By Nathan Mayberg
SOUTH FALLSBURG November 9, 2004 Public hearings on two large-scale projects caused a stir among several of the residents who live nearby at the Town of Fallsburg Planning Board meeting Thursday evening in South Fallsburg.
Mountaindale Estates, now a 187-unit proposed housing development at the site of the old Baxter Stadium in Mountaindale, and Glen Wild Industrial Park were the targets of dozens of local residents who had deep concerns and objections.
And the Fallsburg Town Hall was overflowing with those who wanted to voice those opinions.
Several people were standing outside in cold temperatures for some time until they were able to squeeze inside the hall to speak.
As for Mountaindale Estates, most of the speakers said the development would require a widening of the main roads it accesses, as the traffic would grow substantially. The roads are currently two lanes wide.
Developer Butch Resnick, who has proposed both projects, was not willing to commit to any road improvements, frequently calling the matter a town issue. He said he had hired a traffic engineer to conduct a study.
Several citizens said the board should hold another public hearing after the study finishes. Planning Board Chairman Arthur Rosenshein said that this would be the last public hearing on the project.
However, Resnick repeated his pledge to increase sewage capacity for the town, including a new sewer plant, as a result of his projects impact on the towns struggling sewage system. Resnick further stated that the development would remain 100 percent taxable.
Rosenshein said he would recuse himself from the project due to a conflict of interest, which apparently only meant that he would not vote on the matter, as he presided over the entire hearing.
Resnick said the homes would range in price from $170,000 to $300,000. Each house would sit on approximately one-quarter of an acre. He estimated that 25-50 homes would be built each year. He also promised not to cut down any of the old oak trees on the 113-acre property, adding that he will not clear-cut the land.
Ruth Baxter of Mountaindale, who owns property near the stadium (and for whose family the stadium is named), expressed concern about flooding from the new development. She said the old stadium gave her tenants flooding problems in the past.
The projects engineer responded that they were required to have sufficient drainage systems to prevent such difficulties from occurring.
Glen Wild Industrial Park was touted by Resnick as an idea which sprouted from the Emerald Green Corporate Park in Rock Hill.
Resnick said the project would be limited to light-industrial and light-assembly plants. He would like the project to be similar to the corporate park in Rock Hill, in that the entire site would be pre-approved, in order to legally bypass the planning board for each separate business that wishes to set up shop.
A petition was read by one resident, who claimed to have 94 signatures opposing the plant. Like many others, she objected to the potential for increased traffic. She said the neighborhood has many residential homes with children.
Several concerns about water and air pollution were raised. Resnick said there would be no smokestacks. He estimated that as many as 400 jobs could be created as a result of the new businesses.
One last round of controversy was kicked off by Centennial Gun and Bow Club, which is applying for a special permit for a private campground.
Several local residents objected vehemently, claiming the club regularly lights off fireworks.
They claimed the noise woke them up early in the morning and kept their dogs barking through the night, at times.
One resident said that the amount of shooting, combined with the fireworks and ATV usage, sounded like Vietnam. He said the ATVs speed up to 55 miles per hour.
I might as well go to Iraq, he said.
They objected to the campground site as unsafe for a residential neighborhood with children. Some of them live within 300 feet of the site, which encompasses approximately 100 acres. One woman was afraid her children could be shot by the guns and arrows.
Furthermore, the project only calls for 16 parking spots, even though they claim to have 25 member families.
Town code enforcement officer Allan Frishman said he would pursue a resolution with the owners of the development as a result of the issues raised at the hearing.
In other business, Zoe Ministries, which produces a religious television show in New York City, according to engineer Glenn Smith, is looking for special permit approval of a 6,500-square-foot, 350-seat church on a 170-acre property on Budd Road in Woodbourne.
No further information was available.