March 14, 2009
I would like to thank all those who came out to vote in the Village of Woodbury election. I especially thank the voters who voted for the Preservation Team; Ben Meyers, George Pedersen and Fred Ungerer.
This election was riddled with misleading and outright misrepresented and undeliverable promises by the Common Sense Party. However, around 65 percent of the voters were able to see through the smoke and mirrors, with the Common Sense Party candidates being elected with around only 35 percent of the votes, clearly not a mandate!
Actually, there are 6,350 registered voters in the Village of Woodbury, with 1,298 voting in this election, about 20 percent, with and average of 470 voting for the Common Sense Party candidates. This means about 7 percent of all village registered voters elected the new Mayor and two Trustees.
This tells all of us that staying home and not voting, is not a good idea. Why let the few tell the many how our village should be governed.
Keep an eye on your Village Board and make them Accountable to you!
Ralph Caruso, Chairman
Citizens for the Preservation of Woodbury
Ralph Caruso, Chairman
P.O. Box 211
Central Valley, NY 10917
March 14, 2009
To Ken Hall,
This letter is in response to a letter March 14th by Mr. Swiller, who continues his attempt to be an illusionist! He writes the Preservation Party slate wrote in a, “My View” on March 11th “The assumption that our village was formed to prevent annexation by Kiryas Joel is false”. Swiller wrote, “They’re right it is false”. He fails to quote the next line by Preservation Party slate, “Our village was formed to prevent the formation of other villages in the Town of Woodbury.” Swiller writes, “…they went out of their way to avoid leaving a paper trail.” He conveniently omitted the Preservation Package containing 8 pages, full with all the Preservation Group’s proposals, clearly spelled out. Swiller can refresh his memory with the content by going to our Web-Site www.preservewoodbury.org, where it has been posted, for a long time. Swiller bases his accusations upon his statement, “…it is fair to infer.” When one infers, they are making “conclusions that are suggested or presumed”. Double shame Mr. Swiller for continuing to misdirect, mislead and confuse our residents in the Village of Woodbury. Your biased self interest is showing!
Citizens for the Preservation of Woodbury
We would like to respond to the March 5 editorial titled "The Woodburys look for ways to save money." Our response is based both on what was said and how it was said.
The assumption that our village was formed to prevent annexation by Kiryas Joel is false. Our village was formed to prevent the formation of other villages in the Town of Woodbury.
At the time of the vote, there was great discord and fear among the citizens of Woodbury. The fear of a neighboring community forming a village within our borders, real or imagined, was a fear of the loss of control over zoning. If this happened, residents of either the hamlets of Highland Mills or Central Valley might have then incorporated as villages in response to this encroachment. Woodbury would then have several smaller villages within its borders and would have resulted in a huge fragmentation of costs, services, property values and governments.
It was felt that one village would be best to prevent what you call "so many overlapping governments." We knew then, as we do now, that a village does not protect against annexation. Annexation is an issue for the courts.
As far as "paying a price" and talk that it "would not cost any more" for the decision, did anyone who voted for the village think that it would be free? We doubt it. We all knew that there was a price tag attached to this. Anything of value has a cost. The goal is to keep costs to a minimum.
To respond to your quote that the vote was "misguided," we say, "Not so fast!" The village has been in existence for less than three years. Can you unequivocally say that we would be better off today if we had not formed a village two and a half years ago? Can you state with certainty that no other group, either within or outside Woodbury, would not have incorporated as a village?
Can you honestly say that the village has not had any benefits for Woodbury? We have not been around long enough to prove a point one way or the other. Woodbury voters did what they thought was best. The fact remains, however, that we now have a village, and we will deal with it the best way that we can.
Ben Meyers, Fred Ungerer and George Pedersen live in Highland Mills.
is not an option
To the Editor,
To the Editor:
In writing this follow-up letter about the threat to our community by the developers of Kiryas Joel I want to emphasize that this is NOT about religion. It's about TAXES ... and the quality of life in our communities, both the Village and the Town.
It is true that realtor Win Morrison denied he was a "front" for the developers of Kiryas Joel (see Local, June 13, 2008) after he approached a number of property owners in the Town telling them that a developer was interested in purchasing their properties. Not so long ago Ace Farm in Monroe was sold to an individual who had no ties with the Hasidic Sect and within a week the farm was sold again. You guessed it, to Kiryas Joel developers.
The fact is that it is very easy to set up a series of corporations until there are so many layers that it is difficult, if not impossible, to learn who the real owners may be. Even if the seller of property may be interested to know who the purchaser is, he or she may not actually find out until long after the deal is closed. And there is this: Why are potential sellers being offered more than their property is worth?
What is the possible outcome? Another Canterbury Green (eyesore project next to CVS)? We should all have a question for the developers of Kiryas Joel and the question is: What are your intentions insofar as the Town and Village of Cornwall are concerned? I do doubt that if we even get an answer, that it will be one we can rely upon.
We must increase our tax base so taxes do not increase. It is not just Senior Citizens any more who are having a tough time in this economy; but it is families of all ages (see Times Herald Record, June 22, 2008). A trolley from the Village to the Town is not the answer. If you are concerned and want to see reasonable development, the time is now to talk to the Town and Village Officials.
Peter X. Neuman
LOCAL -- June 13
If we don't
act, we'll have to educate 750-1000 new kids.
Dear friends and neighbors:
An old timer from Woodbury recently educated me on the
"Woodbury Development Battle Plan."
It is interesting that the Village of Woodbury became the guarantor of two projects financial feasibility by legislating a significant density bonus. Woodbury Suburban, (name was changed to Woodbury Junction), increased its original proposal from 148 to 451 homes by rezoning from RA2 to RA1. Legacy Ridge increased its original proposal from 141 homes indicated on the DEIS page 38, to the current maximum of 313 four-bedroom homes. The two projects are linked by the need of a water loop. The water supply for Woodbury Junction is three wells located in north Woodbury described in the DEC permit dated December 29, 2006. The crown jewel of this plan is Legacy Ridge. The only way the water will get from the north end of town to the south end (where Woodbury Junction is), is if the water pipes and water tanks are built on the Legacy Ridge northern parcel.
The Eleanor Seaman Trust sold two parcels (93.4 acres and 40.2 acres) to Family Fun LLC in Pomona, NY for $750,000. Family Fun sold both parcels to Legacy Ridge of Livingston, NJ for $550,000 ($200,000 less). Legacy Ridge donated three acres (containing two well sites near Route 32) to the Town of Woodbury to satisfy DEC permit regulations for approving the Woodbury Junction zoning variance. The remaining combined 128.6 acres were then transferred to Northern Ventures LLC. This parcel is also in the Cornwall Central School District.
What is going on? Well, this is where Cornwall is sacrificed on the developer's altar of greed built by oppressive taxes on the backs of Cornwall school district taxpayers.
Woodbury protects its southern borders by full development. The developers increase tenfold their profits. Woodbury controls the water source, preventing a flip (as before with Ace Farms), and in the process creating revenue sources from the sale of water to approximately 1000 to 1500 future homes, a majority of which will be in the Cornwall Central School District, which will become responsible for educating possibly 750 to 1000 new children.
Friends, I have done my part. Now it is up to the BOE, the
town and village boards and New Windsor.
Let's join forces to fight Legacy Ridge
To the Cornwall Board of Education:
I would like to say thank you to Mr. Brendan Coyne for defending the Cornwall schools at the February 26 meeting in Woodbury. Mr. Coyne spoke about the schools reaching capacity in the near future. He also stated that it will be unlikely for the district taxpayers to approve an expansion program for new schools.
Fully aware that Legacy Ridge will bankrupt the school district, I asked the Village Board to the school district, I asked the Village Board to require Legacy Ridge to build Cornwall a school, or, if that was not possible, and the Board believed the sponsor lawyer and the data he presented, predicting to produce higher revenue than costs, then Woodbury should expand their school district to Cornwall borders, so that all that surplus money could go to their school district.
The Cornwall Local editor Margaret Menge asked Gerry Jacobowitz (the developer's lawyer) if Legacy Ridge would build a school to educate the school children generated by Legacy Ridge. "No. Because there's no evidence that it is needed" responded Mr. Jacobowitz. Well his reply is just lawyer talk. The Legacy Ridge data provided during the SEQRA process in the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) on pages 62 and 63 states the following: "The excess net revenue produced by this project will be favorable to the Cornwall school district RATEPAYERS both in the Village of Woodbury and ELSEWHERE in the District and will help to fund the DEBT SERVICE FOR CAPITAL FACILITIES EXPANSION that is NEEDED to accommodate both the existing and future students of the district. Woodbury residents spoke about the lack of adequate water sources for Legacy Ridge. They stated that the Seaman Wells and other water sources would not be able to provide the needed capacity to supply previously approved developments lacking a reliable water source and Legacy Ridge. Another Woodbury resident informed the public of an additional 167-acre lot waiting for the Legacy Ridge water loop to be developed.
I recall reading in the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) about this large tract of land, and the Board replying that it was not provided information about future projects. I believe that these projects are within the Cornwall school district!!!! Well Superintendent Rehm, members of the Board, do the Math!! !! Over 1000 school children will be added to the Cornwall school district if we do nothing. Most of the information I have presented is part of the EIS. Selected data from the EIS is included in the FEIS, accepted by the Village Board of Woodbury on the same day of publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement, on January 8, 2008. On Tuesday, March 11, 2008 or shortly thereafter, the Village Board of Woodbury will approve the required zoning changes unanimously or with a Super Majority (4-1), aware that they are selling Cornwall a Brooklyn Bridge!
The strategic plan is good! But it is their plan! And the world does not end at Woodbury borders! Orange County Department of Planning has given Cornwall Legal Standing in their reply to the Village of Woodbury's proposed zoning changes required by the Legacy Ridge project. In a letter received by Woodbury on March 3, 2008, the county reviewed the zoning changes, reinforced earlier concerns identified in the EIS, and again criticizes the methodology utilized to determine fiscal impact for Legacy Ridge to be deficient for many reasons. First, it (the FEIS document) underestimates the number of potential school children attending the Cornwall school district and, secondly, it overestimates the potential average assessed value of future homes in Legacy Ridge. In so doing, the calculation for fiscal impact erroneously shows that Legacy Ridge homeowners will be paying a net surplus in school taxes when in fact there will be a net deficit! It is also important to note that under the section: Summary of Proposed Actions and Projects, the following: "The implementation of the Conservation Cluster Overlay Regulations would further increase the number of permitted dwelling units from 220 to 313 (maximum) if 40 percent or more open space is preserved."
To protect and represent the taxpayers of the school
district, we ask that the members of the school board join the public and the
board members of the Town of Cornwall and the Village of Cornwall on Hudson in
bringing an Article 78 against the Village of Woodbury, to prevent fiscal
damages to the Cornwall school district, and prevent future oppressive taxes to
the district taxpayers! Orange County has provided us with the tool necessary to
defend Cornwall schools: The rest is up to us. Everyone must be aware that time
is of the essence. New York law requires that an Article 78 be filed within a
short period of time after acceptance of the FEIS. The clock is running! Ladies and Gentlemen of the board united we can be
successful! In 1984 the public united with the Town Board successfully defended
against Woodbury, Orange County and New York State to prevent the discharge of 2
million gallons of effluent a day to the Moodna Stream. United we can be
As printed in the Cornwall Local-March 7, 2008
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I regret to inform you that our Moodna Stream, our school district and Cornwall water are in danger of being overwhelmed by a strategic development plan, formulated by developers and a group of Woodbury residents at the expense of the Cornwall School District taxpayers and residents. A flood of 600 new students is possible, from the new Legacy Ridge development alone, and will require new schools, financed not by the builders, but on the backs of Cornwall district taxpayers.
The public should know that members of the Village Board of Woodbury did knowingly adopt an incomplete and flawed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This is in violation of the SEQRA law with prior and full knowledge that 'certified letters sent to the Board following the December 11, 2007 public meeting were being lost by the United States Postal Service, as a result of false and incorrect Lead Agency Contact information contained in the EIS provided by the Legacy Ridge project sponsor for public use at the Highland Mills public library. Our elected officials must know that Legacy Ridge is the CROWN JEWEL responsible for building the water line infrastructure required, not only for Legacy Ridge but also necessary for the development of adjoining' properties! Curiously some of these properties have already cleared the SEQRA process, lacking a reliable water source! It seems that the Legacy Ridge SEQRA process is just window dressing.
With all the development taking place around and within Cornwall, this is a time that will test the knowledge, the fire and the steel of our elected officials, (Town, Village and BOE), as they carry out their chosen duties to protect Cornwall’s economical and natural resources from unscrupulous builders.
It is time for our elected leaders to carefully review our legal options. I am sure they are already on top of this situation. United we have successfully defended our area from this happening and unreasonable risks from Woodbury in the past United we will not fail to do so again, for the world does not end at Woodbury's borders.
We ask that our neighbors to the south perform a Cumulative Damage Assessment study for the Moodna Stream to protect Cornwall from harm.
The return of Mike Aronowitz
Saturday, January 05, 2008
This letter is in response to 3 Times Herald Record articles by John Sullivan 1-1-2008 , 1-29-2008, & 2-7- 2008. Link .
John Sullivan, Times Herald Record reporter wrote “Wonder who’s laughing now.” Appointing Lorraine McNeill to the Planning Board by Village of Woodbury Board Members, knowing McNeill’s history of voting to approve zoning changes creating high density development and as a member of the Zoning Board approving a 5 story hotel, is no laughing matter, flying in the face of those residents who voted against her in Nov. 2007.
It’s interesting that the last three Republicans to lose office, Ms. Conroy, Mr. Aronowitz and Ms. McNeill, blame everyone else but themselves for their loss. When Mr. Aronowitz ran for the Town Council for the first time in 2003, he ran on a platform of protecting our zoning, fiscal responsibility, improving traffic congestion, and quality of community life. I, designed and prepared all his campaign materials based on his stated positions, and he won! I have prepared campaign materials for Ms. Conroy, Ms. Gianzero, and other Republicans who had similar campaign positions, only to see them abandon their promises given to our Woodbury residents. I helped numerous Republicans that held office in Woodbury, since the early 1970’s, with many keeping their campaign promises, and some not, as is evident.
It is offensive to see accusations made attempting to implicate Republican Committee Members with a democratic campaign flyer distributed in Timber Ridge, during the Nov. 2007 election, and I can assure everyone I did not participate in its content, preparation or distribution, and to date have not seen this flyer.
It is interesting that several disgruntled Republican Committee Members created a splinter political club because they can not work together with all 20 committee members, having different opinions, of which I am only one. I remind them they too have come to meetings bearing proxy votes, as is permitted by the County Committee By-Laws.
Aronowitz, McNeill, Gianzero and Queenan were part of a flyer sent out for the September 2007 Republican Committee Members election, laden with lies and innuendoes about me. They want to silence me from reminding our residents of all the give away zoning changes they have instituted. They failed and I remain a member and chairman of the Republican Committee. In fact, Aronowitz, McNeill, Gianzero, and Conroy crafted a local law prohibiting any political party chairman from serving on any Board including the Zoning Board of Appeals, enacting it on Nov. 28, 2005, with myself being the only political party chairman in town affected by this new law. I served 5 years as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and its Chairman for 4 years standing in the way of the give away zoning philosophy they perpetrated as Town Board Members. I prevented developers from circumventing the intent of the Zoning Board of Appeals to get what they wanted and insisted they follow the criteria the law provides.
Town elections held every other November have designated political party candidates, ie Republican, Democrat etc., and Village elections held in March do not. In Village elections political party members are not prohibited from supporting any candidate they believe would be in the best interests of village residents.
All Woodbury elected officials, regardless of party, should be reminded, that even though you may be elected as a Republican, Democrat or without a party affiliation, when in office it’s your responsibility and duty to represent all Woodbury residents, not just special interest groups and land developers. Working together at the local municipal government level, is in the best interests of our residents, and will protect and enrich our quality of community life.
In the Book of Genesis, the word and the authenticity
of the faith is along an unbroken line of inheritors, the children of
Abraham. In the Town and Village of Woodbury, there is an unbroken line
connecting developers and potential developers to those who would take care
of business and the zoning laws. A majority of the elected and appointed
Woodbury town officials have served the interests of big-money developers,
with the exception of John Burke, the newly elected supervisor.