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The North Castle Town Board retained a hydrogeologist last week to review water plans that will be submitted by The Summit Club of Armonk to confirm there is sufficient water supply on the property for 73 condominiums.
Acting on a unanimous recommendation by the Planning Board last Monday night, the Town Board gave the go-ahead the following evening to bring in local hydrogeologist William Canavan because the municipality is responsible for making sure the residences would have sufficient water without negatively impacting nearby wells. Canavan had previously evaluated the property’s water leading up to the 2015 rezoning of the property.
Review of the results will be done at the same time the information is submitted to the Westchester County Department of Health and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) which have the authority over the water supply issues.
The recommendation to have an independent third party evaluate the water situation was raised last Monday evening by Planning Board member James Jensen at that board’s meeting. Jensen said The Summit Club project was different than most other proposals because it would be using a bedrock aquifer, which would make it more difficult to predict where the water is coming from, and also the water is proposed to be sent off site rather than recycled.
“So, I think that as the professionals look at all the impacts and try to make sure that what’s proposed is actually going to meet the desires as was confirmed in the findings statement and that there’s no negative impacts, it might be worthwhile to have somebody look at that,” Jensen said.
There have been concerns on the part of some residents, most notably from nearby Windmill Farm, that drawing water for the luxury condos from The Summit Club’s 156-acre property on Route 22 could negatively affect the water supply elsewhere.
One of the Summit Club partners, Jeffrey Mendell, said the involvement of the county Department of Health and the DEC was more than enough oversight.
“Both of those agencies are in the business of approving water systems and making sure the water quality and a whole variety of other tests are conducted so that they meet the existing local and state regulations,” Mendell said.
However, Planning Board member Michael Pollack said it’s better to have the extra layer of oversight because the water issue is so critical.
“My concern is, number one, you only have one chance to get it right, and number two, if you get it wrong, the consequences are severe, okay,” Pollack said. “So if there’s an extra step that you’re proposing to make sure you get it right, I think that’s important.”
The Summit Club is expected to conduct a 72-hour pump test sometime in June to affirm the property’s wells have ample water supply for the residences. Previous tests were conducted by the applicant between 2013 and 2015, revealing there was sufficient water on the site.
Water is being sought on the property after tests in the gravel pits near Windmill Farm showed an inadequate supply there.
Last Tuesday, the Town Board agreed to retain Canavan on the same night it approved an amended water agreement that recognizes the applicant will get its water from wells on its own property.
Under the terms of the agreement, the town’s Water District No. 2 would be divided into two subdistricts; District 2A would include all the properties served by the current Water District No. 2, including Windmill Farm, and District 2B would be The Summit Club’s portion of the district.
The Town Board also voted to require The Summit Club to post a performance bond to guard against any negative impact on other properties within 1,500 feet of its wells.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/