Saturday, August 19, 2017

Fallsburg Planning Board OKs developments 

Coming off a one-year building moratorium, the Fallsburg Planning Board revved back up this month to give conditional approval to several seasonal housing developments that will add about 300 homes to the growing town.

On Aug. 10, the Planning Board gave conditional approval to several housing developments, part of a backlog that grew under a moratorium that ended on June 27.

Planning Board member Irv Newmark said although some of the developments had received approvals in the past, they had to be renewed. He said he believed that many of the developers were ready to start building.

“Some were held up by the moratorium,” Newmark said.

Projects given conditional approval include:

Rachves II is a 99-unit development that would disturb 18 acres of a 51-acre parcel on Route 42 in Woodbourne. The project is proposed as 49 two-family seasonal homes within two structures, and one single-family home.

Willow Woods Condominiums, which received site plan approval in 2008 and has already built 118 seasonal condominiums on County Route 52, was approved last week for an additional eight units.

290 Laurel Ave LLC plans to develop 22 seasonal duplexes divided into 11 buildings on 10 acres on Lauren Avenue in South Fallsburg.

The Mountain Crest Mobile Home Park, Inc., plans to add 35 additional mobile homes to its 18-unit mobile home park on Mountain Crest Road.

Mountain Hill Villas, LLC plans to build 140 units in 128 buildings near County Routes 56 and 54 in Mountaindale. The complex would include a clubhouse, community building and recreational area. The project would place the buildings on 40 acres of an abandoned baseball stadium.

Many of the developers had made applications to the town during the moratorium, saying the building freeze had been a burden and asking for relief from the freeze.

Fallsburg officials have proposed a new comprehensive plan and code that discourages high-density development outside town hamlets, changes the allowed type of camps and retreats in town and deals with congested traffic on Route 42, especially in the hamlets of South Fallsburg and Woodbourne in the summer.

The moratorium was enacted in the wake of a seasonal housing boom, much of it driven by people from New Jersey and New York City. The town issued 165 new home permits in 2014 and 224 in 2015. In the past three years, about 2,700 new residential units have been proposed, according to Code Enforcement Officer Mollie Messenger.

Steve Gordon is a Hurleyville resident who helped found the group Fallsburg Future, which has pushed the town to tighten rules on high-density housing in rural areas over concerns with water and sewer use. He said the latest round of housing approvals was expected.

“We understood that this was going to happen, and we didn’t have any tension over that,” Gordon said.

Gordon said his group has been happy so far with proposals for the town’s comprehensive plan that would lower housing density in the rural areas and maximize space in the hamlets. The plan is still under consideration. Gordon said he believes those who want seasonal homes in Fallsburg also want to preserve the character of the town and that it doesn’t matter that many of them are Orthodox and Hasidic people from New York City and New Jersey.

“We don’t have to speak in code, that’s what it is,” Gordon said. “We’re not in any way opposed to that. We just want to follow the guidelines to preserve the rural character.”


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