By Dan Hust
KENOZA LAKE August 6, 2004 Although he swears its not the norm, Mark Dubrovsky seems to usually be the one answering the phones at his Barryville-based business.
And even if you dont get him there, his staff is only too eager to give his cell phone number to callers. If that doesnt connect you to a man wandering the woods and roads of Sullivan County, voice mail will certainly reach him.
But for Dubrovsky, thats just his way of doing business in the world of often faraway, faceless developers and their big-budget corporations.
Perhaps its the influence of his father, Bethel developer Steve Dubrovsky, who has parlayed a forested chunk of land near White Lake into million-dollar parcels desired by some of the nations top professionals.
Maybe its the effect of working with Callicoon native Keith Manzolillo, who knows how business operates in western Sullivan County where many customers are friends and neighbors, if not outright relatives.
But it could just be Mark Dubrovskys own sense of propriety a sense that leads to sometimes difficult choices, as is the case in his latest project.
Dubrovsky and Manzolillo, two construction pros who worked for Steve and then joined forces more than two years ago, recently closed on a 40-acre parcel just east of Kenoza Lake along the Town of Delaware/Town of Bethel line off Jaketown Road.
That purchase was in addition to some 350 acres they had already bought in March 80 acres of which lie directly under the waters of Kenoza Lake.
Now, this large swath of a 1,320-foot mountain separating Kenoza Lake and Hust Pond is slated to become the countys newest upscale development Kenoza Lake Estates featuring an ultimate total of 50 homes on five-acre lots, half on the shores of the two aforementioned lakes (Phase I, to likely go on the market by the end of this year) and half on the top and sides of the dividing hill (Phase II).
Already the logging machinery is rolling along the acreage between Jaketown Road and Hust Pond, where one entrance into the development will be created.
Because hes required to offer two accesses, Dubrovsky has approached Mueller Road homeowners to secure an easement onto his property on the far southern end of Kenoza Lake. And thats where hes run into difficulty.
Dubrovsky says locals havent been jumping with excitement over his plans, especially if it concerns traversing their land.
Its not hostile, he explains. Its just sort of disappointment.
He figures their disappointment and resulting disinterest in being involved stems from the fact that 310 acres that have been virtually untouched for decades will soon feature up to 50 homes.
But they wont be just any homes lakefront lots will start at $250,000, and the $300,000-$800,000 homes will have to conform to strict building and appearance standards.
The whole project will be pretty highly restricted, says Dubrovsky.
(Buyers can choose their own construction company or go with Dubrovskys Bethel Design Consultants or Manzolillos KM Contracting.)
And a key focus will be maintaining what makes the area so popular ... and what will continue to make the development attractive.
The whole concept is conservation, to keep it looking as natural as possible, explains Dubrovsky. Were trying to do it the right way.
Naturally, land will have to be cleared for roads, lakeview opportunities and hiking trails, and there are plans to turn a remote swamp into a pond on the far side of the mountain, but Dubrovsky and Manzolillo have already received many of the approvals necessary to proceed.
One approval they havent got, however, is from the owner of Hust Pond, who has declined to participate in the project despite multiple offers by the duo.
That means homeowners wont have any access to Hust Pond, but Dubrovsky isnt necessarily of the opinion that that will be a major stumbling block.
Well put them [the homes] as close as we can so theyll have a nice view, he says.
On the other side of the hill, 80 acres of Kenoza Lake will be available for rowboating, fishing, and swimming, including a beach on the southern end. (From a point near the post office north to Old Taylor Road, the lake is owned by another organization.)
A homeowners association will oversee it all when the project is complete, but thats at least a year or two away, depending on how fast the lots are snapped up.
But with 25 lakefront lots and 25 more on a mountain featuring three natural 200-foot-wide steppes, Dubrovsky expects Kenoza Lake Estates to become popular fairly quickly.
Its beautiful for development, he says.