As a massive project in the Town of Southeast continues to be reviewed, Putnam County’s top cop voiced concern over how traffic might be mitigated if a distribution center is approved off of Route 312.
Sheriff Robert Langley is objecting to a draft of a Final Environmental Impact Statement related to the Commercial Campus at Fields Corners project, formerly known as Northeast Logistics, submitted to the Southeast planning board earlier this year that calls for a 12-foot crash bar to prevent truck traffic from passing into Patterson’s borders. The project would be a distribution center and is currently under site plan review by the planning board.
Langley, in an April 4 letter, wrote it is the position the sheriff’s office that proposed gates along with a turnaround should be constructed. The gates would remain open and signage would be installed that would only allow residents that live in that neighborhood to use the road. Commercial vehicles would be prohibited unless they were making a local delivery, the letter states.
“This will be enforced and should enforcement not be a deterrent the gates will be secured and the roadway closed,” Langley wrote.
Along with Patterson Supervisor Rich Williams, Langley is against the idea of a 12-foot high crash bar mentioned in the FEIS, stating it “was never brought to the table” during the meeting. Langley wrote the crash bar “cannot and will not be considered an option” by the sheriff ’s office because it would create issues for emergency fire apparatus and it would not be visually pleasing with the environment along Puglsey Road.
In an interview, Langley doubled down on his belief. He said the crash bar would be “hideous” and was shocked when it was mentioned in the FEIS.
“I was kind of taken aback, that was never discussed and why they’re making that proposal I don’t know,” Langley said.
Langley said he believes the sheriff ’s department would be able to enforce any local road ordinance effectively, citing other examples in the county where local roads have been handled well. If the gates are closed, emergency vehicles that need to get through would have a key, Langley said.
Last week, the Patterson town board moved forward with plans to hire a traffic consultant as concerns mount over how the proposal could affect Patterson roadways. During an April 24 board meeting, Williams argued that the FEIS doesn’t take into account that cars will travel down Fields Corners Road into Patterson as a shortcut when there is more traffic in Southeast as a result of the large scale project that will include more trucks on the road.
Legal counsel for the board Donald Rossi told town board members there was a possibility for litigation between Patterson and Southeast going forward depending on what the final traffic plan is if the project comes to fruition.
“It would be almost negligent I think for the board to not do its own traffic study given what we all see is jumping off the page as for problems with potential impacts on the town,” Rossi said.
Attorney for the applicant of the project, Dan Richmond, did not return an email seeking comment and planning board chairman Tom LaPerch previously declined comment about the Patterson town board’s objections.
Town board members stressed they aren’t against the project.
“We just want to make sure our roadways are safe,” Councilman Peter Dandreano said.