Traffic issues remain for residents

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:52

    MONROE-Consistent with the recent housing construction boom in southern Orange County, the Village of Monroe has just received the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Hidden Creek Project, a proposed 134-unit townhouse subdivision to be located on the west side of Freeland Street (County Road 40) north of Forshee Street. The environmental impact statement is a state-mandated document that defines the environmental significance of certain designated projects. It is part of a series of approvals necessary before the first shovel is placed in the ground to start construction. Hidden Creek consists of clustered multifamily residential units on a parcel of vacant woodland. The units will be served by existing public central water and sewer facilities and have a potential build out of 57 three-bedroom and 77 two-bedroom residences consuming 16.8 acres of the 29.3 acre site. A two-lane boulevard-style main entry will originate on Freeland Street with two proposed pedestrian bridges crossing Ramapo Creek for access to the downtown village. The projected prices will range from $215,000 for a two-bedroom residence to $250,000 for a three-bedroom unit. Recreational facilities will include a community center and swimming pool. The Hidden Creek Project will be located in the Urban Multi-Family Residential designated zone with portions of the site within the Environmentally Sensitive Overlay District. Construction activities will remove slightly less than 14 acres of trees (less than 48 percent of the site) and will require Army Corp of Engineer approval for removal of 0.16 acres of regulated wetlands. Twelve and a half acres will remain as undisturbed open space with a 25-foot buffer bordering the area designated as the 100-year flood plain. Despite the growing demand for housing in the region, some local residents are concerned about the potential impacts of this project: "Town, schools, roads can't take it!" said Corrine Gammino, who resides on Forshee Street, a quiet residential cul-de-sac which borders the project site. Bill Iams, also a local resident, believes the surrounding roads already are overburdened and any additional development will create overwhelming traffic problems on Freeland Street. Village Mayor Joseph C. Mancuso considers traffic congestion "a big concern everywhere." He added that traffic volume will be an important part of the Planning Board review and a traffic light is a possibility for moderating increases that may result from the project. The Final Environmental Impact Statement population calculation projects the Hidden Creek Project to potentially add 331 persons and up to 61 students to the village population. The project sponsor is KDJ Realty of New City in Rockland County. The company's director of development, Bruce Katona, anticipates that the project will probably be developed in three phases based upon market conditions. A project schedule