LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — “What’s to prevent this subdivision from becoming a religious camp?” The question came from a woman bold to ask what was on her neighbors’ …
LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — “What’s to prevent this subdivision from becoming a religious camp?” The question came from a woman bold to ask what was on her neighbors’ lips.
“Zoning laws,” replied Cochecton Planning Board chair Earl Bertsch at a July 30 public hearing, the first of two, regarding a proposed 92-acre, 17-lot subdivision called Pine Meadows Farm. This is the first major subdivision (10+ lots) application to come before the planning board in 30 years. Pine Meadows Farm is bounded on the north and east by Kelly Road and on the west by Old County Road. State Route 52 bisects it.
Bertsch explained that the parcel is located in an area zoned as a rural district. Cochecton’s rural district zoning law requires a minimum of two acres for home construction, provided that pure well water can be obtained and that soil percolation tests are satisfactory. If those conditions cannot be met, more acreage would be required. Construction is limited to one single-family or two-family home.
“That means one building, with either one or two homes in it. I think they’re called mother-daughter houses or in-law houses,” said Bertsch, adding that any other type of building construction would require a variance and approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
“What is to prevent a four-acre lot from being purchased, then subdivided and resold as two two-acre lots?” asked someone else.
“Well, nothing,” admitted Bertsch, who was quickly informed that a deed restriction by the developer could guarantee that the lot number remains at 17 and that current lot sizes remain as is. There are four seven-acre lots, nine five-acre lots, three four-acre lots and one three-acre lot. To guarantee that same distribution going forward, Alan Lord, Pine Meadows Farm manager and representative of owner and developer, New York Land and Lakes LLC (www.newyorklandandlakes.com), present at the meeting, stipulated a deed restriction retaining current lot number and size.
With that stipulation in place, the board was able to complete New York State’s Department of Conservation State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) form during its meeting immediately after the public hearing. Only a second public hearing, scheduled for Thursday, August 27 at 7:30 p.m., stands between this major subdivision proposal and planning board approval. Sullivan County Planning Department has already reviewed the site plan and given it the nod, deeming it for local approval only. Bertsch indicated that the board vote will probably come at the August 27 meeting, pending public comment at the second hearing.
“I’ve lived here for all my 80 years,” said Bertsch. “Things have changed a lot and they’re going to change a lot more. That’s because people come here from the city and want the same services they had in the city. They don’t know beans about wells and septic systems, but they’re going to have to have them and maintain them. That’s what planning, zoning and code enforcement is all about.”