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Mount Pleasant Planners Accept DEIS for Sensitive Pocantico Lake Plan

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The shoreline of Pocantico Lake where a 31-lot cluster subdivision has been proposed.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a 31-lot cluster subdivision on the shores of Pocantico Lake was accepted as complete last week by the Mount Pleasant Planning Board.

The document for Meadows at Briarcliff, located on about 36 environmentally sensitive acres, will now be placed in the public sphere and reviewed by the board, which is acting as lead agency, and the public, said Board Chairman James Collins. A public hearing will be scheduled, although no date was announced after the unanimous vote at the Dec. 19 meeting.

Board member Joan Lederman said the board’s acceptance of the DEIS as complete does not equate to an approval.

“This is only to say they have addressed all the questions. Whether we think they’re right or wrong is not what’s at stake here,” Lederman said. “It means that they just answered all the questions. I don’t think you need to worry that your concerns will not be addressed.”

The application was submitted to the town in spring 2021 by brothers Brandon and Brian Zappico of Zappico Development in Hawthorne and quickly gained the attention of concerned residents as well as environmental advocates. The 27-acre lake is a freshwater body, and Westchester County bought an adjacent 164 acres, now called Pocantico Lake Park in 1992 to preserve in perpetuity.

The Planning Board issued a positive declaration last year, which means there is the potential for significant adverse environmental impacts. Collins said that in the roughly 14 months since the scoping session was held, the DEIS went through four drafts before the board was prepared to vote on the document.

“The completeness review is simply the first step in getting the document into the hands of everyone concerned about the project – the Planning Board, as lead agency, and the various other involved agencies and the public,” Collins said.

There has been enough concern raised that last March the county Parks, Recreation and Conservation Board, an advisory body, passed a resolution recommending that county officials explore buying the land to preserve it from development.

However, that doesn’t mean the developer would be willing to sell the entire parcel and relinquish development right even if the county pressed forward with an acquisition.

Last spring, Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi told a group of residents at a Town Hall forum that the Zappico’s, who have since formed the Meadows at Briarcliff, LLC, which is listed at the applicant, might be willing to preserve a significant piece of the property.

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