overdevelopment of New City and the need for this type of housing,” Kristy Lucca, a longtime Clarkstown resident who voiced concerns over the project said. “The project raises so many environmental issues. I hope the Town will listen to the concerns raised by all the residents tonight and throughout the entire process.”
According to Simoes, the application is in its early stages. The applicant has been before the Town Planning Board. The Planning Board will ultimately decide on the approvals, if any, for the project.
To date, the Planning Board has issued a positive declaration pursuant to the New Yorks State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”). The positive Declaration means the applicant will have to address mitigation of the environmental issues the project creates to the Planning Board’s satisfaction.
According to the applicant’s own scoping document, there will be potential significant environmental impacts on land, surface water, flooding, groundwater, air, aesthetic resources, plants and animals, open space, transportation, energy, noise, odor and light, human health, community plans and character, and utilities.
Supervisor Hoehmann, sticking to his campaign promise of transparency in government, promised all the residents they would be notified of all meetings so their concerns can be heard. The crowd applauded the supervisor, but ultimately questioned the qualifications and members of the Planning Board. According to several residents, if the Planning Board ultimately approves the plan, they will be politically motivated to replace town board members next election cycle.