Cortlandt Reaches Deal to Swap Land and Relocate Bus Depot

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The Cortlandt Town Board has reached an agreement to swap town-owned land with Montauk Student Transport and relocate a despised bus depot out of Verplanck.

During a meeting last week, Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi announced the town would be assuming ownership of the 6th Street parcel where school buses have been operating from for the last three years without required approvals for use of a central garage.

In exchange, Montauk, which currently services the Putnam Valley and Peekskill school districts, will move to Roa Hook Road.

“We are pleased to be able to do that,” Puglisi said. “It’s fair all the way around.”

The Town Board will officially vote on the land deal at its September 19 meeting after a few final stipulations are ironed out between the two parties, which Town Attorney Thomas Wood characterized as “nothing that would be a deal breaker.”

Wood said more than half of the 60 buses utilized during the school year would be removed from Verplanck in September and the rest within three or four months.

Both properties have been appraised, according to Puglisi, and since the Roa Hook Road site is valued higher than the Verplanck property, Montauk would pay the town the difference.

During the 9th public hearing on the project before the Planning Board on July 5, homeowners who reside in the vicinity of 301 6th Street took turns lambasting Montauk Student Transport, its employees and town officials for not looking out for their best interests by subjecting them to noise, speeding vehicles, trash and other annoyances that have disrupted their quality of life.

Montauk originally submitted plans to the town in March 2015, and then resubmitted plans five months later, for approval for 92 parking spaces for full and van-size buses and 95 spaces for passenger vehicles, along with use of an existing 4,200-square-foot garage facility, on almost five acres. A stop work order was issued by the town’s Code Enforcement Office in 2014 for enlarging a parking lot, but that was resolved.

A stipulation was then apparently reached with town officials after Montauk paid a $10,000 civil penalty in June 2015 for a violation notice allowing Montauk to operate while pursuing Planning Board approval, with one of the conditions being that property taxes were paid in full.

Bernie Vaughey, a more than 60-year resident of Verplanck and a vocal opponent of Montauk’s operation, thanked the Town Board for its efforts.

“I’m glad we can see the end of the tunnel. It’s not years down the road,” Vaughey said.


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