Contributed graphic courtesy of architect Steven Lopez
THIS IS THE current design of Pines Estates, a 458-unit phased development proposed for the site of the old Pines Hotel’s golf course and ski hill near South Fallsburg. The hotel (not part of the project) is at far left. One exit (top) will be on Laurel Avenue, while two others will be on Route 42.
Old Pines Hotel Property Development Discussed
By Dan Hust
SOUTH FALLSBURG December 1, 2006 The old Pines Hotel is still embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings, but plans are afoot to develop 365 adjoining acres to create more than 450 homes.
Most of those living units would be clustered on the Pines’ old golf course and surrounding land in South Fallsburg, but one phase would be built on the ski hill, which remains part of the property involved in bankruptcy court.
Fallsburg Town Board officials, who held a public hearing on the scope of the project Tuesday night, said the bankruptcy case may be resolved soon and plan on seeing long-delayed tax revenue as a result.
That, plus a town board requirement for the developer to rehabilitate or raze the decrepit resort before the housing project is complete, means that even though the hotel property itself is not part of the development plans, it is heavily involved nonetheless.
Pines Estates, LLC is the owner of both, said project consultant Steve Proyect, who along with Steve Lopez made the presentation to the board Tuesday in South Fallsburg.
“The intention is to basically clean it [the hotel] up at this point,” said Proyect.
Indeed, they must, said Fallsburg Supervisor Steve Levine.
“We feel the hotel is an eyesore and blight on the whole township and is something that should be removed,” he told the small crowd in the meeting room.
Thus town approval of the project will be based on that provision being met.
Proyect didn’t seem to take issue with that requirement, saying that the developers agreed that business would be hurt if the once-famous but greatly deteriorated hotel was allowed to stand unaltered.
Eventually, said Proyect, the goal is to develop that parcel as well, but that’s dependent on the outcome of the bankruptcy proceedings and also the ability of the town to meet water and sewer needs. Current town capacity is insufficient, indicated officials.
However, said Levine, the town is studying the expansion of its sewer system as a result of a large amount of existing and proposed development.
For now, the hotel’s water and sewer service will be diverted to the new development (while at the same time engineers search for an on-site water supply), and the developers are also hoping to deed two main access roads to the township once the construction is complete.
The township is the lead agency for the project, and its town and planning boards will have to sign off on an extensive and thorough series of legalities and reviews, including a mandated SEQRA review and environmental impact statement that will take into account every identifiable or possible negative impact on the property and surrounding acreage and infrastructure.
Tuesday’s public hearing laid out the scope of that review, which will include traffic counts (plans are to have three exit/entrances one on Laurel Avenue and two on Route 42 between South Fallsburg and Fallsburg), wetlands, archaeological and historical concerns, taxes, etc.
As part of that process, said officials, the public will be asked multiple times to comment on the proceedings through both oral and written statements.
Indeed, written comments regarding the draft scoping document (which was presented Tuesday) are being accepted by Fallsburg Code Enforcement Officer Allen Frishman up until the next town board meeting on December 12.
Copies of the scoping document can be picked up (and statements pertaining to it can be dropped off) at the town hall on Railroad Avenue in South Fallsburg.
In Other Business
During the regular town board meeting that night, Supervisor Levine announced that the township is entering into a lease agreement with Verizon to allow two cell towers on town property.
Though terms have not been finalized (the planning board must still sign off on the projects), Levine said Verizon wishes to erect one cell tower next to the Loch Sheldrake water tower and another near the Mountaindale wastewater treatment facility.
“They will not be very noticeable,” he said, estimating they would not rise much above the area treetops.
The next board meeting is set for Tuesday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the town hall/justice court in South Fallsburg, where a hearing will be held on water/sewer services regarding a development next to New Hope Community in Loch Sheldrake.