Letter to the Editor: Proposed Subdivision at Pocantico Lake Park Would Degrade a County Jewel

One of Westchester County’s great treasures, Pocantico Lake Park, is a 164-acre park that sits adjacent to the Rockefeller Preserve in the Town of Mount Pleasant. The county park includes the 27-acre lake and surrounding wetlands in addition to trails and wooded grounds.

Mount Pleasant elected officials were instrumental in establishing the park when they recognized its value to our quality of life in the 1980s. Local officials worked with county and state officials to purchase the lake and park at taxpayer expense.

Millions of taxpayer dollars have transformed this land into a pristine wildlife preserve that draws residents from all over the county. Fisherman cast their lines in all four seasons, families enjoy the trails and runners dash through the woods. The birds and wildlife became increasingly important as more residents sought out the trails during the pandemic.

A proposed new 31-home subdivision along the lake that is currently before the Mount Pleasant Planning Board threatens the beauty of the park, the quality of the water and the wildlife and its habitats. Pocantico Lake is part of the Pocantico River, a major nine-mile tributary of the Hudson River, and runoff from this development would pollute the lake and river.

The developers propose removing more than one million square feet of forest. They will turn a pristine lake and unparalleled view into a visible McMansion development, ruining the beauty and recreational enjoyment of the park.

The area was designated a Critical Environmental Area in 1990, and is home to wetlands, wildlife habitat and an array of birdlife that awes daily visitors: bald eagles, osprey and blue herons, to name a few. We cannot remove their habitats.

We have no grievance with the developer, but we believe this is the wrong development in the wrong place for residents of Mount Pleasant and Westchester County. 

We ask the following of the Mount Pleasant Town Board and Planning Board:

  1. Require a full state Environmental Quality Review (SEQR), currently under consideration, before taking any further action on this project.
  2. Do not approve variances allowing overdevelopment on this environmentally sensitive site.

We ask the Westchester County Board of Legislators to enter into good-faith negotiations with the developer to purchase the land and completely protect the lake from further development and approve a countywide watershed protection act to prevent further degradation of Westchester’s treasured and valuable watersheds.

Trustee David Vinjamuri
Village of Pleasantville and Democratic candidate for Westchester County Legislator, 3rd Legislative District

Joe Bonanno
Candidate for Supervisor, Town of Mount Pleasant

Francesca Hagadus-McHale
Former Councilwoman and Candidate, Mount Pleasant Town Board