projects with more than 3,100 housing units are on the horizon in southern Orange

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:56

    New housing construction and population growth are occurring at an unprecedented rate in southeastern Orange County. And while this trend has been underway for some time, it's important, from time to time, to quantify what's before the planning boards in Monroe, Harriman, Tuxedo, and Woodbury for the year ahead. A review of housing projects in these communities shows developments with more than 3,100 housing units that have either been approved or are under review. These will contribute to a wide-range of issues, including schools, traffic, public services and taxes already pressured by growth. If ever there was truth in the "Field of Dreams" cliche - "If you build it, they will come" - it is in southern Orang County. It begins with location. An entry corridor to Orange County, the Route 17 artery is a direct link to the fully developed and commercialized Rockland County and points south. This route, along with the Thruway, the Palisades Interstate Parkway and commuter rail link to New York City provide a conduit for homebuyers searching for both affordable housing in a country environment. Affordable is a relative term. In 2004, homes in Westchester County had a resale value of $640,000; it was $410,000 in Rockland and $260,000 in Orange. The Town of Tuxedo, which calls itself the "Gateway to Orange County," has 1,337 households, according to the 2000 Census. The town has just approved a new subdivision consisting of 1,195 units. Two other projects proposed: Sterling Forge Estates and Sterling Place could add an additional 178 units. Together, the three projects could double the size of the community within the next decade. Both the Town and Village of Monroe have been planning for considerable increases in new housing construction. The village has six projects in various stages of review and development which could add over 1,000 new residents to this community of 7780 citizens. Since the end of 1997, the Town of Monroe Planning Board has been reviewing or has approved some of the 75 project proposals for 1,101 new housing units on 2,034 acres. Board Chairman Charles Finnerty estimates about 35 percent of open land remains within the town. Monroe added full-time Assistant Building & Fire Inspector John Tinnerello in 2003 to assist Town Building & Fire Inspector William Muente. Muente said that as commercial development continues on Larkin Drive, Monroe may need an additional fire inspector.