Lent Farm neighbors ask New Paltz Town Board to block off road

What used to be a cul-de-sac at the end of Lent Drive is now a gravel access road to Woodland Pond. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Lent Farm could be just about any sleepy, country subdivision. Most of its 14 lots already have houses up on them, and the otherwise-idyllic little neighborhood is tucked away just off of Henry W. Dubois Drive.

A family of white-tailed deer jumped from a clearing back into the woods as Dan Winfield drove through his neighborhood, pointing out what he sees as flaws. For one, Lent Farm’s residents aren’t happy. The large “debris pile” near the corner of Warring Lane and Lent Drive is a sore spot. But that’s not what sticks in his craw or gets to most of the neighbors there — it’s the road itself.


Lent Drive as it leads into Woodland Pond is the problem. What used to be a cul-de-sac has been extended into a gravel road stretching into the retirement center. Neighbors who invested in homes here were sold the promise of living on a dead-end street. They were told that a chain or gate would go up over the entrance to Woodland Pond, stopping all traffic but emergency vehicles. That hasn’t happened.

“What we would like is for the chain to be put up,” Winfield explained. “This is a real bone of contention.”

Developer New Paltz Views still owns Warring and Lent, making them undedicated roads not controlled by the town. That causes other problems for the neighbors. When local speedsters drag race down the road, “the police can’t really do anything.”

Snowplowing, mowing and leaf pickup also don’t happen because of the jurisdictional nature of town services. “The plows come right to the end of Old Mill there — and they stop.”

Nearby, Woodland Pond is much younger than the nearly eight-year-old subdivision, but residents say their neighborhood feels unsightly, incomplete and hazardous. That a culvert running under Warring blew open during tropical storms Irene and Lee doesn’t help the mood either.

Tired of what they see as non-responsiveness from New Paltz Views, the neighbors seek justice or at least anyone who cares enough to try to help them.

Winfield and a core of about one dozen other Lent Farm homeowners put together a petition that got 53 signatures from the 60 or so people living in that area. The Lent Farm Homeowners Association has also been lobbying both Town Hall and Village Hall.

It seems that the effort has paid off — Town Board members are due to vote on putting up that emergency-only gate at the end of Lent Drive at its Aug. 16 meeting.

Late last week, Supervisor Susan Zimet said she went with Highway Superintendent Chris Marx “out to Lent Drive to map out where the gate will go when approved by the board Thursday.”

Since the part of Lent Drive where the gate or chain might go is so close to the town-village boundary, it wasn’t clear if the town could act. Zimet said that’d been cleared up, and that while the road is still private the town has enough of a stake in it to make that call.

“Even though the road’s not finished, the town has a liability,” she explained.

Questions on what exactly the site plan for Woodland Pond and Lent Farm says still linger. “Everybody seems to remember different things about Lent Drive,” the supervisor said.

To figure out exactly what the town, village and developers agreed to will take some research in the archives at Village Hall and Town Hall. The site plan and approvals need to be unearthed.

Mayor Jason West put it this way: “All I know is the village building inspector and director of planning have been pulling the files.”

The town and village were due to discuss Lent Drive during Aug. 15’s now-canceled joint meeting. But West said there wasn’t much to talk about.