Officials: Don’t contact engineers

A sign posted in Cornwallville opposing the proposed Bosque housing development. File photo

DURHAM — Town officials are asking residents voicing concerns about the proposed Bosque housing development proposal to put their comments in writing to the board and not to contact the town engineer directly.

Town attorney Tal Rappleyea said the firm hired by the town to review the project, Lamont Engineers, has been fielding telephone calls from people about the project.

“They said they have started getting some calls from the public,” Rappleyea said.

The proposed project, Bosque Development, LLC, would build 13 homes and one farm lot with a barn on 95 acres in the vicinity of Cornwallville and Strong roads.

The project has drawn strong opposition from some in the community who are concerned with the development’s potential impact on the character of the community, the environment, stormwater runoff, well water and more.

While knowing the public’s thoughts on the project can be helpful, Rappleyea said calling the engineer directly causes other issues.

“It makes his job more difficult because he’s scattered and running around looking at a bunch of different things, as opposed to the more direct approach that they are used to,” Rappleyea said.

Not going through more traditional channels such as providing written comments directly to the town also makes keeping track of comments in an official capacity more difficult, Rappleyea said.

“Secondly, and more importantly, anything that is said in that forum is not going to make it into the public record,” Rappleyea said. “And we need to make sure that anything that anyone has to say or needs to be talked about is part of the public record.”

Rappleyea and members of the town board asked the public to put their thoughts and comments in writing and submit them directly to the town instead.

“It should come through the town board so it can become part of the public record,” Rappleyea said.

Daniel Clifton of Cornwallville Residents for Rural Preservation, which has voiced opposition to the project, said Monday one person from the group had contacted the engineer directly, but now that officials have requested that all comments be submitted in writing to the town, group members will comply.

Many residents have expressed their concerns with the project already, Clifton said.

“We are submitting letters to the town — there have been many,” Clifton said. “I think just over the weekend one of the people in our group submitted a substantive letter over the likely water problems with well water. And we will also be submitting a more comprehensive document putting all of our questions and concerns in one document, which the town, I’m sure, will consider.”

The group’s submissions to the town have focused on areas of concern members feel will impact the community should the project be approved, Clifton said.

“Our major effort is to point out to the town, which we have done and will continue to do, those areas where we think there may be significant adverse impacts on the environment,” Clifton said. “And there are many, both in the community character aspect and also some of the technical aspects regarding stormwater runoff and well water.”

While residents opposing the housing development have been vocal in town meetings and have posted signs around the community, there are others who support the project, Town Supervisor Shawn Marriott said at a town meeting April 6.

“We received numerous letters from people that are against the project. We received emails from people and spoken to people that are for the project but are afraid to come out publicly and say anything about it,” Marriott said at the time. “We are definitely hearing both sides.”

The next town board meeting will be May 4 at 7:30 p.m.

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