Opponents of proposed Round Lake island home win first round

| 22 Feb 2012 | 01:57

    Monroe Town planners oppose zoning change, By Claudia Wysocki MONROE - The Monroe Town Planning Board does not support the creation of an Open Development Area, which would allow a developer to build a home on an island in the middle of Round Lake. The 6.6 acre island was purchased by real estate developer John Sorrentino, who plans to construct a home complete with a helicopter pad. He proposed a house with a causeway leading from the island to the mainland. The lake is a popular recreation site within the community and where the town maintains a paddle boat facility. Area residents balked at the prospect of losing their island whose waters are used for boating and fishing. The issue also managed to make its way on to Facebook where hundreds signed on to oppose the proposal. “I’m very happy the planning board decided not to recommend the Open Development Area,” Kathleen Purdy, president of the Round Lake Homeowners Association, said this week, “and hope the town board listens to the planning board’s recommendations.” Because the property does not front on a public road, Sorrentino’s proposal requires a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals. Before approval can be given, however, the town board must create an Open Development Area. According to state law, the town board needs input from the planning board. Safety and health issues The planning board was given the task of whether the Open Development Area should be approved and whether it should be a part of the town code. The planning board cited health and safety issues in its recommendation not to approve the Open Development Area. Those centered on the ability for emergency vehicles to reach the island and potential pollution from a septic tank into the lake. The lake is part of the headwaters of the Ramapo River which provides the water supply to communities downstream. Other issues included visual impact of the scenic value of the lake as well as the impact on water quality, fish and wildlife habitat. Town Board to decide The issue is now in the town board’s court. Town Supervisor Sandy Leonard said the town board will have the final say, although she did not say when the board will decide. Meanwhile, Sorrentino’s attorney James Sweeney said he was disappointed in the planning board’s finding. “Hopefully,” he said, “the town board will recognize his rights to develop and will act with judicial caution.” Furthermore, he added: “If the town feels the site to be public - it should purchase it.”