To the Editor,
The new proposal for a data center at Rockland Psychiatric Center in Orangeburg is an enormous potential victory for Orangetown. It must be approved without delay by the town. But it’s not enough to approve this project and the zone change to a data center/office park zoning for that parcel. Orangetown needs to change the zoning for the entirety of RPC, both state and town owned, to this or a similar zone as soon as possible.
Past town administrations have had a different view of what should be done with RPC. Specifically, Thom Kleiner, as supervisor, issued an RFP calling for 356 new homes on just 71 of the town-owned acres, to include low income housing and not even counting the senior housing he sought on other parcels. Kleiner also called for a “development – [a] new neighborhood” in RPC in his 2006 State of the Town address, also hoping that developers would develop 130 of the 348 town-owned acres of the property. Finally, Kleiner issued an ultimately failed town-wide proposal for low income, multifamily housing in 2009.
The town board must cut off the possibility of an administration with similar priorities taking office and doing heaven knows what to the RPC land before it can occur. It must approve the planned data center and then immediately change the zoning for the rest of RPC so, if sold, it goes to a commercial interest and not a residential developer, especially if such a residential developer ever gets a sympathetic ear in the supervisor’s office.