Builder Proposes a Construction Project to build two multi-storied apartment houses, five to seven stores and two parking lots on three acres along Village Drive in Florida, NY, which will destroy a beautiful natural area along Village Drive.
Village Dr. begins at the intersection of Rte. 94, Seward Highway and is the approach and entrance to a new development built over the last 25 years and known as “Village Park.” The land alongside Village Dr. is undeveloped land. It is a beautiful, natural, rustic area filled with deer, rabbits, wild turkeys and other wildlife. This construction project will turn this rural setting into a crowded urban area, more appropriate to Middletown than rural Florida, NY.
The residents of “Village Park” moved to this area from congested NYC and the lower suburbs of Westchester and Long Island to live in a beautiful, quiet and rural area. “Village Park” consists of about 70 homes on one-to three-acre lots. There are many families with small children who chose this area for the safe and uncongested roads.
For over 20 years the residents of Village Park have been told that a playground could not be built in the area of the proposed construction since this area consists of mostly wet lands. Also, in the past a builder proposed building two semi-attached homes instead of individual single-family homes on this land because there was not enough land for single family homes due to the extensive wet lands. However, this project was not approved because at a Village Town Hall Board meeting the residents said it would look like the borough of Queens and not fit in with “Village Park.”
It was a great surprise to the residents of Village Park and surrounding area when suddenly, in early July, a sign appeared along Village Dr. advising the residents that a construction project was being approved for this area and there would be a public meeting held at Florida Village Hall. No one in “Village Park” or the surrounding area had heard anything about it although it is apparent that the plans have been drawn up and work on this project has been in the planning stage for quite some time. This information was withheld from the public until they were required to inform the residents of “Village Park” and surrounding area.
On July 8, local residents filled the Florida Village Hall and asked many questions about the proposed construction project. No plan was presented at this meeting. Mayor Daniel Harter proposed a second public meeting to be held on Wed, Aug 12. At the Wed, Aug. 12 meeting the Village Hall was filled to capacity and many area residents were not able to be admitted. This did not allow the public to offer their opinions or voice their objections and speakers were not allowed to ask questions of the builder and the Florida Town Board.
At this second meeting the builder finally presented a diagram of the proposed construction which contained two multi-storied buildings, two parking lots and five to seven stores on three acres along Village Dr. No copies of this plan, its details and any environmental or traffic reports were available for those who attended and no literature was given out to study and review.
There are so many unanswered questions about this sudden construction project that will forever change the character of Florida, New York such as environmental issues. How can two multi-storied buildings with 36 apartments, two parking lots and an unknown number of stores be built on three acres that are mostly wet lands and adjacent buffer land. Is this construction project in violation of Department of Environmental Conservation rules and regulations?
Long time Florida residents have told us that in the past two auto body shops were on this site and dumped their used oil, paints and other refuse for years into a pit on this land. This is obviously a hazmat issue. Adding 36 apartments and five to seven stores will have a great impact on traffic at the intersection of Village Dr. and Rt. 94. Presently it takes at least five minutes to make a safe turn from Village Dr. onto Rt. 94.
The construction project area is presently zoned for residential use and this project will automatically change the zoning to commercial or mixed use. I did not know that zoning can be changed by the Village Board without approval by the Zoning Board. The Florida Village Board plans to make a decision approving this construction project in less than a month even though there are so many unanswered questions on the environment and traffic.
This decision should not be rushed because this construction project will forever negatively change the character of Florida, NY, it is wrong for this area and must not be approved.
LINDA & EDWARD DUBIN