By Nathan Mayberg
KIAMESHA LAKE September 22, 2006 For most of the members of the Camelot Woods Homeowners Association, things would be just fine if their development stayed the same as it has for the last 15-20 years. A proposed expansion of the development in Sackett Lake by Excalibur Partners, headed by Herbert Weiss, would increase the density of the community by an additional 85 homes on just over 40 acres. That did not sit well at all with the dozens who turned out in opposition to the Planned Unit Development in front of the Town of Thompson Board Tuesday evening.
The public hearing was on phase 3 of the Planned Unit Development, whose first phase originated back in 1982. The developers were represented by local attorney Henri Shawn and engineer Glenn Smith. After a rather intense hearing, when residents expressed hostility to their plans, and Shawn calmly defended his developer, the board told Shawn and Smith to return with more information.
Councilman William Rieber and Supervisor Anthony Cellini were both upset with the lack of concrete plans or maps presented at the hearing. Smith said he would give the board a map in the next week. Cellini said he and town engineer Richard McGoey have concerns about the project. The public hearing was closed although written comments to the board will be accepted over the next thirty days. The representatives of the developers will be expected to appear in front of the board again with more detailed plans and a better presentation.
Currently, the development totals over 164 units. The proposal would bring the total amount to 249 units, the limit they can build without undergoing a federal review, said Shawn.
The planning board has given conditional site plan approval. The developers still need to meet water, sewer and parking requirements, as well as obtain permits from regulatory agencies.
One of the major sticking points between the two sides is over the existing clubhouse. Association members say the clubhouse would not be able to handle the additional population, and certainly not its parking lot. Weiss was negotiating with members of the homeowner’s board over this issue, but they did not reach an agreement. According to Shawn, Weiss offered the community a $180,000 interest-free loan to renovate the clubhouse.
The association is being represented by local attorney Marvin Newberg. Newberg called for a full SEQRA review of the project by the board. After the meeting, town attorney Michael Mednick asked Smith to begin the SEQRA process, but indicated he may not need to go through the long form of the SEQRA review.
Newberg also charged the developers with segmenting their property by putting forth plans not originally given back when the PUD was approved 20 years ago. Shawn defended the new plans, saying it was a free country.
According to Newberg, the engineering report of the proposal points out serious impacts, including major sewer issues. An expansion of the Sackett Lake Sewer District might be needed. During the town meeting, Sewer Superintendent William Culligan said the town could reach its full sewer capacity if certain projects are built out. However, currently the town has the necessary sewer capacity for this proposal, he stated.
Another concern expressed by Newberg included runoff near Camp Winston. He called for the town board to “put the developer to the task to meet every environmental concern.”
Diana Victor of the Sackett Lake Preservation Society had a major concern of her own the Winston Dam. She said it is in dire need of repair. If it were to collapse, severe flooding could engulf the area, she said. She said the Excalibur group has refused to repair it. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has inspected the dam and found a number of deficiencies, she stated. Under environmental conservation law, they are required to maintain the dam, she added.