Saturday, May 21, 2005

Latest 652 Development Information

Most of you have already read the May 20 front page Freeman article on the public informational meeting conducted by the Hurley Planning Board and the developer on May 18. If not, you may want to click onto it in the column on the right. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION • Darren Davidowich of U.S. Homes, soon to change its name to Lennar, gave the attendees a long sales presentation on the houses which will range from almost $300,000 for the 3,600 square foot duplexes to almost $400,000 for the 3,600 square foot detached houses. Currently, the median price of an Ulster County home is about $220,000. A November 28, 2004 Freeman article quoted Chester Straub, president of the Ulster Country Development Corporation, as saying that the median family income in the county is under $57,000 a year. This family, he said, may be able to secure a mortgage in the $130,000-$160,000 range, but not more. • Most of the audience’s questions were taken by Geraldine N. Tortorella, an attorney with the firm of Hocherman Tortorella & Wekstein, LLP, One North Broadway, White Plains, NY 10601. As the Freeman headline stated, “Hurley residents get few answers about gated community.”Ms. Tortorella has written that the limited liability company, Hurley 209 Company, LLC, is a joint venture between Tomlew and U.S. Home. Tomlew will be primarily responsible for the development approval process while U.S. Home will handle the buildout of the project. • Tomlew’s head is Richard Lewis who is based in Newburgh. He was at the May 18 meeting, but did not speak. Tomlew, under the name of Tomlew of Pine Plains, LLC, is in the process of developing a project in Pine Plains of 280 residential units, 7 office buildings and a grocery store on land purchased from a local farmer and the town supervisor. Tomlew is also incorporated as Tomlew of Gardiner LLC. At the May 18 meeting, the developer did not rule out construction of commercial buildings at or near the site. • Lennar, see This Miami-based corporation is one of the largest in the country in its field and has constructed 45 “active adult” communities across the U.S. This would be the first in New York. None are in New England; the nearest are in New Jersey which has three with the largest in Waretown, near the shore, with 1,400 houses. By “active adult” they mean that one person in the household must be 55 or older. • A recent issue of CNN Money says that Lennar is not only in the construction and home sales business, it also has a financial services section that provides mortgage financing, title insurance, closing services and insurance agency services to the buyers of its group homes and others. In addition, it provides high speed Internet access, cable television and alarm installation and monitoring services. • A lead agency for this development has yet to be decided. The lead agency is very important because it oversees and sets the direction of the inquiry. Dan Shuster, the Hurley town consultant, noted at the May meeting that this agency could be any of many involved agencies including the Hurley Planning Board or Town Board, the Ulster County Planning Board, Department of Highways and Bridges or Department of Health, or the State Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Health or Department of Transportation or even the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In addition, Marbletown and Rosendale have requested status as “interested agencies.” • One Hurley resident claims there are Indian burial grounds on the site which should be investigated and marked. • Traffic. The development must still procure permission for a road cut onto the controlled access highway, U.S. Route 209, from the State Department of Transportation. The only exception to DOT’s access-control rules has been for the state police barracks. The developer has proposed a traffic light at the site. Others have requested a public connector road there between 209 and Lucas Avenue. • Water. The project is expected to generate a daily water demand of 250,000 gallons. Outflow from the sewage treatment plant is to go into Mill Creek which flows very close to the main Hurley/Marbletown aquifer where most of the towns’ drinking water arises. The proposed site is currently full of bore holes for water, sites which were accessed by bulldozers. Residents are strongly urged to take a walk through the area to see the resulting damage to the woodlands. • The development must be built under the provisions of the PRD (Planned Residential Development) provisions of Hurley’s local zoning laws. The Town Zoning Code states that “In order to carry out the intent of this section, a PRD shall achieve the following objectives: a) A maximum choice in the types of environment, occupancy, tenure, types of housing, lot sizes and community facilities available to existing and potential town residents at all economic levels. b) Flexibility in the location and design of small scale nonresidential uses which support and are compatible with residential areas. c) The preservation of trees, outstanding natural topography and geologic features and prevention of soil erosion. d) A creative use of land and related physical development which allows an orderly transition between lands of differing characteristics. e) An efficient use of land resulting in smaller networks of utilities and streets. f) A development pattern in harmony with the objectives of the Town of Hurley Comprehensive Plan.” • A draft of the upcoming Hurley Comprehensive Plan states: “The general consensus of the citizens of Hurley was to maintain the rural character of the community and our township. They were concerned that overdevelopment would change Hurley and its culture. They did not want to see Hurley become a victim of urban sprawl and wanted to maintain the rural atmosphere, peace and quiet of this uniquely residential town.”