BKAA ALERT REGARDING "SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE" ON RENNER ROAD
Critical, Critical Thompson Education Center (TEC) Public Hearing
Re: In person or in writing, support the BKAA’s and a Renner Road homeowner’s Appeal to Fallsburg’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to rescind Fallsburg’s Deputy Code Enforcement Officer’s (CEO) issuance (11/28/17) of a building permit allowing TEC construction of a structure labeled as a “single-family residence” on developers’ 4.93 acre Fallsburg parcel adjacent to TEC’s 568 acre Thompson property. Said Appeal before the ZBA is on Thursday, February 15, 6:30 p.m., Fallsburg Senior Center, 12 Laurel Avenue, South Fallsburg, New York 12779. BKAA attorney John F. Lyons and engineer Andy Willingham will testify then.
1. This Permit Should Not Have Been Issued Because the Project Does Not Meet the Definition of a Single Family Dwelling.
In its Appeal, the BKAA contends that the proposed 9,328 sq. ft., 2 story structure with 9 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and 4 kitchens is NOT a single-family home, permitted as of right in the Residential/Recreation (REC-1) zoning district, but rather a commercial space, multi-family dwelling, or dormitory, none of which are allowed in the REC-1 district.
Supporting our claim is testimony from engineer Willingham who reviewed all 81 pages of the proposed “single-family residence” plans. He states, “The Building Plans are nearly identical to those of an institutional or office building. Commercial building codes are referenced throughout (the plans). The building style and construction materials, which include steel superstructure, concrete floor panels, concrete exterior panels, flat roof construction, floor to ceiling glass panel exterior, gypsum board drop ceilings, and metal stud partitions are commonplace for a commercial building and extremely rare for a residence. The layout also reveals the commercial intent for the building — a central corridor with janitor closet, four separate habitable spaces, full handicap accessibility, commercially code compliant stair railings and a data center room with IT equipment. Again, highly unusual for a residence. The intended use as a more intensive, commercial use could not be clearer.”
2. If the Building Permit Remains in Force, Improper Segmentation Will Take Place In Violation of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).
Since the project’s inception in 2014, TEC has planned to utilize its Renner Road (Fallsburg) property as part of the larger education center to be built in Thompson. As part of this larger plan, the Renner Road property was to perform two functions: (1) provide vehicular access to the education center from Renner Road; and (2) be the site of a security-caretaker’s facility for the project. Additionally, TEC has already used the Fallsburg parcel as access to its Thompson acreage for drilling 3 test wells.
From the beginning, BKAA has expressed its concern that the Fallsburg property is associated with the larger TEC project in Thompson. Even though it has been represented that the access road from Renner Road to the Thompson parcel has now been eliminated from TEC’s development, this does not alleviate concerns about illegal segmentation. Notably, removal of the access road from the education center plan does not provide reliable assurance that the Renner Road acreage will be excluded from the education center. While the road may be gone (if TEC is to be believed), the building’s size and footprint have not changed. This huge structure would remain on the Renner Road tract, built to commercial codes, institutional or commercial in scale, and ready for quick inclusion into the education center, with the road added back onto this parcel at a later time.
Evidence on the proposed building plans is conclusive. This structure will not be a single-family dwelling. And, if the building permit remains in force, the Town of Fallsburg will be allowing TEC to sidestep Thompson planning board’s environmental review of the project.
Important Points to Consider When Submitting Written Remarks
1. Written Comment Period: Present — February 15.
2. Access Lyons’ and Willingham’s complete letters by visiting www.thebashakill.org
• Go to BKAA Home Page
• On top toolbar, put cursor on About Us
• In that drop down menu, select Latest News
• TEC Appeal is first entry there
3. Use arguments documented in this Alert to support BKAA’s appeal. Express thoughts in a strong, but non-inflammatory manner.
4. Send comments by regular mail to Mr. Steve Burke, Chairman and Members of Fallsburg’s Zoning Board of Appeals, 5250 Main Street, South Fallsburg, NY 12779
If using email, send to Mr. Steve Burke and Members of Fallsburg’s Zoning Board of Appeals via Mollie Messenger: email@example.com
Questions? Call Paula Medley directly at (845) 754-0743 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paula Medley, President
IMPORTANT BKAA DOCUMENTS
Grant and Lyons is the law firm that BKAA hired to fight the Renner Road "Single Family Residence." Willingham Engineering analyzed the building. Below are links to the letter from Willingham Engineering and The Grant & Lyons Submission.