By Nadine Cafaro
For quite some time now a 42-unit housing development intended for seniors and veterans has been in the works for the Town of Crawford. After months of changes and planning, the first public hearing finally took place, but one local had concerns.
The project, located at 65 Boniface Drive, consists of 39 one-bedroom apartments, three two-bedroom apartments, and 62 parking spaces. It is near Pinecrest Senior Housing, an existing senior development. The project applicant and owner of Warwick Properties, LLC, Jonah Mandelbaum, has been working with Engineer Vincent Pietrzak of Pietrzak & Pfau on this project.
A public hearing was opened this past Thursday, March 9 where audience members were invited to provide any comments to the Town of Crawford Planning Board. They also had the chance to look at site sketches and blueprints. While several people got up to check out the blueprints, one local resident, who asked to not be named, shared some concerns.
The resident lives in the Town of Crawford and brought up the fact it’s being built right next to a senior development.
“You’re going to disrupt the lives of all those senior citizens who are living there. They all have health issues. They all have all sorts of issues. This is not the right thing to do,” mentioned the local.
Mandelbaum replied to the resident’s concerns about this being built next to already existing senior housing. “This is also for seniors, workforce and veterans, so there’s gonna be a lot of seniors living in that building. We also have several hundred seniors on a waiting list,” Mandelbaum stated.
The resident also brought up the town having many swamps and wetlands, stating that the area is prime bog turtle land.
“The reason we have a lot of this flooding is because we keep building, pushing things over, putting retention ponds [in], changing landscape. None of that can absorb the water as a natural wetland. So, unless you really get some biologists in here to talk about this, this is a disaster,” the resident stated.
Chairwoman Linda Zwart responded that many of these comments will be addressed. “That is part of our process that’s ongoing and you heard me, just earlier, ask if the comments from the town engineer were being addressed. Many of the comments that you just mentioned now are part of that review,” said Zwart, who earlier asked Pietrzak if they had received the engineer’s additional letter with comments.
Town Supervisor Charles E. Carnes was in attendance at the meeting, and got up to speak after hearing the concerns. He mentioned that he asked Mandelbaum to build something like this because of the growing number of seniors, workforce and veterans asking to come to Crawford.
“This is to help and bring more seniors in and what better location than right there with the seniors, workforce, and the community. They can walk to the supermarket,” said Carnes. “He [Mandelbaum] is the premier builder from Orange County. He’s owned that piece of property for 20 years.”
The supervisor also brought up his and the board’s support for the project. “On behalf of myself, and I believe the rest of the town board, we think that this is a great project whatsoever. We do hear your concerns with the wetlands, and I’m sure his engineer and the town engineer will work on that,” Carnes stated.
The public hearing was left open so more information can be gathered, with an emphasis on the wetlands impact. It will convene at the next meeting on March 22 at 7 p.m.