GovernmentThe Examiner

Positive Declaration Made By Mount Pleasant for Pocantico Lake Proposal

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

The Mount Pleasant Planning Board last week issued a positive declaration for the much-anticipated review of what promises to be a highly controversial 31-home cluster subdivision near Pocantico Lake and the Briarcliff Manor village line.

Board members also declared themselves the lead agency for the project now called Meadows at Briarcliff on the 36.8-acre property located at 715 Sleepy Hollow Rd. It has been proposed by brothers Brandon and Brian Zappi of the Zappico Development Group.

Although no one was allowed to speak on the matter at the Sept. 20 meeting, significant applause was generated by residents in opposition to the project when the board approved its positive declaration. The declaration will now require a much more detailed environmental review of the proposal.

Project opponent organized over the summer after the application was formally submitted this spring because of significant environmental concerns. About 30 years ago, the land had been designated by the state as a Critical Environmental Area.

An Oct. 18 public scoping session has been scheduled to start on the state Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process.

“We’re at the beginning of what I consider to be, and I have seen to be, a very long process,” said Planning Board Chairman Michael McLaughlin. “Nobody should get their back up. We’re first going to go into an EIS, a full EIS procedure, according to SEQR law.”

McLaughlin issued a stern warning to the attending public that the board will not tolerate misinformation or dishonesty in what has the potential to be one of the most contentious projects in Mount Pleasant in years.

“I expect a truthful answer, a fully truthful answer, and if not, I’m going to come down like a ton of bricks,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin’s comment came a little bit more than a month after the August meeting where the chairman and the Zappi’s, who appeared before the board for another application, engaged in a brief but intriguing dialogue. At that meeting, the developers were handed a document referred to as a July 27 memorandum. The developers were asked if they were aware of the memorandum.

When they asked which application, McLaughlin responded that it was regarding 715 Sleepy Hollow Rd.

“It goes to your integrity, credibility,” McLaughlin said. “…The reason I interrupt you is because you’re about to tell us all about an application and we are looking at something that to me says you got a big problem.”

The chairman then demanded to know if they were hosting a dormitory at that address or another type of multifamily structure. The Zappi brothers responded that there had been a pre-existing multifamily structure on the property but didn’t offer any further explanation.

“I am very concerned about the content of that memorandum,” McLaughlin said. “You are going to have to answer this board before we go very much further with almost any application. That’s a serious allegation in there.”

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