By Nathan Mayberg
ROCK HILL January 12, 2007 Just as massive redevelopment plans of the Concord are underway, arrives the news of yet another large project which would completely change the face of the town, and more specifically, the hamlet of Rock Hill.
Dubbed the “Rock Hill Town Center,” it would include approximately 1,500 homes and 600,000 square feet of retail space on approximately 500 acres of land stretching from Rock Hill Drive down Glen Wild near the border with the Town of Fallsburg. According to the scoping document, the development would include 581 single-family houses, 524 townhouses and 384 multi-family units.
There is just one catch. The town board must approve a rezoning of over 100 acres of the property from rural residential to highway commercial on the section which fronts Glen Wild Road across from the cemetery, nearly one-half of a mile down from the Rock Hill Firehouse.
There will be a public hearing on the rezoning this Tuesday at the Town of Thompson Hall in Monticello at 7:30 p.m. The board could act on the zoning change that night, although it could decide to put a decision off until a later meeting.
This proposal is being brought by Robert Berman, one of seven investors who have formed the Rock Hill Land Corporation. Consultant Steve Proyect is fronting the project, and will be presenting the plans on Tuesday. According to Proyect, Alan Friedberg of Rock Hill and former owner of The Lodge, is also a consultant. Proyect said Berman is the only local investor involved.
Part of the property which was sold was brokered by Town of Thompson Councilman William Rieber, who is a real estate agent. He recently described the plans as “ambitious” but a step in the right direction. He said he has not made up his mind as to whether he will recuse himself from voting on the matter. Three of the town board members live in Rock Hill, including Peter Briggs, Sharon Jankiewicz and Rieber.
The public hearing could be contentious, as numerous residents of Rock Hill have reportedly lined up to oppose it. Rock Hill resident Janet Newberg, who ran for a seat on the board in November, is one of them.
She is worried the new development is too dense for the small hamlet she lives in. At full build out, the project could double the size of Rock Hill. “This development will destroy the beauty and the character of the hamlet,” Newberg said. “The key word is rural. This is a quaint, rural community, not highway commercial.”
Newberg said she thinks Rock Hill could handle another 100 homes and maybe 5-6 small stores on the property being touted for development. But 1,500 homes and a business center larger than the Apollo Mall is just too much for her. Newberg also noted that part of the development will border the Neversink River.
Supervisor Anthony Cellini said he will be listening to both sides at the public hearing on Tuesday and hasn’t made a decision yet on how he will vote.