The massive Mohonk Preserve may soon grow by nearly 25 acres, which seems insignificant compared to its 8,000 existing acres, but is being done with the intention of better protecting the Hudson Valley environment.
The Town of Gardiner Planning Board heard an application for a lot line revision for the property at its March 23 meeting. The neighboring property owner intends to donate the 23.5 acres addressed as 1029 North Mountain Rd. to the privately owned preserve.
According to one of the application documents, the “property is to remain in a ‘forever wild’ state” which will be “used for open space purposes.” There is no construction anticipated on the transferable land.
“This would be from the base of the cliffs to the top of the cliffs,” said Planning Board Chairperson Paul Colucci. “This is land that is being transferred to the Mohonk Preserve to be protected.”
“Congratulations. It’s a great idea,” said board member and environmental advocate Carol Richman.
Because the project involves the Mohonk Preserve, referral by Ulster County is required. The Gardiner Planning Board had few questions or comments, but did not offer a conditional approval at the Tuesday meeting. A formal action will be taken in the future, said Colucci, when the applicant provides signed maps and the county’s recommendation.
The lot line revision was not the only application the board heard March 23 night that required a referral by Ulster County — property owners are hoping to extend Vista Drive off Guilford Road by about 325 feet, which they would then dedicate a portion of to becoming a Town Road.
The applicants entered into an agreement with the Town of Gardiner that 150 feet of the roadway extending into their property would be Town-owned and maintained, which is the minimum requirement for a small scale development. The new roadway would hook up to the property for which the owners are constructing a home, plans for which were also included in the plan.
“We don’t want to have situations where people are developing entire parcels of land and leaving this little strip to save themselves a couple of bucks and not building the road all the way to the property line, which would provide for additional development in the future,” said Patricia Brooks, the applicants’ representative, noting that it was her opinion for why municipalities require the road construction as part of the development application. According to Brooks, the issue creates a land ownership issue when not properly addressed.
The board decided to refer the application to the Building Inspector for comment on fulfilling the applicant’s request to refile it as a minor subdivision rather than a major subdivision. The applicant argued that it should not be recognized as “major” because the road extension is being required by the town. Engineering consultant Andreq Millspaugh stated that the application was filed as such because its parts had been submitted in the same document. The board did not take a final action, but will move forward after further discussion.
In other board business, the board discussed an update on the Lazy River Resort application: that the applicant had circulated notice naming the Town of Gardiner Planning Board as lead agency. The project to establish a campground floating district did not progress at the Tuesday meeting, however, because representatives did not show up.