Story by Katie Krahulik
The Warwick Village Board met on Mon., Jun. 17 and viewed a presentation by Kirk Rother, the civil engineer for Village View, the cluster subdivision spanning about 20 acres on the corner of Woodside Dr. and Locust St. in Warwick. The new plan features a reduced scale from the prior design introduced in 2011, as per requests from the public and Village Board.
Compared to the 45 single-family lots previously drafted, the new plan, which is called the Reduced Scale Alternative Plan, is projected to have 42 dwellings, featuring 10 two-family dwellings and 32 single-family dwellings. The revised plan also eliminated a crossing to Locust St., preserving all wetlands and preventing any disturbance within 100 feet of the wetlands.
Rother said that they went back to the drawing board after receiving feedback on the former plan, hoping to adopt suggestions into a new design.
“The Planning Board has decided that they should pursue the SEQR review of this plan using a supplemental environmental impact statement. So we’re basically redoing the SEQR process almost from scratch,” Rother said.
The applicant also plans on putting up 25 additional homes in the Town of Warwick. A traffic study is being redone for the new plan as well as for the 25 additional homes. Rother explained that the new plan accounts for sidewalks on both sides of the roads. He also said they increased the amount of open space on the plan.
The amount of open space will be about 45 percent of the property, an increase of nearly 10 percent compared to the prior proposal. Village View anticipates a road connection between the cluster subdivision and the Town property hosting the 25 additional properties.
Rother questioned the Board about the cluster fees to be paid for each lot and whether the fee should be the same for a two-family unit as a single-family unit. He said it doesn’t make much sense to them in the interest of trying to make the two-family dwellings a marketable unit at a lower sale price.
Residents of Woodside Dr. and Locust St. expressed frustration over the Village View proposal during the Privilege of the Floor.
Raymond Maher, of Woodside Dr., called Village View’s plan a “money-grab,” stating that it is too many houses for that property and that it doesn’t fit in with the community. He called Village View a bad neighbor.
“This is the fourth variation of this plan. The impression of the people who live in this community is that whenever they get caught, they just slide things around. They got caught building on a 25 percent grade, they got caught building too close to wetlands…they slide things around. They got caught recently about having too many units. They reduced the units and they slide things around,” Maher said.
Maher continued, “They’re in it for the money. Rockland County is out of land. This developer is from Rockland County. They want to do to Warwick what they did to Rockland County. There’s going to be an influx of these developers. This has to be done correctly because we’re not going to see the end of it.”
Sharing similar concerns was Locust St. resident Polly Vanderkruik who said, “You cannot open a local newspaper, the Times Herald Record, without seeing a story about a developer who went in, following codes doing all of this – everything is right on paper, but they get in there and they do what they want to do because paying the fine is part of the cost of doing business.”
Vanderkruik also has serious qualms over the amount of traffic the development will bring to the community, having said it is getting harder and harder to pull out of her driveway.
Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard responded to the complaints saying, “As far as the planning process goes, which is through New York State, the SEQR process, we do have to look at that and ultimately have hope and faith that that will be done correctly. What happens after that and how that is watched and what’s being done, again, we hope we can put things in order so that they can be watched very carefully if something is being built.”
Mayor Newhard encouraged everyone to be vocal with comments and concerns. He said, “I urge everyone in this room who has a comment to make that comment. Make your voice loud and clear through a written comment. It doesn’t have to be enormous; it can be an email. Those things can make a difference. I truly believe that.”
Organizers Report Success in EarthFest Activities
Melissa Shaw-Smith, Elizabeth Knight, and Peyton Swenson, organizers involved with Warwick’s EarthFest, commended the Village Board and the Department of Public Works for their support in the day’s activities and programs. They reported a successful turnout that exceeded 500 people.
Elizabeth Knight and Peyton Swenson spoke about Too Good to Toss, an event that collects items in good shape and recycles them by giving them back to the community. Swenson noted that within the first two hours of the event’s commencement, they saw 400 people.
Roger Moss reminded the Board that these activities and programs give points to the municipality for being a climate-smart community.
“I’d like to appeal to you this year to think about the ways in which the Village in collaboration with the Town and the county could qualify for grants for doing nothing different than what we’re doing but get grant money from the state to expand programs,” Moss said.
Mayor Newhard said he had a meeting the following morning with the Village grant-writer and it will be on the agenda.
Letters from Loved Ones Request Identification Cards
Several individuals seeking identification cards to be able to work and reside in the community dropped off piles of letters from family and friends, detailing the importance of issuing these ID cards and sending thanks to the Board. The letters express the pride their loved ones feel in having some sort of identification.
Mayor Newhard said their legal counsel is comparing municipal ID programs in multiple municipalities and that they are working toward it.
Announcements from the Village Board
The Village Board passed a local law which restricts parking inside the bend on Wheeler St., on part of the western side of Elm St., and on about 30 feet of Park Ln. Shortly, the streets will be marked with “No Parking” signs and either yellow, blue or red striping will be added to indicate no-parking zones, Trustee Bill Lindberg explained.
Trustee George McManus reminded the community that school ends this week and asked residents to extend more caution on the roads with more kids and pedestrians in the Village.
The next Village Board meeting will be held on Mon., Jul. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Village Hall, located at 77 Main St. in Warwick.