During the Saugerties Town Planning Board meeting on Tuesday, February 15, neighbors of a proposed three-lot subdivision on Band Camp Road in Saugerties said the development would make flooding problems worse, while the developer argued that it would improve the conditions.
Abe and Nicole Friedman plan to build a house on the largest of the three lots, which is about 16 acres and want to sell the other two lots, which are roughly two acres each.
Surveyor Donald Brewer explained that the project should improve the drainage from the property, as the driveway would be built up and the water would be diverted through swales.
Rich Decker said the area is flood prone, noting that “the whole area is a flood plain. I could not get a home equity loan without $1,500 in flood insurance.” He said he is also concerned about his driveway being flooded. Water from several drainage systems converges on his property. “It’s a very nice drainage system for the Town of Saugerties,” he said. Decker and Brewer disagreed as to which of several survey maps was more accurate, with Decker presenting a map that he said showed the property of Hope Kellerhouse to be in the flood plain, while Brewer said his surveys showed it was not. Decker also blamed the Town of Saugerties, asserting that it had installed a dam without a big enough spillway and installed box culverts that were too small.
Planning Board chairman Howard Post said the board would look into his complaints and get some answers.
Nicole Roskos said water builds up on her property under her solar panels, and then flows back to where the Friedmans plan to build their house. “It’s a big flood area you’re trying to build in,” she said, and she was concerned the water would flow toward her house and Hope Kellerhouse’s house. Brewer said the drainage on the property would flow away from Roskos’s property, as it is on higher ground than the planned building. “It will actually make your situation better,” he said. “I know that area; it’s a giant pond,” Roskos said.
Hope Kellerhouse, a near neighbor, said the map, as shown on a computer screen, is too small to make out how the water flow across the property would be controlled. Brewer described a series of drainage swales that would direct the water away from her property. The result should improve her existing drainage, he said. Kellerhouse also questioned the driveway placement, saying water would come across the driveway and onto her property. She also cited state law that would prohibit a built-up driveway on wetlands, meaning that the proposed driveway would be flooded. Since the installation of a culvert on the Friedman property, Kellerhouse has had flooding in areas of her property that were formerly wet, but never with standing water, and she invited board members to see the flooding on her property. Post said he could verify this as he had driven past the property that morning and seen the frozen flood water. “It’s an ice-skating rink,” he said. Post suggested that the plans be reviewed by the Town engineer for an opinion on how the project would affect flooding in the area.
Roskos asked who would be responsible if, in fact, the flooding gets worse after the new house is constructed. She suggested that the board walk the area and see the potential drainage problems; Post and several board members said they would be interested. The board voted to submit the plans to the town engineer. Board member Ken Goldberg suggested that the engineer be given copies of the concerns the neighbors had raised, so he would be aware of specific things he would be looking for as he looked over the property. The board voted to keep the public hearing open to allow comment after the engineer had walked the property.