Stony Point Planning Board: Progress of Jessup Ridge West and Hudson River View Addressed

BY CHERYL SLAVIN

The Stony Point Planning Board discussed two major on-going building projects at its July 25 meeting: the Hudson River View Industrial Park located at the end of Holt Drive and the Jessup Ridge West development located off of Willow Grove Road just west of the Palisades Parkway.

David Zigler of Atzl, Scatassa & Zigler P.C., representing the Hudson River View applicants, started by requesting that a special meeting of the Planning Board be convened for the purpose of overriding several county-ordered safety related changes to its plans. Zigler asserted that despite the county’s concerns, his applicant’s plans either did not call for the changes or went above and beyond what was required. He asked for a special meeting to decide the questions since at least five Planning Board members were needed for an official vote and only four were present at the July 25 meeting.

The Planning Board members, along with Building Inspector Bill Sheehan, discussed at length the current traffic patterns along Holt Drive, the need for increased safety during and after construction at the Hudson River View site, and in particular the installation of railroad gates and improvements at the CSX crossing grade which bisects the road. As Planning Board Chairman Thomas Gubitosa later explained to the Rockland County Times, CSX’s previous refusal to maintain the grade crossing after Insl-x shut down, while at the same time not allowing the new property owners permission to improve it themselves, had made it close to impossible to develop the site. However, CSX had recently agreed for the developers to install crash gates and a traffic light at the crossing, so the project could finally move forward.

The question remained whether a certificate of occupancy would be issued before or after the installation of the safety gates. Zigler wanted the gates to be completed first; Sheehan stated his preference for the opposite. Ultimately Chairman Gubitosa stated that he would contact other board members and determine when a special meeting could be held to resolve this and other outstanding issues. All seemed to be in agreement, however, that any concerns could be resolved and that the project would move forward

David Zigler also represented the developers of the Jessup Ridge West subdivision. He reported that the drainage and flooding concerns previously brought up by the Planning Board and by residents at pubic hearings had been mostly addressed at this time by the installation of cobblestone curbs along Margarita Drive and at its cul-de-sac, as well as by clearing and unclogging the long-neglected storm drains and landscaping around the area. He also submitted a revised plan for the subdivision which would call for the elimination of one of the site’s retention ponds as it is currently inaccessible from pubic property and therefore difficult to maintain.

Additionally, to compensate for the loss of the retention area, the new plan would reduce the drainage load overall by grouping all of the building lots at the top of Margarita Drive instead of building up along the steepest part of the grade. Further, to ensure against erosion and drainage problems in the future, the plan also included several permanent conservation easements, areas where trees cannot be cut down nor permanent structures built.

The public hearing continued with several residents asking about the fate of the proposed eliminated pond, as well as voicing other concerns about drainage issues and the maintenance of Jessup Lane and Margarita Drive. Town engineer Kevin Maher stated that he was satisfied with the progress made toward addressing the drainage and erosion problems. With these improvements the town is one step closer to its goal of ultimately taking over and maintaining the roads and services of the subdivision. The board unanimously passed a motion to send a letter to the Town Board stating that it approves of the new Jessup Ridge West plan. The board also extended the public hearing on the matter to its next scheduled meeting on August 22.