Inevitable lawsuits

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Editor’s note. The following letter was addressed to Daniel Whitehead, DEC Region 3 Environmental Permit Administrator. The author asked that it be printed here as a letter to the editor.

Dear Mr. Whitehead:
This letter is in response to the DEC’s April 17th advice that comments on the current draft Plan for Belleayre’s Management and the SDEIS for Crossroads Ventures’ proposed development should both be addressed to you.

Regarding Belleayre: I recommend adoption of what is shown as Plan G4.3 subject to the two following conditions: 1. Assurance that the proposed snowmaking pond not pose potential disaster for citizens dwelling below; 2. Evaluation of the benefits of extending the eastern lift into the village of Pine Hill, which would “put it on the map” as has been done with much success at most other resorts. The towns of Vail and Telluride, for example, profit substantially from having direct assess to the ski area.

My reasons for endorsing the G4.3 option are that it appears the least costly (regrettably no cost estimates have been presented to the public); furthermore G4.3 will improve the existing amenities and the skiing on the entire mountain. Most importantly, this choice will not attract the inevitable lawsuits that will undoubtedly occur if alternative G4.1 is selected.

Regarding the SDEIS for Crossroads Ventures: I fully agree that this area of the Catskills is economically struggling and that it would be aided by substantial investment. The proposed hotel and housing to be located on Route 49A, and the access road to upper Belleayre, makes sense and will be beneficial even though it would be better located closer to Route 28 and the lower parking lot.

However, as to that part of the Crossroads Ventures’ plan which proposes a second hotel and additional housing on the west portion of their property, I take strong objection for the following reasons: 1. This whole proposed development to the west is intertwined with property to be purchased by the State of New York from the developer, which is sure to attract lawsuits. 2. It is miles from available and necessary infrastructure such as sewer, water, safe access, and the state highway. 3. It would introduce unwanted traffic onto Dry Brook Road and at night create illumination pollution for many viewsheds.

To summarize, I believe the majority of the development proposed by Crossroads, namely that below Route 49A, is worth approval although so far the proponents’ related Emerson project on Route 28, I am told, does not operate at a profit. Hopefully the operators of the Crossroads Ventures can reverse this trend.

It is in no one’s interest to see a project approved that is not built; worse, to see a project built which proves financially unsuccessful. To avoid both these possibilities the proponents of the Crossroads Project should be required to commit to its financing.

Kingdon Gould Jr.
Laurel, MD