BY KATHY KAHN
What’s in store for Stony Point’s portion of the former Letchworth Village Property, which has been marketed to no avail to Toll Brothers, Great Wolf Lodge and other major contractors for more than two decades?
To overcome the obstacle, the Town is proposing an “overlay district”—one that concentrates on the 25 acres of Letchworth Village property leading to the town’s golf course. It does not include any part of the 195-acre Patriot Hills Golf Course/Clubhouse, but focuses on the Letchworth buildings that line the golf course’s entrance and those outside its perimeter.
Problematic for attracting buyers is the Palisades Park Conservancy, which controls the Palisades Interstate Parkway. Despite the State’s ability to raise the speed limit to 55mph on the entire parkway, it cannot change the “passenger cars only” designation the PPC has given it, a negative for builders to truck buildings materials in and out of the property. Representative Colin Shmitt has proposed upgrades to Route 9W, which could be a boon to local business as well as help in marketing the property
Only Kirkbride Hall, which has been rehabilitated, would be left standing if the property could be enhanced by removing the derelict buildings leading to and surrounding the entrance to the golf course.
The “Patriot Hills Redevelopment Incentive – Amend Chapter 215, Article XX11” of the Town Code will provide a way for potential builders-including Patriot Hills, LLC, currently negotiating to buy the property– to bulldoze the decaying buildings and rebuild new infrastructure without breaking the bank. Those same builders have also expressed interest in building a hotel and conference center on the property, making the golf course a plus for guests a well as for those who use the Patriot Hills Grille for banquets and weddings.
The Public Hearing drew many residents who have been waiting for the demolition of the unused buildings and hope to see rateables come in to lower their tax rates. Supervisor Jim Monaghan told the audience, “My family is staying in Stony Point. We want to keep it affordable for our children who would like to remain here, our senior population and our future residents.”
Resident Steve Porath, Executive Director of the Rockland County IDA, has been a key player in Rockland redevelopment. “I looked at the amendment for the overlay and you have made a plan that makes the property marketable and defines the development you want. From an economic development standpoint, I applaud the transparency this Board has shown in engaging the public.”’
Business owner Mary Rodriguez said it was “disheartening because of the redevelopment of the 9W corridor, and I moved my business to Main Street. Kids are leaving because it is too expensive, I wish there was a committee to make reasonable suggestions and plans…we also need a waterfront redevelopment committee.” Town Historian Susan Filgueras agreed, saying the waterfront was a jewel and should not be developed into multi-family housing but rather concentrate on making it a destination for tourism, as have Nyack, Beacon, Newburgh and other riverfront towns
The public hearing on the “overlay district” will continue at the next Town Board meeting on Tuesday, March 26 at the ROE Building beginning at 7 p.m
In other business, Stony Point has joined with the five Rockland County Towns fighting the SUEZ rate hike, which would push local water rates up nearly 20 percent. And has hired special counsel for the pushback. It also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the Tilcon project in Tomkins Cove and has hired special counsel in the action to protect the town.