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 Legacy Ridge News

School Board Trying to Stop Legacy Ridge 

As reported by MICHAEL RANDALL
Times Herald-Record  April 3, 2008

CORNWALL - Fearing an influx of students into already crowded schools, the Cornwall school board taking steps to try to stop Legacy Ridge. The proposed residential development could put 287 four-bedroom homes in the part of Woodbury that's in the Cornwall School District.

On Monday night, the school. board approved a resolution asking the Village of Woodbury Board of Trustees not to approve zoning changes that would allow that many homes to be built. Current zoning only allows.164 homes. But that's only for openers. The board also has all but formally voted to file a court action known as an Article 78 proceeding, which would attempt to overturn Legacy Ridge's environmental impact statement, approved back in January.

And they're hoping the Town of Cornwall, the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson and New Windsor (which lies partly in the School district) will join that court challenge. The Article 78 would need to be filed by around May 8. Cornwall school officials and district residents have questioned the assertion in the impact statement that Legacy Ridge Will generate barely more than one student per home - 290 students from the 287 homes. Board president Brendan Coyne said he raised this point at a public hearing on Legacy Ridge: "If you only expect, one child (per home), why are all the homes four-bedroom?"

Anthony Incanno a school district resident who's done extensive research on Legacy Ridge and presented some of it to the board on Monday - said the developers ought to help the district build the new school it's likely to need if the new homes are built. The school board approved the resolution against the zoning changes in time to get a copy to the Woodbury trustees for their April 10 meeting. But Village Clerk Desiree Potvin' said the agenda for that meeting won't be set until today or tomorrow, so it's unclear if village trustees will act, on the 'zoning changes that night.             

Cornwall Board of Ed joins the Fight

On Monday March 31, 2008 the Cornwall Board of Education  voted, in favor of resolution requesting that the Village of Woodbury Board of Trustees not approve the two local zoning law changes that were requested by Legacy Ridge Developers and instead ask the Village of Woodbury to only allow the builder to build the 155 homes that are allowed under the current zoning.

The Board went on to talk about filling an article 78 lawsuit against the VoW with all members in favor.

 Anthony Incanno says he was happy to hear support for an Article 78, because this means he can now go find an attorney to handle the action -- with at least four plaintiffs: the citizens of Cornwall, the Town of Cornwall, the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson and the Cornwall Board of Education. He said he placed calls today to James Bacon, the New Paltz-based attorney who handled the Article 78 filed in 2006, to see if he will take on this suit as well. Incanno is estimating that each plaintiff will have to put in about $4,000 to pay for the lawyer, and he told the Board of Education tonight that in one week he raised most of the $4,000 that would come from Cornwall citizens.

"I'm trying to figure out the next step," Brendan Coyne said at the end of the meeting. He said he is planning to talk with Jeff Honeywell, the school district's Albany-based legal lawyer, to find out how they might proceed.
He'd reminded the board moments before that Honeywell had advised, in communication with Superintendent Tim Rehm, that it is "very rare" for a school board to file an Article 78 lawsuit. *

Town Supervisor Kevin Quigley attended tonight's meeting, as did Mayor Joe Gross and the two new members of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson -- Rick Gioia and Barbara Gosda. "This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I think we have to fight this as best we can," Mayor Gross said after the Board of Education voted in favor of the resolution.

The resolution passed tonight expressed the board's concern about the " financial and space impact" of the increase in the student population that would result from Legacy Ridge and referred to a “detrimental effect on the educational environment" for current and future students. It also referred to the written comments submitted by the Orange County Department of Planning and said that the impacts of the development have not been "adequately studied."

Incanno gave along presentation to the board in which he predicted the impact to the district would  be 1.5 children per household and when fully built will cost the Cornwall School District $2,049,347.00. The resolution that was passed on Monday Night said that there would be a detrimental effect on the educational environment for current and future students.  Also included were David Church's comments from the Orange County planning Board saying that the impacts of the Legacy Ridge Development have not been “adequately studied”. March 3 2008.

Monday night’s resolution was sent by e-mail to the Village of Woodbury Trustees, but it was uncertain if it would have any effect.

Stephanie Berean-Weeks, the Village of Woodbury Mayor said she hadn’t seen the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting and didn’t know if the two local laws will be on the agenda. She also said she had not seen the Resolution from the Cornwall BOE and could not comment other than to say that they will be listening to everybody. When asked if the village made a mistake by approving the FEIS without requiring accurate data from the developer she basically said that the Village inherited this project from the Town of Woodbury and that the Village took it over in the final stages.**  The VoW will meet Tuesday April 8, 2008 at 7 P.M. at the Highland Mills firehouse, 455 Route 32.

*generally school districts cannot dictate to Town or Village planning boards how they should do their job. In this particular case it seems that all Cornwall residents share this fight because a Village’s board decision is going to have a direct impact on an neighboring town’s school district. We'll have to see what the court thinks.
**If your name was going on this thing wouldn’t you want it to be as accurate as possible before you signed off on it?


Project Sponsor: Legacy Ridge at Highland Mills, LLC
16 Microlab Road, Suite D
Livingston, NJ 07039 (973) 442-1666
Project Sponsor Contact: Alan Pines




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