Lake Anne/Clovewood Draft Environmental Impact Study #2 – Submitted & Ready for Study?
Village says ” Not so FAST!”
By Edie Johnson
Village of South Blooming Grove -A project that was proposed over 15 years ago, originally slated to be a Country Club called “Lake Anne” on Clove Road and that has gone through several iterations, most recently as “Clovewood” is back on the shelf, at least temporarily. The latest plan on the land which includes over 700 acres of open land at the foothills of Schunnemunk was to have 600 homes, possibly with accessory dwelling units that could more than double the population of the small rural village, and since sufficient water, sewer and traffic concerns had not been resolved in the last draft, it included an option to cut through the mountain and take care of water and sewage needs through Kiryas Joel. Multiple significant issues remain, not the least of which is failure to pay $45,322.77 in delinquent professional fees to the Village. At last night’s Village Board Meeting, Mayor Jim LoFranco said that he will not even ask his professional engineers or planners to look at this latest DEIS version until they have paid for the previous DEIS.
Caption: The wide green border on the eastern portion of this county land use map
shows the environmental assets that are this area’s primary assets which include the Schunnemunk Ridge and Parkland, the Hudson River and related streams and tribs.
Just last year Tome Basile, running for a spot in the New York Senate, said he planned to pressure the State to buy the site for Parkland. Nothing seems to have come of that proposal.
A host of other issues plagued the previous DEIS submittal. Its “Visual Impact Study” (a set of balloons that were sent up to determine whether the town’s official scenic views would be impacted”, was deemed unacceptable. Secondly, the sewage effluent plan included discharge into an intermittent stream (one that is dry at least part of the year).
Thirdly, recent studies of the Village’s water supply show that it is already being stressed to capacity, forcing it to share water between its wells, and resulting in water that for many residents is so loaded with iron and manganese that they cannot drink or bathe in it. While wells at the site may pass muster, the town’s hydrogeologists are doing intensive studies on what additional stresses the town’s groundwater can and can’t survive. Thousands of new residents would result in a huge impact, possibly more than the town’s water sources could survive, leading to a base of what is called “dead water”. The town’s water specialists are one of the pre-eminent environmental groups in the world, having protected at risk sites in Ecuador as well as Europe.
As for traffic, Route 208, onto which the project would exit if built is already one of the busiest and most dangerous commuter and local traffic routes in the Eastern part of the county. It has flowers and crosses along the way memorializing many accidents along its route and is lined with houses and stores, leaving no space for expansion.
Lastly, the protection of the Schunnemunk Ridge, and promises made by Kiryas Joel to protect its boundaries, would prevent any crossing for water or sewage purposes.