KEEPING A WATCHFUL EYE
CHNA Monitoring Gan Eden Progress
by Roger Betters and Kathleen Sullivan
HURLEYVILLE, February 2022 – The Gan Eden Estates project was back on the agenda for the Town of Thompson Planning Board meeting on January 26, after being dormant for a year and a half. The Columbia Hill Neighborhood Alliance (CHNA), a group that was organized in 2012 in response to proposed developments on and near the hill, was well-represented at the meeting, both in person and via ZOOM.
The developers’ new Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), recently submitted to the Planning Board, was discussed at the meeting. The attorney for the development explained that the extensive scoping document has been followed, and that 24 exhibit reports were also submitted to the Board. He added that minor changes are being made to the site plan.
The members of CHNA have begun reviewing the new DEIS which is supposed to thoroughly and accurately address environmental factors and concerns.
Major concerns the group thinks will have a detrimental impact on the community include:
• questionable calculations for water supply and demand
• questionable design and calculation for wastewater treatment plant
• environmental impact of wastewater discharge into an intermittently dry streambed that flows into the adjacent Hurleyville wetlands and then
to the East Branch of the Mongaup River
• suspect demographic conclusions such as generating only 172 new students in the Monticello School District
• 534 rental units in 89 structures possibly leading to a transient population
• 2.5 miles of paved roads
• possibility of more than 3,000 residents rather than the 1,640 claimed by the developer at full build out
• 1,100 parking spaces
• storm water runoff mitigation
• steep grade of Hurleyville Main Street by proposed entrances
• possible transformation of the intersection of County Routes 103, 104 and 107
• noise pollution
• light pollution
• electric grid capacity for the all-electric project
• 41-foot 400,000-gallon on-site water tank
• unrealistic estimate of completion of construction by 2027
The Planning Board and the developer will participate in a work session via Zoom at 9 a.m. on February 16 to review the DEIS. The Planning Board and the Board’s consultants will then determine if the DEIS is complete and in agreement with the scoping document within 45 days. If the DEIS is declared complete, in March the completed statement along with the exhibits will be available for public review on the town’s website (www.townofthompson.com) under the Public Documents/Development Projects tabs. A public hearing will then be scheduled.
The approvals and permits that are required before acceptance of the project
• Town of Thompson Planning Board – SEQRA environmental review, site plan approval and special use permit
• Sullivan County – Section 239 review, access permit to County Routes 104 and 107
• Delaware River Basin Commission – water taking allocation permit
Permits and approvals must also be obtained from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Department of Health, New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
After approval the Planning Board will review the applicant’s site plan application, which will require another public hearing before any approval to allow site work to commence.
The members of CHNA will continue to review the DEIS and to provide input on this ongoing process.
Visit CHNA at www.columbiahill.org and on Facebook to learn how you can help to protect your environment and your community.