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Flood of concerns over subdivision

New Scotland residents pack hearing to lament drainage issues, board rebuts claims

There was standing room only at the Tuesday, May 7, New Scotland Planning Board meeting, with a proposed 12-lot subdivision drawing a majority of residents.

There was standing room only at the Tuesday, May 7, New Scotland Planning Board meeting, with a proposed 12-lot subdivision drawing a majority of residents. Photo by John Purcell.

— There are several methods proposed to control drainage of the lots, such as infiltration basins and grass swales. There would be four main drainage areas, with water draining to a stream along the north portion of the property or into wetlands, all branching into Vly Creek, then into the Normans Kill and finally the Hudson River.

Public, officials diverge on impacts

Voss said the state Department of Environmental Conservation requires all stormwater from a site to be maintained or mitigated on site. Voss also said the state requires such a development to not increase the amount of stormwater runoff.

“We have been working very closely with this applicant on coming up with some creative solutions to make sure that certainly happens,” Voss said.

John Kiernan, who lives on New Salem Road north of the proposed subdivision, said the state has been unresponsive to his letters about flooding issues on his property.

“If we get snow and rain at the same time … I end up with two-and-a-half to three feet of water in my backyard that comes right up to the deck of my house,” Kiernan said. “Personally, I don’t care how many houses they build. … I am just tired of getting flooded out and I don’t want more water added to my problem.

David Gibson, also a property owner on New Salem Road, confirmed Kiernan’s remarks and added any addition to stormwater would affect wetlands.

Shane Gonyea, also of New Salem Road, asked who would be held responsible if his home flooded due to drainage issues created by the project.

“Literally, on the last hurricane, if the water moves one foot, exactly one foot, my house would be flooded,” Gonyea said. “Who is to be responsible if my house does flood?”

Voss said the town’s engineers have confirmed the developer’s stormwater management plan is effective, but he said the culvert by Gonyea has had a longstanding problem. If the town was found to have caused flooding through approving the plan, then the municipality could be held liable.

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