Feller Newmark subdivision not short-sighted, developer contends

Red Hook planners get new estimates on visibility and traffic volume

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The developer of the proposed 11-unit development on a new cul-de-sac to be built on Feller Newmark Road returned to the Red Hook Planning Board Nov. 19 for the ongoing public hearing on the controversial project.

An August public hearing, attended by about 100 residents and neighbors of the proposed development, heard overwhelming opposition to the development, to be called Preserves at Lakes Kill. Critics focused mainly on whether the entry road to the cul-de-sac would have adequate sight distance.

The proposed road would be located on a tight turn along Feller Newmark, and a number of critics claimed that the sight distance numbers listed on the proposal were overstated and that the actual distances were inadequate. After the hearing, an email from one of the applicant’s engineers provided revised sight distances that showed the access road would, in fact, fall below required visibility minimums. The letter recommended lowering the speed limit on Feller Newmark and adding “dangerous curve” signs.

At the latest hearing, the developer came armed with new numbers.

“Since we met with you last time, we decided to take a harder look at the traffic situation out there and sight distance. We’ve re-measured sight distances, we’ve done a traffic analysis,” said Michael Bodendorf, a representative for the developer, Landmark Properties.

The analysis reported that: there would be an additional 15 cars on Feller Newmark during each peak hour, that Feller Newmark is considered a very low-volume roadway, and that it would still qualify as such after the development is built.

Based on all that, Bodendorf said that shorter sight line distances of 205 feet are acceptable using AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) standards.

But he also suggested again straightening the curve on Feller Newmark by the proposed cul-de-sac entry.

“We can meet sight distance to the right. However, by doing that sight distance to the left is a bit shy of what’s required,” Bodendorf said. “So there will need to be some road — we need to cut down the road a little bit, the vertical curve [to the east]… We will prepare plans that show the mitigation to the road.”

Town and county codes require at least 300 feet of sight distance for a flat, 35 MPH road, almost 50 percent more than the AASHTO standards. The current speed limit at the Feller Newmark is 35 MPH on a sloped turn in the road.

The planning board also received a letter from Hayley Carlock on behalf of Scenic Hudson urging careful attention to safety issues involving the location of the new entry road and expressing concern about the impact of traffic on nearby farms.

“There are two farms currently in operation along both the north and south sides of the road,” Carlock wrote, “and the potential site-generated traffic would likely make it difficult and potentially dangerous for existing agricultural operations to move livestock or drive farm equipment along and across Feller Newmark Road.”

The planning board referred the developer’s proposal to the Agriculture and Open Space committee, the Red Hook Town Highway department and town engineer for comment.

The public hearing on the project continues on Dec. 17 at 7:30pm at Red Hook Town Hall.

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