Pocantico Lake scoping session on key environmental issues
Nearly 20 speakers urged the Mount Pleasant Planning Board last week to consider a wide range of environmental concerns in its review of a 31-lot subdivision proposed for the Lake Pocantico shore.
The council held a public scoping session under the state’s Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) last Monday for Meadows at Briarcliff Manor at 715 Sleepy Hollow Rd. ZappiCo Real Estate Development in Hawthorne is proposing the project for the 36.8 acre site.
Nearby residents and conservationists have pointed out how the potential for massive deforestation, the potential degradation of the lake’s water, which flows into the Hudson River, as well as noise and traffic, could mar the one of the most picturesque places in the county.
Several speakers also noted that what has been submitted so far by the developer provides little detail on a host of environmental issues.
Old Sleepy Hollow Road resident David Mallett described the removal of over a million square feet of canopy as “amazing.”
âIt’s just not clear to me that the plans, the scope of which is discussed here tonight, specifically address the impact of removing 90 percent of the tree canopy,â Mallett said.
Nancy Rogers Golodetz, who lives on Sleepy Hollow Road, has asked the board to require the applicant to obtain a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers due to the huge number of tree cuts. The Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over all navigable waters and their tributaries, she said.
âThe Pocantico River and the Hudson are both on New York State’s Navigable Waters List (and) with over a million square feet of deforestation of steep slopes, many steep slopes, this development would have the potential to permanently affect the Pocantico River and downstream to the Hudson, âGolodetz said.
In addition, traffic studies for the project are to be significantly expanded, including the intersection of Sleepy Hollow Road and Long Hill Road and the extension of Old Sleepy Hollow Road, she said.
If the project is approved, construction impacts must also be mitigated, Golodetz said. Construction is estimated to take two years, with work taking place six days a week, resulting in 624 days of disruption, she said.
New Riverkeeper President Tracy Brown said the review should focus on the water quality of Lake Pocantico.
âI want to make sure that it is recognized that the Pocantico River has been used as a reservoir for drinking water in the past and that there is a chance that it can be reused in the future,â said Brown. .
Charlie Sanders, a resident of Kings Grant Way, said the Mount Pleasant Planning Board had already rejected a development for the land in 1987 because it had been designated a critical environmental area by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEC) .
âThis is not only a critical environmental area, but pretty much the same project has been tackled by this council before and their participation is critically important,â Sanders said.
Others mentioned that the submission was flawed. Lawyer Adam Stolorow, representing several neighboring residents, said the developer’s scope project does not comply with SEQRA because it does not offer mitigation measures. He asked the board to reject the submitted litter.
âSo they have to start by saying that we are not just going to look at land use, but in terms of land use, here are the important impacts that we will be looking at, here are the alternatives, here is how we propose to do them. tone down, not an insane level of detail, but what they provided was generic, not specific to this project, âStolorow said.
Planning board chairman Michael McLaughlin assured Stolorow that all issues with the plan would be resolved.
âIt’s up to us that these things are covered and we’ll make sure,â McLaughlin said.
President Jeffrey Anzevino, director of land use defense for the environmental organization Scenic Hudson, urged the board to consider the “unassailable” visual impact on the lake and neighboring county park .
He also stressed that there should be additional alternatives subject to the 31 lot group subdivision and that each lot should be part of a conservation easement.
The hearing ended with a brief Pfireworks when final speaker Collin Breen of Sleepy Hollow Road asked the board to look into the developer’s track record.
âWhat about the integrity of the developer? When is this going to be resolved? Breen asked the board.
McLaughlin ended the meeting without answering Breen’s questions.