Planning Board defers action on The Gables at Warwick

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:47

    WARWICK-The negative declaration was prepared but the town Planning Board did not move on it Wednesday night after a lengthy discussion on the proposed The Gables at Warwick, an 18-lot subdivision on Route 17A in Bellvale. Instead, the public hearing was adjourned again, picking up on May 18. This proposal has been before the board for nearly five years, having been submitted in 2000. Up for discussion Wednesday were secondary access for the development or allowing a boulevard for a single entrance and exit, a water supply, traffic, trees and open space. Burt Dorfman, who represented Mountain Glen at Warwick, an adjoining property owner who is also before the Planning Board seeking a 23-lot subdivision, challenged the depiction of a boulevard on the site plan of the Gables. He said his client would provide a secondary access to the new development instead of having the boulevard access onto Route 17A. His client, he claimed, is required to have two ways into and out of his property. Providing The Gables with a secondary access, Dorfman said, would be a better traffic flow in the area. Attorney Alan Lipman, representing The Gables at Warwick, had requested a waiver to the secondary access. If it is necessary, he said, the development has one but hopes it will not be required. Dorfman also said the boulevard on the map isn't a boulevard at all. "A boulevard means trees and landscaping in the middle," he said. "This is not considered a boulevard. It's a road. There must be a divider in the middle." Water continues to be discussed by the public. The Gables at Warwick is looking to become part of the Bellvale Water District, as is BCM, a proposed 42-lot development in the area. The water district provides water to 25 homeowners in the area now. But the water system in the area has a high level of dissolved uranium. The cost to correct the problem is prohibitive. The town proposed adding BCM to the district for two reasons: It could provide ample water to the district, helping to dissolve the uranium further, and share in the cost of updating the 40-year-old system. The Gables at Warwick is banking on BCM being approved and therefore the district having enough water to supply to all. However, John Lehman, engineer for the Gables project, said there are alternatives. If this development is not hooked into the Bellvale Water District, he said, they could reconfigure the development and dig wells. Or they could make an agreement with the BCM development and have water provided by them. The town's Conservation Board also weighed in with its concerns. John Duffy said he felt the open space on this cluster development was too segmented, saying just 10 lots in the development benefit from the open space. Nearly 56 percent of the land in this cluster development will remain open space. "You're headed down the wrong road, issuing a neg dec now," Duffy said. "It is a violation of the law. You must follow SEQR." Todd Vogel, also a Conservation Board member, said that ordinary setbacks on lots were being considered open space. "A lot has to have a set back as a matter of course," Vogel said. "You shouldn't call that open space." He said the board should redirect open space to one area. Phyllis Briller, a local resident who has followed the development in Bellvale very closely, said traffic in the area will be terrible with the addition of this and other developments. "This is a horrible, wretched curve," she said, referring to the area of 17A near Pumpkin Hill Road. She said she was also concerned with the adjoining Mountain Glen development using the boulevard at The Gables for access to Route 17A. Planning Board member Carl Singer said he would like to adjourn the public hearing until next month so he could research some issues that were brought up.