Weekly Feature

2015-05-13 / Local News

Mensch to resubmit environmental document to town

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

The Town Board, during a work session on Monday, requested that Mensch Capital Partners work with the Planning Department prior to submitting a revised draft environmental impact statement regarding the former Westwood Country Club property.

The DGEIS was originally submitted by Mensch, the owners of the property, last year in accordance with the firm’s request to rezone the property.

In July, Mensch submitted plans to the town for a $238 million redevelopment of the property, which is located at 772 N. Forest Road near Sheridan Drive. Mensch is seeking to construct a mixed-use neighborhood that would include residential, retail, senior living and green-space areas.

The Town Board in September declared Mensch’s first submission of the DGEIS to be inadequate for public review. As a result, Mensch resubmitted updated documents in March. However, in their review of the revised DGEIS in April, Weinstein said town officials determined there are issues that still have not been addressed.

At Monday’s work session, Planning Director Rick Gillert presented the town’s issues with the revised version. The issues noted by the town are:

• The lack of an alternative plan with fewer homes

• The sewer, stormwater and utility sections lack statistical information

• An adverse traffic impact and the lack of inclusion of a north-south roadway

• There was no discussion of the impact on existing home values

Gillert also stated that the document did not provide objective information on lighting impacts.

“That is going to change the character there, and the information on this issue is nonexistent,” Gillert said.

Sean Hopkins, the attorney for Mensch, said his clients do agree with the Planning Department that several items need to be updated in the revised DGEIS. Hopkins said Mensch supported the inclusion of alternatives to a north-south roadway to assist traffic flow.

Hopkins said he noted board concerns regarding the size of the project and also said a less intensive version of the plan, with a density reduction in the residences on the property, could be included in the final version of the generic impact statement.

He added, however, that some of the town’s issues, such as lighting, cannot be detailed as of now because it is early in the planning process.

“We do not believe this project will have significant adverse lighting impacts, but we have to get further in the site plan stage to really show the developer’s plans,” he said.

Following a discussion among board members and the supervisor, it was agreed by town officials and Mensch representatives that the draft would be resubmitted after the necessary revisions are made.

Weinstein said it could take “a month or two” before the DGEIS is resubmitted to the town. Upon Mensch’s resubmission, the town would then have 30 days to review the document and determine if it is adequate for public review.

Weinstein said that when the DGEIS is determined adequate, the several-hundred-page document will be posted on the town’s website.

email: kdepriest@beenews.com

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