Plains Road residents in New Paltz try, fail to negotiate access terms

(Photo by Lauren Thomas)

(Photo by Lauren Thomas)

If you live on Plains Road in New Paltz and received a letter asking you for access to your home for the design and construction of water district 5, sending it back signed but otherwise unaltered was the only acceptable response. The letter, from engineer David Clouser, was sent seeking permission to enter homes — at times that would be arranged with the homeowners — to determine exactly how to hook each house up to the new water main, as well as for the actual work. Not sending it back was to be deemed an indication that the homeowner is not interested in participating in the water district, which is now the subject of a lawsuit by some of those residents. What some of those on Plains Road opted to do is cross out the part about the construction phase, indicating that they wish to grant access for design and be asked again if and when the construction is to happen.

That won’t fly, and during a special New Paltz Town Board meeting last Thursday, July 14 they were advised by Town Supervisor Neil Bettez, who said that town officials hadn’t considered a third response option. Efforts will be made to reach out to those who sent in a modified letter, as well as the small number who haven’t responded at all.

Beekeeper Chris Harp is also trying to negotiate, although he did so during public comment. Harp, who is opposed to the water district, nevertheless wants to reduce its impacts on his business should it be constructed. His concern is that the water main should run as close to the middle of the street as possible, to minimize damage to the black locust trees lining both sides. Those trees are critical to the health of his bees and his business.


Board members also approved measures to borrow over $4,000,000 in connection with the project; $1.8 million will be the buy the land at 101 Plains Road from David Roehrs, and $2.375 million for design and construction. These are funds which are expected to be reimbursed from the coffers of New York City.