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Editorial: Looking at Clovewood's Future, Through A Pair of Rose Colored Glasses - By Edie Johnson

The project, still being called "Clovewood, AKA Lake Anne", though rumor says its name has been changed again, is again at a crossroads. There is a way out of this morass of growing roadblocks, which now include not only a potential of DEC fines up to $37,500 per day over 6 months, but also includes a lawsuit from Orange County over the building/extension of Mangin Road toward Seven Springs Road, without approval. That mess, along with a passing of the plate from bankruptcy to bankruptcy has blighted a project which soon could be nearly buried in fines (if they continue to work despite the Stop Work Orders) and cost of lawsuits which if combined could realistically equal the value of the land before a single house is built. And that doesn't include replacement of all of the forest area that was cleared illegally and may be required to be replanted. Then there is the future cost of removal of a toxic dump on the site.

A Way Out? There is a relatively simple solution. What if the parties involved actually sat down together to take a new look at this project that could affect the nature of both the Village and surrounding communities. A meeting of the DEC, Orange County Officials Village officials and Parkland representatives and come up with a moderately smaller revamped plan, to be built in phases so that work could begin without too much delay and less environmental impact, with a moderately downsized number of homes (perhaps 350-400, including an affordable or senior housing section). What if the plan included a realistic Open Space area that would be accessible to the public (inclusionary to the public as well as residents) and that would include a serious buffer that would protect (not just mitigate) the view from the Schunnemunk Ridge and its trails (this would simply require a huge berm with proper drainage and massive mature trees and additional landscaping). What if there were clear limits significantly reducing the size and number of accessory dwellings. And what if there was a firm and realistic limit on the non-taxable units and commercial space that puts additional stress on environmental and municipal resources? A plan similar to this could pave the way for a development that after SEVENTY YEARS could move ahead sooner rather than later, and with the support of most community members, and without being hung up by a continuing series of lawsuits.

What if we could all finally understand that this has to do with a necessary balance of people to land that must be maintained both for the physica health of the land and of the people who live there. It has to do with the economics of the space as well, because if high density impacts both the health of the land, and the people on it, both will fail, and so will its economic base.

If these changes, ones that seem relatively simple, especially with some potential economic benefits (that could make up for the reduced number of homes in return for the senior and affordable housing and environmental inclusionary park space), the project could likely finally become a success for all concerned and finally become a new project that is a welcomed part of the larger community. The people involved just have to meet in the middle and make a few changes in the plan so that it works for everyone.

Lake Anne/Clovewood 70-Year Project History

The 70-year saga of "Lake Anne's" Struggle toward growth went from a dozen bungalows in the '50's to a proposed plan for a Country Club and then inclusion of a plan for a Golf Course and finally a plan for 600 homes. Once again the land and its latest project is embroiled in a lawsuit with Orange County and potential $37,500/day fines and growing, from the DEC Its vision has still not gained general acceptance.

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