Protecting the Callicoon creek and reevaluating priorities
Our corner of Sullivan County is beautiful. Practically everywhere you turn there is a stream or a lake, stone walls abound with abundant trees and wildlife. This is the reason we bought our second home here and have invested in improving and upgrading it, and it’s the reason we love every minute we are able to spend here. We were surprised to receive notice that the Town of Delaware is planning to relocate the highway department to the beautiful field directly across from us, and we are concerned for our property and for the peace and quiet that we and our guests currently enjoy. We also have serious concerns about the environmental impact on the properties directly downhill from the site. After every rainstorm, we see a tremendous amount of runoff into the creek from the proposed site, and I have a great deal of concern about the potential leaching of chemicals and salt from the barn into the creek once this barn is in place. Further, the storage of more than 30 highway maintenance vehicles, and the chemicals needed to care for them, is also quite worrisome for those of us who live on the land directly downhill from the proposed site.
What kinds of environmental impact studies have been completed? In the early hours of the morning, I regularly watch river otters hunting for food in the Callicoon Creek, which runs the length of my property. This is a protected animal in our state and these otters live directly downhill from the proposed site for the town barn. What impact will the leaching chemicals have on these otters? What impact will they have on this stretch of the Callicoon Creek and the spawning trout here? Not to mention the nesting eagles who feed on these fish. I have a large organic garden that is directly downhill from the proposed site. How will the chemicals and salt leach affect it?
We recognize that the town needs a more appropriate location for the highway department, but why not choose a property that is farther from the creek, which is the heart of our community? The current proposed location sits directly on a beautiful stretch of 17B where homeowners take great pride in maintaining their homes and yards. If we don’t pay attention to maintaining the environmental health and aesthetics of Sullivan County, why would people continue to consider buying here? As a community, why should we allow four additional miles of the pristine Callicoon to be subject to this pollution?
I also have many questions about why the town paid so much for this 4.4-acre parcel. At a time when money is scarce, why would the town spend $100,000—almost $25,000 per acre—when, according to recent sales analysis, comparable properties sell for about $5,000 per acre? We have watched the condition of 17B deteriorate over the past several years, with pot holes and ruts covering large areas between Fosterdale and Callicoon. Is this really the time to devote essential resources to building a new town barn?
Lastly, if this project is going to move forward, will the town respect the concerns of adjacent homeowners like us and our neighbors? Since we are the people who will be most directly affected by traffic safety and, more than likely, noise, air pollution, water and land pollution, we would like to be involved in shaping this project so that it doesn’t become an eyesore like the current barn and won’t render our property worthless.
We hope that the town officials can and will assure us that our concerns will be addressed.