Friday, March 11, 2016
Town of Blooming Grove police are investigating an attack of vandalism at a planned Hasidic development at the Lake Anne Country Club site off Clove Road, where vandals damaged four wells sometime over the weekend.
Blooming Grove police Sgt. Kevin Wakeham said that although the planned 566-home Clove Wood development would be built for Hasidic homebuyers, police are not classifying the vandalism as a hate crime.
"At this point, there's no reason to classify it as such," Wakeham said. He said police are investigating the incident as a criminal mischief case.
South Blooming Grove Mayor Rob Jeroloman said, "At this point, it's a case of vandalism, nothing more than that." Jeroloman said he discussed the matter with the town police chief, Carl Schupp.
The 750-acre Lake Anne Country Club site is located just east of Clove Road, near where it meets Route 208. Jeroloman said the owners of the property, a group of Hasidic investors operating as Keen Equities LLC, bought it in 2004 and have filed an application for development with the village.
Jeroloman said a key requirement for getting the village's OK to develop the property is demonstrating that it can accommodate wells that produce potable water and do not infringe on nearby water supplies. Jeroloman said the wells that were damaged were test wells. "You can't have development without water and some means of septic or sewage," Jeroloman, said. "Those are lynchpins of development."
Wakeham said the damage might come to as much as $100,000 if any of the wells have to be redrilled. He said the wells that were vandalized are scattered in various locations on the property. Police were notified of the vandalism after well drillers who had been working on the property returned to the site Monday, Wakeham said. The property, which features back-country roads and has a number of hilly, muddy sections, is not accessible with ordinary passenger cars, Wakeham said. He could not say exactly how many wells are being developed on the property.
Keen Equities LLC acquired the property for about $15 million in 2004. Development plans have been caught in a lengthy holding pattern over scope and density, and Keen Equities ran into some financial troubles. Keen applied for bankruptcy protection in 2013. A reorganized Keen Equities filed its application with the village in July 2014.
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