Democrat Photo by John Emerson
IN NEED OF HELP: Literacy Volunteers of Americaâs Connie Keller, standing, pitches the LVA ãbranch-outä plan to area librarians in Monticello Monday.
Hundreds Attend Town's
Master Plan Hearing
By John Emerson
WURTSBORO ÷ September 1, 2000 ö The proposed Town of Mamakating master plan came under strong attack at a public hearing Tuesday night, as hundreds crammed into the town hall in Wurtsboro or milled about outside, unable to enter.
ãThey let about 300 people in, but there isnât room for everybody,ä said one man who asked not to be identified. ãI donât see how they cannot hold another hearing.ä
The man was one of scores who were left outside, while inside, people lambasted the plan. Their key objection to the plan is the introduction of zoning to accommodate a proposed warehouse operation along Route 209 and proposals to construct two large resort hotels, one on the Shawangunk Ridge above Bloomingburg east of Wurtsboro and the other near Route 17âs Exit 112 west of Wurtsboro.
ãChanging zoning to accommodate hotels at either end of the village is a recipe for disaster,ä said the man. ãItâs a betrayal of the trust of people who have moved here with their families from Yonkers or Queens or Long Island to get away from commercial industrial development.ä
As speaker after speaker voiced opposition to the proposed master plan, they were greeted with thunderous applause. Outside at the windows and doorways leading into the meeting hall, people strained to hear what was going on inside.
Supervisor Mary Barbuti said that many of the comments made during the public hearing were disturbing to her, especially when some of the speakers referred to the plan as ãrapingä the community.
ãDo they think I want to see this town and what we have here destroyed?ä she asked. ãIâve lived here most of my life, and I live here 12 months a year. Itâs a scare tactic and alarmist. I donât want to see this area destroyed, and neither does anybody else on the town board or the planning board.ä
Barbuti also said that thus far the proposals that most bothered those in attendance ö the hotels ö still had not made any applications for development.
ãI think the thing people need to understand is that only a small percentage of property within the town can be developed,ä she said. ãWeâre not going to give the church away, and weâre not trying to turn this town into an industrial hub. There are some things that weâre going to take a closer look at and make some changes, but I think weâre doing the right thing, and a master plan will help us keep on top of whatâs coming in and let us control it.ä
The public hearing, the last of three held on the plan, started a 10-day countdown, during which time the town board will accept written comments on the plan. The town board will hold a work session Tuesday afternoon at the town hall to further discuss the plan.