Questions Continue To Be Raised About Controversial Subdivision

Questions Continue To Be Raised About Controversial Subdivision

The controversial Clearview Farms Preserve, LLC subdivision is now entering its second phase, but not without a lot of questions and pushback from the Planning and Zoning Commissioners and residents of Cornwall Avenue. 

On Tuesday, Attorney Anthony Fazzone from Fazzone, Ryan, and Ricciuti, and Darrin Overton, a professional engineer from engineering firm Milone & MacBroom, presented the plans for phase two of the Clearview Farm Preserve, LLC including  six additional houses and a zoning change from R-80 to R-20, among other things.

“The majority of this area is surrounded by previously subdivided properties. We have the previously approved (portion), and already (are) in construction of what we consider the first phase of the Clearview Farms subdivision,” Overton explained. “What we’re proposing here is a relatively simple, matter-of-right subdivision utilizing the frontage that’s on Cornwall Ave. extension. We have six new lots that are proposed. … As part of the proposed subdivision... we are improving the end of [the Cornwall Ave. extension] by proposing a Town-sanctioned cul-de-sac in order to make it more accessible to emergency vehicles.”

Clearview has been a source of controversy for several years, after the initial plans for a 21-lot subdivision, submitted in 2016, were derailed when an illegal dump site was discovered on a portion of the property proposed to be developed. The Department of Energy & Environmental Protection required that the old dump be capped by the property owners, and a new plan was submitted by Clearview that did not propose any building on that portion of land.

The 12-lot subdivision proposal received PZC approval in 2017, although questions were raised at the time as to whether more of an effort would be made to clearly identify the dump site.

This week’s meeting focused mostly on the six new homes and access to them.

“On this road — didn’t it (at) one time go all the way to Prospect? questioned Commissioner Sean Strollo “Is it like an abandoned dirt road above? Is there an easement there of some kind?”

“As I understand it, the roadway has been abandoned, there is an access way through there because the Regional Water Authority maintains a waterline that goes to the water towers on top,” Overton responded.

“Isn’t that a hiking trail?” continued newly-elected alternate Commissioner Casey Downes  “Is there access to the Blue Trail through there? Because I know I’ve hiked up there … if you go to the end of the proposed cul-de-sac and go right, there is an old trail entrance.” 

“In our research of the land records, there’s no public access to the property. It’s state land there. What you see is an old trail that goes up that’s part of the Regional Water Authority access way … there is no public access there, either existing or proposed.” answered Overton. 

After more discussion about the access way and the clarification that no sidewalks would be added to the Cornwall Avenue extension, Commissioner Jeff Natale shifted subjects.

“What is the width of the Cornwall Ave. extension?” he asked Town Planner Bill Voelker. 

“The area is around 15 to 16 feet,” responded Voelker.

“So you’re proposing to put six houses on basically a driveway?” Natale asked Overton, who nodded in affirmation.

Commissioner Louis Todisco also echoed Natale’s skepticism about the Cornwall Avenue extension being able to service six additional residences.

“(The) extension is not a town road that was built to today’s standards … it’s not a great road right now. It doesn’t get much traffic but, in your opinion, that’s sufficient to handle existing traffic from these six houses?” he asked Overton. 

“There are five houses that utilize it now, so we’re essentially doubling it, plus one. In my opinion, the access that’s there, if it is adequate for the homes that are there now, this is not going to overburden that road.” Overton answered. 

When it was time for public comment, Tracy Jewett, of 920 Cornwall Ave., read from a prepared letter, opposing all facets of the subdivision.

“I am not in favor of having the size of my neighborhood doubled,” she stated, “or all of the inconvenience, noise and dust that comes with living in a construction zone for months on end.”

The public hearing for phase two of the proposal will continue on Feb.10.

*The previous post incorrectly stated that the public hearing would take place on Feb.4.

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