Standing room only crowd attends Round Lake house proposal meeting

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Monroe - A standing room-only crowd of 200 citizens attended a Monroe Town Board meeting this week to voice their concerns about a proposal to build a private residence on the island in the center of Round Lake.
Besides many homeowners who reside on the lake’s periphery, representatives of two homeowners associations addressed the board.
Prior to the presentation and discussion about the development plan, Rebecca Withers, of Clean Lakes, an aquatic cleanup organization discussed the town’s efforts to control the burgeoning weed problem that infests the lake annually.
Although not an official public hearing, Monroe Town Supervisor Sandy Leonard opened the meeting to enable “speakers from the public to voice their concerns” in regard to the two controversial lake issues.
Round Lake building proposal
Monroe resident and real estate developer John Sorrentino has submitted a proposal to construct a home complete with a helicopter pad on the 6.6 acre island that he owns. At the meeting, Sorrentino’s attorney, James Sweeney, explained details of the project as engineer Anthony Trochiano illustrated the various points on a site plan drawing of the proposal:
The island will contain a one-family house with individual well and septic and a helipad. Access will be from a twelve-foot wide driveway beginning at the approximate corner of Interlochen Parkway and Front Street, extending northeast along the lake’s shoreline to a point approximately centered on the island. The route will follow an existing access easement.
Trochiano said the storm water runoff will be treated before lake entry and in accordance with environmental law, the septic will be 100 feet from the edge of the island. The island will link to the shore via a 10-foot wide boardwalk for light vehicles and foot traffic only he said. In regard to the proposal, Sweeney said, “It’s conceptual at this point.”
Sweeney noted the island is described in the original Cheesecock Patent (a patent purchased from the Indians under a land grant of Queen Anne in 1707). Although the island does not have direct access to any municipal road, Sweeney said rights of way are experienced in some adjacent deeds including bridge access. He said that two rights of way easements are in the title across Cromwell Hill Road and there are generalized easements for any access across the Cromwell property. He said, however, it will require a variance (from the ZBA) due to the property not fronting on a public road.
In regard to building approvals, he said under law the town board can create an “Open Development Area” and must seek advice of the planning board before rendering a decision. Leonard emphasized that the board will remain “neutral on this issue” until they receive input from both the planning board and the town’s attorney.
During the public input segment of the meeting the plan received much criticism. In regard to the proposed walkway linking the island to the shore, Kathleen Purdy, president of the Round Lake Park HOA, said Round Lake is the headwaters of the Ramapo River. She said she previously rowed a boat around the lake 360 degrees and now will be restricted to only 350 degrees before returning from whence she came. “Why should hundreds of people be denied access to the lake for one person?” she asked.
Mike Gleason, president of the Crossmen Avenue Beach Association, said “swimming, boating and fishing will be affected. No gas powered vehicles are permitted on the lake, how will he (the builder) drive piles for the board walk, how will he mix concrete? You’re being asked to move heaven and earth for one man.”
In questioning the board, one speaker asked, preceding a large round of applause: “I can’t get a variance for a shed. How can we approve this?”
Tom Carton, Fire Chief of the Lakeside Fire and Rescue Company, sent a letter to the board voicing concerns about the possibility of a helicopter accident and the fire company’s ability to respond. Sweeney said “As the process evolves, there will be a dialog on these issues.”
Weed control
Both the town board and many of the residents at the meeting were in favor of using grass carp for the controversial issue of weed control rather than chemically treating the lake water for the persistent annual growth of the lake vegetation. The board recently received a petition from 300 residents within the Round Lake area supporting the use of fish rather than chemicals. The town spends $50,000 annually for weed control in the lake. However, Leonard informed the group that the DEC will not permit the introduction of carp. The DEC yearly stocks the lake with game fish.
Councilman Harley Doles suggested the board contact state Sen. Bill Larkin and Assemblywoman Annie Rabbit to request them to lobby in Albany for relief on the ban. “What do we need to do, compel the DEC?” he asked. “Part of our campaign is to bring grass carp.”
The board agreed to request the state representatives to intercede with the DEC.
In other news
The board passed three laws regarding the makeup of various town boards:
The planning board membership was increased from five members to seven with their terms increased from five-years to seven-years.
Two alternates were added to the ZBA for a duration of five-years each.
The ethics board membership was increased from five to nine members with a four-year membership for the two newly appointed members and five-years for the other members.

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