Water Supply Issues Resurface for Armonk Luxury Condo Proposal
An Armonk golf club that has proposed building luxury condominium units on its grounds but has been unable to locate adequate water for the project will be submitting a plan to use water from its own property.
Attorney Mark Weingarten said The Summit Club at Armonk will look to withdraw from North Castle’s Water District #2, which was expanded about six years ago when the town amended the parcel’s zoning in anticipation of accommodating the 73 condos’ water needs.
The applicant has drilled in the well fields, sometimes referred to as the gravel pits, adjacent to current wells that service Windmill Farm, a development of more than 370 units across Route 22 from the club. However, repeated attempts to find the 100-gallons-per-minute threshold imposed by the town for the units came up short.
“So we’re going to have to terminate our agreement with the water district because we’re no longer going to be joining them and we’re just going to create our own private district,” Weingarten said last Thursday.
Ultimately, The Summit Club is going to need approval from the North Castle Town Board, which serves as the water commissioners for Water District #2, he said.
Weingarten’s comments came as there has been increasing concern from some Windmill Farm residents about their water supply as conjecture has risen that The Summit Club might look to commingle water from underneath the golf course with Windmill’s water supply.
Windmill residents said there has been little to no communication from the town on the issue, which has only fueled speculation. Residents such as Amy Zipper said she has been worried that taking water from where pesticides and various chemicals are used and mixing it with other water from the district could harm the development’s supply.
“It’s a very basic issue that there should never be any risk to water quality and the fact that there are people who are even concerned about this in a town like Armonk is a problem, and that we can’t get straight answers,” Zipper said.
Windmill resident Bob Greene said the neighbors he speaks to haven’t heard anything from the town for months. He said that in recent weeks and months there have been e-mailed reports from Supervisor Michael Schiliro on a variety of topics, but the water issue has never been addressed.
“When I run into people, they still think Summit is drilling test wells in the gravel pits,” Greene said.
Schiliro said there has been misinformation spread throughout the community by some residents via e-mail, such as the town just now deciding to let The Summit Club into the district, which took place years ago, or that North Castle is poised to let the applicant bring water from its property into the district.
There are no efforts to hide information from the public or to allow The Summit Club to use water from underneath the golf course without first consulting Windmill residents, he said. It is up to the club to return to the town with a plan about how they are going to secure the proper amount of water, Schiliro said.
“The fact is they’ve had a hard time finding the 100 gallons per minute in the gravel pit, otherwise known as the well field, and we expect them to come back to us with what their official desire is with respect to water for their development,” Schiliro said. “So when and if that happens – I suspect it will – then we can communicate to the public, then have a public meeting, and if it warrants a hearing, we’ll do that.”
On Sunday, Schiliro sent a town-wide e-mail update to residents saying there are two options for The Summit Club – exit the district and create its own water system or request the town allow it to use the wells under the golf course.
The town’s agreement with The Summit Club requires them to search for water in the well field, he said.
“Anything related to this issue will include public discussions at minimum – we would NEVER consider making a decision like this unilaterally and it’s honestly silly to think we would,” Schiliro stated in Sunday’s correspondence.
While The Summit Club has appeared at several town Planning Board meetings this year, other matters have been discussed, including last week’s discussion about allowing the golf club’s parking lot and a putting green inside the property’s 100-foot buffer, where the applicant plans to locate its seven affordable units.
A special meeting last December discussed the idea of drilling wells on town-owned property on Willow Pond Lane and Blair Road, but residents in that area objected to the plan. That possibility has since been abandoned, Schiliro said.
Meanwhile, Weingarten said that consultants for both his client and the town have looked for alternative sites within the well field to secure the required water and haven’t found enough supply.
As a result, The Summit Club will soon be formally requesting using water from its property, and Weingarten suspects that the mostly likely scenario is it will develop its own district to supply the future residents of the 73 units.
“We’ll be using the water that is on our property, and not only is it adequate, but it’s been studied previously, it’s safe,” Weingarten said. “People can say whatever they want to say, the science says it’s safe, but with that said, it’s still going to be up to the town as to whether or not we would have to be a private district or whether or not they’ll allow us to hook into Water District #2.”
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/