Dear Mr. Rohrman,
Thank you for taking the time to read my comments regarding a project that
is currently before the Southeast Planning Board: Terravest (2nd & 3rd
As a resident of Southeast and a taxpayer, I am concerned about several
elements of this project and would like to be assured that these concerns
are acknowledged by your board and addressed by Town officials and the
It is clear from recent articles in the Putnam County Courier and Putnam
County News and Recorder that the State Governor, County Executive, at least
one County Legislator, the County Planning Department, Southeast's Town
Board and Supervisor, and the Economic Development Corporations of the State
and county all welcome Ace-Endico as the key occupant in this project.
It is also evident that every effort has been made to advance this project
while accommodating the applicant using every tool available to regional
officials, in and out of government.
Senior housing is simply "residential development" in sheep's clothing:
This applicant is planning 72 single-family, detached homes as part of a
project whose entire property (on that side of Route 312) would not be large
enough to accommodate that number of homes using any other zoning formula in
our Comprehensive Master Plan.
While the "Senior Housing" alternative permits this level of density, it
comes with a series of requirements that are not being met by the applicant.
These requirements include "neighborhoods" which do not exist in this locale
and nearby shopping and facilities that are not part of this application.
While our Town Board should be commended for up-zoning wherever possible and for instituting and renewing building moratoriums, this project is obviously
"getting a pass" using a variety of loopholes designed expressly to allow
applications that meet none of the stated objectives of that well-publicized
Food processing and warehousing:
Ace-Endico's primary business is one of processing and repackaging food
products for distribution to institutions, end-users and retailers. Among
the products they handle are meat, poultry, fish, fruits and vegetables.
(These facts were taken from the Ace-Endico website and from publicity about
their company found elsewhere on the Internet.)
Therefore, although the nature of Ace Endico' s proposed operations were not
adequately described in the DEIS, we can assume that a food processing and
warehousing facility will have food processing waste, spoiled food waste
(including meat and fish), and chemical treatment or cleaning materials all
flowing into the stormwater runoff and/or wastewater system. None of these
likely effects were considered in the DEIS.
Wetlands & wetland buffers:
The applicant discussed disturbance of wetland and wetland buffer areas and
outlined mitigation measures that rely mainly on maintaining existing
vegetation, reseeding disturbed areas, and the creation of water detention
and water quality basins.
Those measures can not be sufficient to replicate the beneficial functions
performed by the wetlands and wetland buffer areas. Town of Southeast
regulations require a 100' buffer around all wetlands, and the buffer cannot
perform its essential functions if it is disturbed by construction
activities and largely covered by impermeable surfaces. It seems apparent
that, in effect, there is no real mitigation plan.
Implementation of a stormwater management plan is not a substitute for
actual mitigation, especially where 8 of the 17 stormwater basins will be
located in the buffer areas. Therefore, the Board should not allow any
disturbance to the wetland or critical buffer areas, and the site-plans
should be revised to remove impervious surfaces and other disruptive
activity from these areas.
The future of Route 312, Route 6 and Route 22:
Due to a cause-and-effect relationship, commercial space at the proposed
location will almost certainly induce secondary growth, including
subdivisions, strip malls, supermarkets, fast-food restaurants, and other
services in Southeast and other parts of the Croton Watershed. The
resulting sprawl would bring further degradation to the watershed and the
increased traffic would further degrade mobility on Route 312, Route 6 and
on the already over-burdened Route 22.
Cc: Lois Zutell, Town Supervisor