The Village View development, a large cluster subdivision planned near the intersection of Locust Street. and Woodside Drive, has a reached a critical point in the approval process. Originally approved for only 28 dwellings over ten years ago, the developer submitted a new plan for a 45-dwelling development in 2018, shortly after a new cluster code was adopted in the Village.
The proposed cluster subdivision raises serious safety, environmental and legal issues, as voiced by concerned citizens and environmental and legal consultants, over the past two years.
Throughout this time, the legal consultant has repeatedly noted that the Village’s cluster scheme violates New York State Village Law. The sole response to this issue was provided by the applicant, not the Village boards, and can be found in the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement, Page 96).
The statement in the FEIS clearly misreads New York State Law and combines cluster subdivision and incentive zoning. Specifically, Village Law 7-738(2)(a) reads: “Approval of a cluster development shall be subject to the conditions set forth in this section and in such local law.”
Nowhere in Village Law 7-738 is a Village authorized to accept cash payments to buy increased density as part of a clustering scheme. In addition, 7-738 restricts the total lot count to what could be achieved under base zoning.
New York Village Law 7-703 defines incentive zoning and the provisions in this law are more closely aligned with the State Law. Importantly, in contrast, the application for Village View simply seeks to deposit $50,000 per additional lot (17) into the Village’s general fund. This contribution is not authorized by State Law and has been struck down by the courts.
We urge both boards to consider the legal infirmities of the Village View application and the requirements as set forth in State Law before any determinations are issued by either Board regarding this cluster subdivision – the first cluster subdivision since the new cluster code was adopted.
This subdivision will set an important precedent in the Village. We hold the boards and applicant accountable for complying with the requirements in the State Law. This would require limiting the number of dwellings approved to the original 28, not the 45 the developer is seeking, for cash payment to the Village.
Lugene and Raymond Maher