Rockland County executive candidate Ed Day outlined a
10-point plan for preventing overdevelopment on Tuesday. Day spoke about his proposal not far from the
Sky Ridge 21 home single-family housing development
in Ramapo that had caused silt runoff into Clarkstown. Day
was joined by members of civic and environmental groups and a fellow county
Day said the Sky Ridge project on Buena Vista Road was a classic example of unchecked development because the property owners ignored numerous Stop Work orders last year.
The runoff through Crum Creek reached Lake Lucille in New City and turned it the color of chocolate.
“This plan is simple, effective, and will institute the kind of oversight and checks and balances need to ensure that one rotten layer of government or one selfish group of developers does not destroy it for all of us,” said Day. “It is also a plan that can actually benefit the taxpayers of Rockland, and lend another method by which to stabilize our fiscal ship.”
Day said his comprehensive plan called for a parcel by parcel review of all properties in Rockland that receive any type of property tax exemption to determine if it is eligible. The review would be conducted by the county executive’s office with town assessors. He pointed out the process could wind up bringing in additional revenue from properties improperly exempted.
He said he would lobby for an amendment to state law to allow counties to step in and enforce state building and fire codes if a town or village is not doing it.
Democratic county legislator Joe Meyers of Airmont said he crossed party lines to endorse Day because he is the first countywide candidate whoever dared to breach the issue and who is willing to speak out about unchecked development and its negative impacts on the immediate and surrounding communities.
“The town of Ramapo is not really a democracy,” said Meyers.
Meyers said Ramapo’s town boards vote the way the supervisor wants and the politicians are beholden to the bloc vote and a few developers. He said “it had been a long hard road” to get a politician to care about the town of Ramapo and that Day has spoken out about the East Ramapo School District and proposed development of Patrick Farm.
Preserve Ramapo Chairman Robert Rhodes also spoke about Ramapo.
“We have the violations that existed for years,” he said. “We have enforcement mechanisms that are a joke. We have judges who are so political they refuse to do anything about it. There really is a total breakdown of building and zoning and fire safety codes in the Town of Ramapo.”
Day, who is running on the Republican and Preserve Rockland lines, was joined by, civic association environmental group members, neighborhood residents and a firefighter.
Nearby Doolin Road resident Augustina Owusu said she has been quiet for years because she thought no one would listen to her concerns about the schools and overbuilding.
Now I want to get back into it,” she said. “Now I’m so grateful he is addressing something.”
Former Lake Lucille Association President William Terribile said the effects of the runoff are still visible.
“You see more dirt than you see algae,” he said.
At the annual fishing derby in June Terribile said 100 fewer fish were caught than in prior years.
Day also recommended implementing a countywide standard of levying fines of $7,500 per day per zoning violation that is not corrected by the court imposed deadline. He proposed cross-referencing utility records with property tax and zoning maps to review usage data. He said high usage in a single-family home could lead to the discovery that numerous families illegally occupy it.
Day said,” By cross-reviewing these records, illegal and dangerous occupancy violations can be determined and stopped before the residents and our volunteer first responders are put at risk in an emergency situation, and so that landlords pay fair levels of taxes for their properties.”