Letter: Proposed Feller-Newmark development unsafe, unfair

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A Long Island developer proposes a major subdivision for Feller-Newmark Road in the largest block of protected farmland in Red Hook. There are 54 residents, landowners and farmers living along the road. We unanimously oppose this development for many reasons.

Most important, the proposed development threatens public safety. Located on a sharp curve on one of the town’s most dangerous rural roads, its entrance fails minimum sightline requirements. Just last week a van left the road, went airborne, and smashed to a stop on a boulder next to the proposed entrance. More traffic, more injuries! And the development generates at least 100 additional car trips a day; more cars, more speed, more accidents. Not to mention the threat to adjoining working farms whose daily operations would be severely impacted by greatly increased traffic.

The developer seeks a waiver from minimum public road frontage requirements. If granted, he could build nearly four times the number of houses than are otherwise permitted on the property. This special treatment would set a dangerous precedent whereby houses could be constructed with little or no road frontage. If every landowner were given the same “opportunity,” it could lead to as many as 1,700 houses on Feller-Newmark alone and who knows how many more than that throughout the town of Red Hook!

A number of large, expensive houses jammed onto the banks of the Sawkill’s main tributary, the Lakes Kill, risks undoubted further pollution. Also, the developer seeks to have the Dutchess County Water and Wastewater Authority use its resources to operate an unproven community septic system, sited within 300 feet of the Lakes Kill.

The development threatens farming in the area because it is within the new Agricultural Business District. It would force farmers to drive their equipment through a suburban cul-de-sac to reach their fields. Approval of this major subdivision would constitute failure of the new Centers and Greenspaces initiative, making a mockery of Red Hook’s intent to preserve and protect our farmland, open spaces and rural character.

Finally, the proposal raises everyone’s taxes because subdivisions consume more public services than they pay for, while agriculture and open spaces do not.

Now, after two years without an opportunity to express their concerns, Red Hook residents can finally comment on this precedent-setting proposal at a public hearing on Monday, August 20, 2012 at 7:35 p.m. in the Town Hall.
Please speak out with us to protect Red Hook. Log on to www.savefellernewmark.com to sign our letter.

The Residents of Feller-Newmark Road
Red Hook

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