Edwin Gould Update

Reprinted from the Village of Chestnut Ridge Reporter

From the Mayorís Desk

I want to update you on what is happening with the 156 acres of the Edwin Gould property on Chestnut Ridge Road. This property was sold to Cammersby Ltd., a very large development corporation. This parent company "owns the Woolworth Building in New York City as well as 10 million square feet of office space." they have a real estate division called Somerset Development, which will be developing the Gould property. The property has been zoned for many years for single family homes on 40,000 square feet lots (approximately one acre). All the real estate agents and developers who had come to us said "in todayís world a developer would have to sell 120-140 homes at $1,200,000 to $1,500,000 to justify the cost of the purchase of the property. To sell that number of homes is totally unrealistic."

Somerset has developments in other states, the nearest in Maryland. They came to Village Hall to introduce themselves to me and our Village Attorney. They offered to take the Village Board to Maryland, but we want to wait and see what they are planning for our Village. The father and son who head the parent company were there with the President of Somerset as well as the CEO of the Gould Foundation. They wanted to assure us that they love what they saw in the Village, and their desire to keep the character of the Village in developing their plans. They wanted to know what we wanted, and naturally, we stressed as much open space as possible, "limited housing," in terms of units per acre, and any development must be aesthetically pleasing. We also mentioned walking trails, and if possible, help for those adjoining institutions that need some additional space. We want that property to be beautiful and a development that we all can be proud of, not only in the Village, but in the County as well.

Keep in mind; we have learned over 20 years that this preliminary meeting is all talk. We wonít know exactly what they have in mind until they come in with a written plan. Somerset stressed that they have hired a nationally recognized architect for this project. NO PLAN HAS BEEN PRESENTED AS OF THIS WRITING. The reason for this is they canít prepare their plans until an Environmental Review of the property is completed. This is in accordance with their purchase agreement, and is not the Environmental Review that will be needed by the Village once their plans are presented to our Boards at public hearings. They stated that they want to be part of the community and keep the character of the Village and protect what we have now. We will wait and see. I will keep you posted.

Mayor Jerry Kobre

November 1, 2006