Ramapo must curb overdevelopment

 Community View  By Peter Katz
(Original Publication: March 13, 2007)

I read with great interest a Feb. 21 Journal News article regarding the proposed 132-unit active-adult development in Ramapo off Highview and Carlton Roads ("Ramapo residents pan housing plan").

I was quite amazed that a major commercial development consisting of 61 two-story townhomes was being proposed literally across the road from one of Ramapo's now infamous Adult Student Housing Zones. The Ramapo Town Board granted ASH status in 2004 to the 11-acre Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim parcel on Highview Road which is located just 100 yards or fewer from this proposed project.

The Journal News article was rife with self-serving descriptions of the condo project by the developer's lawyer, Terry Rice.

The adult student housing that has already been approved for the adjacent 11-acre parcel bordered by Highview, Carlton and east of Pine roads has a potential for housing close to 1,000 "adult students" and their families in approximately 160 units. The 132-unit active-adult project proposed for the west side of Pine Road will house approximately another 264 residents in 132 commercial units. The neighborhood potentially faces a population density of about 1,200 residents and their obvious cars, sewage and water resource requirements in an area of less than a square mile. That's about the same density as you'd expect to see in a high-rise zone in the middle of New York City. And Mr. Rice states that this is a "nice" project ?

The intersection of Carlton and Spook Rock roads, 30 feet from the proposed main entrance to this project, is as bad as the Airmont Road and Route 59 intersection. I live nearby and someone seems to have forgotten that Spook Rock, intersecting with Carlton and feeding into Highview, is a main artery to and from Rockland Community College. It is painfully clear that no legitimate traffic study was ever done during the "busy" times of these important roads, and to state that "no significant impact was expected at most area intersections" is an affront to the reasonable and intelligent people who can now wait up to 3-5 minutes just to clear the Carlton Road-Spook Rock and/or Highview intersections.

That this kind of proposal even sees the light of day in Ramapo when the controversial ASH site is already next door is just another example of the Town Board's sellout the town's single-family tax base to their well-connected developer cronies. I strongly urge the Town Board to rescind the ludicrous Adult Student Housing zone on Highview Road and I'll then be happy to listen to reason as to why a 132-unit active-adult project should be built nearby. Anything less will simply force my neighbors and me to take expensive environmental-based legal action against the town - and based on the Town Boards' cut-and-run history in the face of threatened or perceived lawsuits, we ought to easily win this one without even having to hire a well-known attorney like Mr. Rice.

The writer lives near the intersections of Highview and Spook Rock roads.