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Home » » M'burgh Board to Hold Public Hearing on Housing Project

M'burgh Board to Hold Public Hearing on Housing Project

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 2/9/24 | 2/9/24

By David Avitabile

MIDDLEBURGH - The Middleburgh village board will hold a public hearing on a controversial housing development proposed for a field off of upper Main Street at the end of the month.

The board scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, February 28 at 4:30pm. The public hearing on the state environmental quality review form will be at 4:35pm at the Middleburgh Library on Main Street.

Proposed developer Fred Risse presented the board with an engineer's report and a historical review Monday night. He said that crews dug about 90 test holes by hand on the property to search for historic items. They found a "couple of bottles,” but they were not that old and nothing of significance was found.

Mr. Risee, a farmer, who is also the chairman of the planning board, suggested that the village board review the SEQR and site plan at the same time. The planning board meets Wednesday and will go over the checklist for the proposal and give its recommendation, he said.

John Wingfield, chairman of the zoning board of appeals, noted that, typically, the village gets the title and fee for new roads and streets. There is a right-of-way for the entrance road and some easements are needed, Mr. Risse added. Mayor Tim Knight said the decision to take over a street is done when the project is completed.

There are 11 parcels, Mr. Risse noted, two are in the commercial zone and the rest in a planned development district. The parcels are just under a half acre each.

He did not know the cost of each parcel. He did say that the cost for a historical report is $5,000 and a driveway permit costs $500. Two fire hydrants are needed and they may cost $2,800 each and Mr. Risse does not know the cost of the road material except that the cost continues to rise.

After the village hearing, the matter has to go to the county planning commission for review and recommendation. Mr. Risse will also let the fire department know of the plans.

Mr. Risse told village board members last September that reports from the surveyor and engineer should be ready in time for the village's October board meeting. The reports are required before the village can start on reviewing and eventually voting on the long form of the state environmental quality review report. The long form is required since there is some floodplain area in the proposed development as well as an archaeological study. A long-form was also used in the Cliff Side development about 20 years ago. Village leaders are using that process as a precedent for this development.

After hearing no further comment from the public, village officials in September closed the public hearing on the proposal.

Village officials last August agreed to leave a public hearing open until their September meeting after receiving a brief narrative of the project from Mr. Risse.

In addition to the SEQR, Mr. Risse said there is a commercial lot he would like to incorporate into the plan on the south side of the street in the development. The plot would be a quarter-acre. The development is being presented as a planned development district.

The development is proposed on a parcel behind Andy's Auto on upper Main Street

There were few comments at the June 2023 hearing on the proposal, though a resident did question board members on their role in approving the project. Mr. Risse proposed the on-again, off-again project early last year.

In March 2023, it appeared the controversial housing development might be dead before it was born after Mr. Risse told town board members that he might pull out of the project because of costs.

Mr. Risse said in March that the village zoning laws are so outdated, the planning board would have to follow the town subdivision laws which would require a state environmental quality review as well as requiring a payment of $250 for each proposed lot.

According to a sketch, the development of two of the parcels would be accessed off of Main Street and another by a road into the development. The other 10 would be accessed via a cul-de-sac.

Village officials have agreed to be a lead agency for the development.

Mr. Risse proposed an affordable housing complex about 20 years ago that did not proceed.

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