Frank Rizzo | Democrat
Former Town of Fremont Supervisor James Greier, now representing the town on the UDC, had objections to the letter the organization sent to his town concerning the proposed school at the old Delaware Valley CS site.
Proposed school draws UDC notice
Story by Frank Rizzo
NARROWSBURG November 29, 2013 At its November meeting, the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) sought to inject itself into the planning process for the new school being proposed in Fremont.
The board approved a letter to Town of Fremont Supervisor George Conklin regarding the Windsor School, an international private educational institution slated for the Delaware Valley CS site.
The issue had come up at the October meeting of the Project Review Committee. Sean McGuinness, superintendent of the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River, noted then that the proposed dormitory at the site would have considerable impacts.
The approved letter noted that Fremont, a member town, has been in “Substantial Conformance since 1990” with the River Management Plan the UDC is responsible for managing.
It continued, “The apparent intention to erect a dormitory or ancillary facilities on an adjacent lot to accommodate an estimated 200 students could create a significant impact. We are interested in helping to mitigate to avoid any conflicts with existing zoning laws or the Principles of the Land and Water Use Guidelines.”
The UDC “believes that the project is a worthwhile endeavor,” and it went on to urge a “symbiotic relationship” with the town, the new owners, the Fremont boards and offered to provide technical assistance.
James Greier, Conklin’s predecessor and successor to the late Jack Niflot as Fremont’s UDC representative, had concerns with the proposed draft letter as well as the tenor of the discussion.
“Why say we’re non-conforming?” Greier wondered.
“Because of the dorm,” McGuinness rejoined.
“We have our own zoning laws in the Town of Fremont,” Greier said.
“Yes, but your zoning might not cover some things,” McGuinness responded. “This project is really not in conformance, but it could be if it was done correctly.”
McGuinness went on, “We just can’t turn a blind eye to the project. It’s taking place in the Upper Delaware corridor… and I haven’t read of any account where they’re [the developers] aware of [the River Management Plan].”
When it came to vote on approving the letter, both Greier and Town of Hancock representative Fred Peckham abstained, with Greier noting, “I feel we’re interfering with the Town of Fremont Planning Board.”
To which McGuinness reminded him again that the proposed school “is within the boundary of the Upper Delaware River Management Plan.”
Andy Boyar of Highland, chairing the meeting in the absence of Chair Jeff Dexter (Damascus Township, PA) injected a note of levity.
“We must approve any letter that has the word ‘symbiotic’ in it,” he quipped.
Reached on Wednesday, Conklin said he had received the letter.
“Our zoning already conforms to the River Management Plan and well’ keep [the Plan] in mind. We’re also pro-business and support [the project.] I’m sure [the developers] will do a fine job,” Conklin said, adding, “The project will have quite a lengthy process to go through. We’re in uncharted waters. The DEC and even the state’s Education Department will be part of the process.”
Conklin downplayed the UDC’s concerns about the potential impacts of the project.
“We’re not looking to mess up our nice piece of heaven here in Fremont,” he said.