Editorial - The DEC monitors all of us. WHO monitors the DEC
On Tue, Oct 25, 2022 at 4:20 AM Edie Johnson <email@example.com> wrote: For years, Blooming Grove and other municipalities have been closely watching the project called, "Clovewood/ Lake Anne", As you can see in the picture below, numerous official hearings resulted in packed Village Hall resident response about its environmental impacts.
Dating back to a time that cottages there were used as army barracks, then Summer cottages, then a planned golf and country club, the 287 acres on Clove Rd. at the foothills of Schunnemunk Ridge has stunning views of the Ridge, threatened species, forests and flora/fauna, not to mention the very important view OF the foothills from State Parkland above it. The land carries very important preservation issues. Now there have been many acres of disturbance, deforestation, roadbuilding and the like with NO general SPEDES Permit, along with BUILDING OF A ROAD, without permit. This is the oversight that the Environmental Conservation Department (DEC) is obligated to do to protect our land and especially to oversee stormwater drainage issues that become critical with a project this size. While the site is in the Village of South Blooming Grove, residents at a regular Town Hall meeting last week (for at least the 10th time over the years) wanting to know about failures of oversite from the Village and the State of New York. "What is the DEC doing about all this unregulated construction and these code violations (along with many code changes) including FOUR CEASE AND DESIST ORDERS that appear to have been totally ignored by the projects owner in May, June, July and September. The C&D Order includes a warning of a $37,500 PER DAY fine. No one in town has had success communicating with the Village or DEC about the current status and whether any fines have actually been charged (and if not, why not?) Nor have they been able to get copies of relevant documentation (besides one official letter confirming the dates of the C&D orders) from the DEC or the Village. Comments by residents at the Town Board included "The law should apply equally to everyone." "If the Town broke DEC laws it would be fined." "They are following a pattern of going ahead and breaking the law and then talking their way out of the consequences." And it's not just failure to communicate with individuals ...an official trip by the Town Supervisor to Albany, calls to state representatives and knocking on door after door at the statehouse did not yield any satisfactory answers. It's unacceptable for the state to treat our residents and officials this disrespectfully. State officials need to hear more about this issue from the public...and should not just send the builder another letter. Show us the Money!! Just think how much good could be done to protect our environment with the fine money ($37,500 per day x four months). And while we're at it, it's one thing to build up commercial and high density properties in business districts... is this a good choice for high density housing? How about a stack of letters to the New York State Parkland offices about the studies and mitigations that were supposed to be done about infringing on protected views in this large area that not long ago was open space. WHAT is on the plan that would adequately buffer the view from the peak parkland, or will this just be another "Oh, some parklands go through areas of more population density." Do the math! $37,500 times 120 days equals $4.5 MILLION. Not long ago during this BANKRUPTCY saga, that was more than the entire property was valued at. So does that mean that technically the State of New York owns that property (sic), or would if it followed up on its fines? Finally, another resident said "This is just one more exercise in pushing papers around until the applicant says they already spent so much money on it that a judge either just lets it go or slaps their wrist and says 'Don't do it again'" If phone calls and messages don't work, why wouldn't we care enough about this land and views to write letters, and go en mass if necessary to Albany and State Parkland offices to make sure those who are supposed to monitor our care of the environment and scenic views DO THEIR JOB!