Letter: Withholding safe water from one’s neighbors is unconscionable

The creation of Water District 5 (WD5), designed to supply the Town of New Paltz (NP) with water during aqueduct maintenance, has been halted due to three litigious Plains Road (PR) residents. The proposal provided for the DEP to fund the creation of a water district (on a parcel on PR) to supply NP with water temporarily, with the stipulation that if needed the town would be able to tap into it. The PR community would have the option to hook into the public water and would be provided with a few years of free water from DEP funds. There was contention about this among a group within the PR community. A petition was signed with 60% + of the community supporting the project, overriding the objections. This was enough to move the project forward, until three people sued the town. Despite months of negotiations, the litigants and the municipality have been unable to agree on terms of a compromise. Seemingly, nothing will satisfy these people who gamed the system with their lawyer-friend who serves their personal interests of maintaining their unobstructed views. The named litigant has said that each of the opponents have different rationales for the suit (addressing the manner in which the water district was created), however, actual reasons have little to do with this alleged purpose. Some who own businesses (in our residential neighborhood) fear they will use more than the allotted amount of free water. Others, despite assurances from engineers, insist they are saving the aquifer. Still others fear government intrusion in their utilities.

The majority of the Plains Road community is in favor of WD5. We have watched the decline of our own water quality with the building of new homes and the renovation of previously uninhabitable ones. Many of these new and refurbished homes have apartments and outbuildings turned into rental properties, adding to the drain on our water. Residents who have lived here for 30 years note a marked difference in the water quality. Some homes have dangerous levels of toxins in their wells and all worsened with development.

The ease with which these litigants ignore the dire situation their neighbors face is distressing. One of my neighbor-friends recently said that it’s like the haves versus the have-nots….NP’s 1%, backed by its cadre of supporters, using its resources to beat out the majority. So far, this lawsuit will cost the taxpayers of NP over $50,000. Now it’s up to the judge to decide. If he decides favorably for the WD, and the litigants don’t appeal, the DEP will reimburse the town; if not, the taxpayers pay $50,000 plus.


The opponents are a small, arrogant, elitist group within our neighborhood who believe that because they have the resources it’s okay to use their power to override the majority. Withholding safe water from one’s neighbors is unconscionable to most good people. We now know which neighbors have compassion for others and which do not.

Rebecca Litchfield, Jeanne Reynolds
Thomas A. Nolan, David Wheeler
Cynthia Listort, Suesette White, Irene S. Adams
Angela Webster, Barbara Speedling
Roy T. Speedling, Jason Iahn, Paul Hubbard
Robert A. Casciaro, Cheryl L. Casciaro
James Connors, Sara Healy, Sean Healy
Kristen Zigouras, Rhett D. Weires, Stefan Bolz
Melanie Hill, Leslie Merriman, Nataly Zatuchny
MaryGrace Renella, Christopher Frenza
New Paltz

There are 3 comments

  1. Cathy

    It’s a real shame that this paper allowed this to be spread thru our community! They should have at least gotten a quote from one of the “three” that oppose it! Shame on you!!!!

    1. Upstate Guy

      No, Cathy, shame on you. This isn’t the wild west of the 1800s. This is 2017, and we are seeing through the hideous belief system and conduct of the lunatic(s) in the White House that ‘every man for himself’ is NOT the way to go. It is actually immoral, and obnoxious. Anyone who doesn’t support EVERYONE in their community, because TRUTH IS we need eachother, might consider taking your lone-wolf mentality and giving it a go in the deserts of Iraq or Syria. Those places seem to relish in fighting and spiting their neighbors. Here, we don’t want that. Maybe its time to move?

      1. Susan

        Upstate Guy, you seem to forget it was the United States that started the war in Iraq. We are quite capable of fighting and spiting our neighbors here and well as over there.

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