Mohegan Lake Legal Defense Fund

History of this site

This site was originally set up to fight 3 of 5 zoning variances proposed by the FBC development at Sagamore Trail and Mohegan Ave that eliminates two single family homes while nearly quadrupling the parking and occupancy loads of the old Lakeland Jewish Center. That effort failed and the application is currently before the Planning Board.

While Save Mohegan Lake will continue to update you on that issue, we are moving on to all issues affecting the lake, such as Mohegan Lake Improvement District (MLID) meetings, agenda and budget. This site is not an official mouthpiece for MLID, but some updates will be provided on this site; the official site is located here.

We do it all here, so long as it's Mohegan Lake related. Feel free to submit comments, content, garage sale notices, police blotters, PSA's, essays on the virtues of our 105 acre ice rink, rants, raves, etc... We love it all.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Public Service Announcement: It's A Hot Mess Out There

A "hot mess" is how a neighbor described the aftermath.  He, unfortunately, has several large trees down on his property.

First, I hope that everyone is ok.  That was quite a fierce, early storm.  All those leaves still on the trees sure didn't help us out.

If you parked on one of the 2 Shrub Oak Lake Estates/Faith Bible wetland lot and drive a gold Nissan Sentra [?], it was crushed by a tree last night. 

 In light of the fact that Yorktown never approved parking on this parcel, it may raise some interesting questions about the tree removal and whose insurance pays for what, but that's none of my business.

Despite all the destruction, there are some beautiful scenes out there.  I like the white, red, orange and green all on that one tree, below.

Friday, October 28, 2011

About Last Night's ZBA Hearing

There was no vote last night. The Board has a "substantial file" to review and 3 weeks from the date the file closed was not enough time to arrive at a conclusion.   Considering the application was "approved" 7 months ago, it is encouraging to see the Board taking the necessary time to deliberate the issue; it's an important one for our residential community of Mohegan Lake. The Board will reconvene on December 8th.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10/27/2011: The Zoning Board Will Vote on FBC's Application

Seeing as a senior member of the board has made it clear, they--the Zoning Board of Appeals--can't vote against Faith Bible's five (5) zoning variances, it seems a fore-drawn conclusion all 5 variances will be approved, but we are still holding out hope that logic and reasoning will prevail.  

Below is the text of the document I submitted to the zoning board on 10/3/2011.

Zoning Board Members:

I appreciate your continued attention to detail and thoughtful consideration of this Faith Bible Church application.

You are being asked to consider a variance to the established laws of our town.  Mr. Capellini responded to my initial written submission by writing that I had based my entire argument on the wrong section of the town code.  He went on to cite Town Law of the state of new york, not the Town Code.  Specifically, section 267b(3)(b).

Let’s discuss NYS Town Law section 267b(3)(b).
Part 1:

(b)  In  making  its  determination, the zoning board of appeals shall  take into consideration the benefit to the applicant if the variance  is  granted,  as  weighed  against  the  detriment to the health, safety and  welfare of the neighborhood or community by such grant. In  making  such  determination  the board shall also consider: (1) whether an undesirable  change will be produced in  the  character  of  the  neighborhood  or  a  detriment  to  nearby  properties will be created by the granting of the  area variance;

I argue that the requested variances are the first step in a process that will have cause both undesirable changes to the character of the neighborhood and be a detriment to nearby properties. Furthermore, there are a couple of issues which require resolution before any variances should be considered, let alone approved. The first issue is that the proposed uses will require special permits to bring the land into conformity with the Yorktown code. The second issue is that one of the lots used for parking near the wetlands has restrictions and easements written into it’s deed that must be adhered to. The proposed changes have glaring deficits in available parking a clear zoning issue. Lastly, I believe that these variances are significant and would result in undue overdevelopment in an area that does not have the capacity to accommodate such development.

(Click on the "read more" button below, to continue reading)

A Letter To The Zoning Board From A Long-Time Mohegan Lake Resident

I present the following, which was submitted to the ZBA objecting to zoning variances, from a supporter who is intimately familiar with the character of our neighborhood.  Other than noting that some of the text is oddly formatted because of technical reasons on my end; the substance remains unchanged. I present it without commentary:

When I was 8 years old in 1947, my aunt and uncle bought a little summer house in the residential
community known as Shrub Oak Lake Estates, in the northern area of Lake Mohegan. So my parents,
brother, and I were frequent visitors to Lake Mohegan during the summer months in the late 1940s. In
1950, when I was 11 years old, my parents rented a house down the road from my aunt and uncle's
house for the month of August; and the following year, 1951, when I was 12, my parents purchased the summer house across the street from where we had rented the previous summer. Since 1950, I have spent portions of every summer in the midst of the bucolic eden that is known as Lake Mohegan. If we count my introduction to Lake Mohegan from 1947, that means that I have been acquainted with Lake Mohegan for the past 64 years. So if anyone dares to question my claim to expertise on the subject of Mohegan Lake, I defy them to match my record of 64 years worth of intimate knowledge of the territory. That's 64 years worth of association. I repeat, 64 years. And I am now 72.

 (click on the "read more" button below to continue)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Planning Concerns: Clearing and Grading of a Woodland Lot, Up To Lakeside Drive

Below you will find Site Design Consultants' "tree inventory plan" of the proposed combination of five (5) separate lots.

I have an architecture degree and have been employed as a building code and zoning consultant for over 10 years. This is one of the most confusing plans I've ever read. I made it extra big so you can see what I'm talking about; you should be able to enlarge it by clicking on the image and then zoom in by clicking on it again. One might argue it's an intentionally busy drawing to mask the detrimental impact the proposal will have on the neighborhood.

Below: The developer shows a the property line of the undeveloped woodland lot ( 1 of 5 lots to be combined) with a 20 foot buffer between the undeveloped property line and Lakeside Drive. County records clearly indicate the property line abuts Lakeside Drive. Considering the developer proposes to clear and grade that entire lot, the residents of Lakeside drive are keen to know: is there a 20 foot buffer between the clearing and grading of the steep woodland lot, or will it run all the way up to Lakeside Drive?

It's interesting to note that the developer's engineer, Joseph Riina, chose to cut off the two single family homes immediately adjacent to the site in this plan; none of the other homes, driveways, etc...immediately around the proposed development site are shown either. I went ahead and filled in the footprint of the house they are demolishing and the house the parking lot will come within 10 feet of.

Considering the dramatic, adverse impact this proposal will have on the neighborhood, I guess it's advantageous for them to obscure the character of this small, residential community as much as possible.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

An Historical Map: "Mohegan Lake Club Estates"

Below is an undated map that a member of the Mohegan Highland Property Owners Association, who has deep roots in the community, provided.

There's actually a few streets that appear here that were never built. "Rockledge Terrace" and "Rockledge Lane" were never built because they were on a very steep slope composed of an enormous rock ledge.

If you click on the image below, and then click on it again, it should zoom in--a bit. My best guess is circa 1927 or 1928, as MHPOA was being developed. I hope someone can correct me in the comments.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thank You, Mohegan Lake

We ended up with 55 signatories to the petition. It's important to note that all of those came within a 5 minute walk of the site and that several people contributed letters to the board. 3 "interested parties" even submitted notarized letters opposing 3 of the 5 variances. I've missed a lot of sleep collecting signatures and preparing my response to the the church's attorney's response to my initial submission. It clocks in at 4, 444 words over 9 pages with an additional 12 pages of exhibits (GIS maps and lots of other fun stuff).

Now we wait until 10/27/2011 when the Zoning Board of Appeals votes.

Thanks, friends.

The Zoning Board of Appeals File Will Close At The End of Business Today, 10/3/11

Europe, The Final Countdown