Falcon Ridge issued positive declaration

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 1/24/24

Last week the Lloyd Planning Board voted unanimously to issue a Positive Declaration of Environmental Impact on a proposed residential subdivision located on 520 acres off of Upper North Road and is …

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Falcon Ridge issued positive declaration


Last week the Lloyd Planning Board voted unanimously to issue a Positive Declaration of Environmental Impact on a proposed residential subdivision located on 520 acres off of Upper North Road and is known as Falcon Ridge. Developer Dan Gueron is seeking to build 166 homes, each on .33 of an acre; one acre is 43,560 square feet and .33 equals 14,375 square feet.

In land development a Positive Declaration is a term used in the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process in New York State. It is a determination made by the agency that there may be one or more significant adverse environmental impacts from a proposed action. It requires that an Environmental Impact Statement [EIS] be prepared and submitted by the developer and that it be made available for public review.

In their Positive Declaration resolution the Planning Board noted that the developer is asking permission to build an on-site private wastewater treatment plant. Initially, the developer stated that he would build a pipeline from his site, down Route 9W and connect it with the town’s system at Grand Street. After realizing the significant cost, he has been requesting the on-site plant, something the town has stated they are against, in part because should it fail and the developer is long gone, the cost to run and maintain it would fall upon the taxpayers of the Town of Lloyd. In addition, the developer has refused the suggestion to build his homes on larger lots so that wells and septic systems would have the necessary room to be installed. He stated that this would negatively impact his bottom line, without any objection from the Town and Planning Boards. The developer failed to fully explain to the boards that if he was required to make the lots larger he would not be able to get his desired 166 homes and thus realize the profit he is seeking.

The Planning Board noted a number of impacts the project may pose: to the wetland crossing and erosion; to plants and animals in the area; to losing farmland and/or prime agricultural soils; to sensitive historic and archaeological resources; to an increase in traffic in the area of Upper North Road; to impacting energy consumption, increased noise, odors and light [from blasting]; possible contamination from herbicides and pesticides due to the lands prior agricultural use; whether the project is consistent with the town’s Comprehensive Plan and Affordable Housing regulations and whether the project is compatible with the community character.

Previously, it was noted that the view-shed might be an issue, since the parcel can be seen from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s property in Hyde Park. A representative of the FDR home had weighed in on this matter with a letter to the town, stating they will follow the progress of the project. In addition, a stream that traverses the property eventually flows into the Hudson River but not before passing through property that is owned by Scenic Hudson, the valley’s largest environmental organization. On their website Scenic Hudson highlights their legacy, stating they were founded in 1963, “to save the iconic Storm King Mountain (in Cornwall) from a destructive industrial project. Scenic Hudson is credited with launching the modern grassroots environmental movement. In the face of new and ongoing challenges, as well as the effects of climate change, we remain committed to making the Hudson Valley a great place to live, work and play by preserving and strengthening the region’s great assets; [its] beautiful open spaces, working farms, and historic cities and town centers.”

The resolution states that the developer shall submit a proposed scope to the Planning Board that contains (1) a brief description of the proposed action; (2) the potentially significant adverse impacts identified both in Part 3 of the Environmental Assessment Form [EAF] and as a result of consultation with the other involved agencies and the public, including an identification of those particular aspect(s) of the environmental setting that may be impacted; (3) the extent and quality of information needed for the preparer to adequately address each impact, including an identification of relevant existing information, and required new information, including the required methodology(is) for obtaining new information; (4) an initial identification of mitigation measures; and (5) the reasonable alternatives to be considered.

The Planning Board will provide a copy of the draft scope to all involved agencies and make it available to any individual or interested agency that has expressed an interest in writing to the Planning Board. A copy of the draft scope will be posted on the Town of Lloyd website and an opportunity for public comment on the draft scope will be provided in writing and at a Planning Board meeting.

Project attorney Andrew Gilchrist submitted a letter to the Planning Board on December 7, 2023 to address a few points in the EAF; the freshwater impacted by construction is expected to be about 5,000 sq/ft, which he characterized as ‘small’.

Concerning wastewater effluent limitations and storm water management, Gilchrist noted that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation [DEC] has limitations that this project will adhere to, and any impact he categorized as ‘small’.

Gilchrist also noted that the DEC has identified the northern cricket frog and the bald eagle as threatened or endangered species and the Hemlock- Northern Hardwood forest as a natural community and he wrote that the impacts will also be ‘small’, in part, because the project is being proposed as a Conservation Subdivision.

Gilchrist wrote that any archaeological or cultural impact will be investigated by the proper state agencies and he expects any impact to be listed as small. He also stated that the project will have no impact upon Human Health.

Gilchrist stated that since the project is being proposed as a Conservation Subdivision, it will preserve as much open space as possible and the project should be regarded as being consistent with the town’s community character.