A sketch plan review of a 147-acre subdivision off Glasco Turnpike has Woodstock Planning Board members questioning who will enforce a conservation area proposed by the developers.
“That’s really the most complicated issue here. Because that’s what’s really going to make this a great subdivision or not really a great subdivision, based upon what kind of owners we have, and what kinds of things they choose to try to do with these properties,” Planning Board consultant Matthew Rudikoff said at the September 15 review. “It’s always up to the landowner at some point to be self-enforcing because we’re not going to be out inspecting everything that gets done there. So the definition of that is important.”
The subdivision calls for 12 lots, one of which, some 27 acres, will be non-buildable and set aside for conservation purposes. Other parts of the 147 acres, including portions of the building lots, will be restricted from disturbance or grading for a total of 101 areas that will be under some sort of protection.
It is the first major subdivision to come to the Planning Board in at least two decades.
“It’s a very environmentally sensitive area, and the applicants have done an excellent job of taking into account the environment and mitigating as much as possible disruption to the area,” Planning Board Chair Peter Cross said.
The distinction between a conservation area and conservation easement will be something to be hashed out between the developers and the Planning Board. The developers said they did not want to go the easement route because it will have to be placed under control of a third party, which complicates matters.
“That’s just a matter that’s a decision for the Planning Board in terms of what lengths they want to go to make sure this is one of the greatest subdivisions ever. And it’s on the way to being that way,” Rudikoff said. “How are those quantities and how are those dimensions actually being enforced? How is a homeowner going to know about them? If it’s someone who is not familiar with some of these restrictions or whatever, they’re relying on contractors who have been retained to do the work.”
The land is owned and being developed by Melissa and Fred Meyer. Fred, who is Melissa’s brother, is taking the opportunity to live close to his family by building a home on one of the proposed lots. He works for McBain Associates, a firm made up of biologists, engineers and ecologists who develop ecological restoration solutions.