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Overdevelopment In Rockland County

DavidFried201308by David Fried, Rockland County Executive Candidate

The Patrick Farm development project near Pomona should have never been approved by the Town of Ramapo; and we must do what we can to reverse the possibility of an extremely overdeveloped property infringing on the quality of life and safety of Rockland County’s residents.

The property is currently 208 acres of environmentally sensitive wetlands along the Route 202-306 corridor, and it is home to various waterways that feed the Mahwah River, which is one of the prime sources of Rockland County’s water supply. So, the development of high-density housing — nearly 500 units — in such an area is unacceptable.

The original zoning on this property only allowed the building of a single-family home for every two acres of property, which is also more in line with the character of the area. Less dense development would mean that less of the ground surface would be covered with impermeable surfaces such as streets, parking lots, and home units, which would allow the regional aquifers recharge much as they have been. The aquifers wall certainly be imperiled if the area becomes paved over and the water we need for our homes and businesses spills into the streets and storm sewers.

There are also questions as to the whether the sewer and water systems in the area could even handle the increase in demand if such a dense housing development becomes a reality. There are legitimate concerns that an overtaxed sewer system would overflow after heavy rains, and sewage could find its way into our water supply, contaminating it and endangering the health of Rockland County’s residents.

Rockland County needs to take stewardship of its land and ancillary resources such as wetlands and riparian buffers as we confront our water issues going forward. Overdevelopment is not an option, not at Patrick Farm or anywhere else in Rockland County.

The people of Rockland deserve a voice in how land is used in the county. While the villages and towns enjoy a great deal of autonomy in how their land is developed, they can’t impose their will on the rest of the county when there are inter-municipal impacts on our health and quality of life.

I’m not waiting until I’m county executive to take on the development of Patrick Farm, the clock is already ticking. I have already sent letters to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Public Service Commission to bring it to a halt.

David Fried is the Democratic, Working Families, and  Independence Party candidate for County Executive.

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