Supervisor Marino recently had his board vote on an agreement with Palmer Development Corp. of Yonkers NY to provide certain "service"s. Supposedly they were to look for developers who would make use of the Letchworth property. SPACE requested a copy (under the Freedom of Information Act) of the agreement the next day - it turns out that the document "had not been completed" by the town attorney; we got it a week later, and wondered whether the board actually knew what it was they were voting on. We read it and discovered that it would have Palmer Development do Stony Point's Master Plan as well as find developers - and all town land is up for grabs! See for yourself...
Now, those of us who have been around for a few years remember when then-supervisor Steve Hurley did a similar thing when looking for a developer to build his golf course. He got sold a bill-of-goods; he and his clueless board bought a $7 million golf course for a mere $20 million, a deal we will be paying for far into the future. We don't understand why Marino won't form a real Master Plan Committee from the town's residents - is he afraid certain developers won't get favorable deals? He recently had his board nix a plan by the county Solid Waste Authority to construct a yard-waste facility on the former Kay-Fries Superfund site at the far end of Kay-Fries Drive (certainly a suitable use for contaminated land). This seemed strange, as the site could have generated substantial income for the town - something that Marino keeps saying he is looking for. Now SPACE certainly doesn't endorse rumors, but a persistent one in this case is that developer Pat Magee owns land adjacent to the proposed facility where he wants to construct condos, and a "dump" would not be conducive to condo sales. Additionally, he still owns the land the proposed ShopRite is to be constructed on, and those people don't want a "dump" near them either. We all would like to have the ShopRite for convenience - and the tax revenue it can generate; but the yard-waste facility could possibly deliver more income (don't have to share tax money with the school district or county) than ShopRite, and the ShopRite can go somewhere else in town.
Who's driving the bus here?
Seeking professional help in developing our Master Plan is surely a good idea, but it should be Stony Point's Master Plan, not an outside developer's gold mine, which is likely what we are going to get. Buried away on the town's website is an announcement that Ed Sheerin of Palmer Development will "be available" to meet with the public and "discuss" the development of Stony Point (Monday Feb. 23, 9 am to noon; Tuesday Feb 24, 4 pm - 6 pm at town hall). How very nice of him. And how hypocritically convenient for the town. They don't have to be concerned with any public reactions and informational public meetings. It is likely Mr. Sheerin wouldn't be happy with any conflicting ideas presented where the public might find them more appealing that his ideas. SPACE feels that the town board has abrogated its responsibility to the people who elected them .
We went down to town hall on Monday Feb. 23 for the meeting with Palmer Economic Developmentn managing director Ed Sheeran. He is a courtly, well-dressed (especially as compared to me) gentleman who speaks with a brogue. His background consists of a dozen or so years spent working for the City of Yonkers in a similar capacity; before that as a "banker" (not reassuring!) He didn't seem to have much background information on Stony Point, not even a map. He didn't seem to know much about the Letchworth property or the commercial corridor along Route 9W; didn't know where Kay-Fries Drive is, or its rather unique and controversial status. He asked directions to the waterfront area but surprised us with the remark "..as I recall, there are 535 people living on the river side of the railroad tracks." For someone who comes off basically clueless about Stony Point, he seemed astonishingly knowledgeable with a piece of very specialized information that few people would have without a specific need.
Is this a red flag? Maybe. We really don't know how he got connected with Stony Point's town hall. Did he cold-call Marino? Did Marino cold-call him? Or is this an arrangement generated by some unknown developer who sees Stony Point's waterfront (as well as other parcels) as a desirable asset that might be easily obtained in these parlous financial times?
An attorney friend looked at the contract the town signed with him and raised the question whether or not the wording of the contract would compel the town to develop all its properties, not just Letchworth, and whther or not Palmer should have a Real-Estate license in light of the wording of the contract. We really wonder whether or not the town board really knew what it was signing when it voted unanimously for Marino's proposal to engage Palmer Development.