Chestnut Ridge Construction Likely To Restart
By Tim Michaels
Chestnut Ridge’s temporary office trailer at the development’s front entrance. Tim Michaels
BLOOMINGBURG - The developer of the Chestnut Ridge townhouse complex on Winterton Road is expected to resume construction this summer, according to Israel Fleischman, chairman of the village Zoning Board of Appeals. And although just in the talking stage, a mix of housing styles might replace some of the row houses already approved by the village.
Fleischman spoke about the work Tuesday afternoon in advance of that evening’s ZBA meeting. Some 106 units have already been built and about 55 are occupied, Fleischman said. A web search for real estate turns up many three-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot units starting at $325,000 at Chestnut Ridge, where sales resumed recently after an eighteen-month hiatus. Sales were suspended while the New York State Attorney General’s Office reviewed issues related to the development’s homeowner’s association, said Fleischman, who himself lives at Chestnut Ridge. The issues have been resolved and potential homeowners are again viewing the units, he said.
Village Clerk Blake Call said she gets notices when a title search is requested in advance of a pending sale and, coincidently, did receive one Tuesday for a property at Chestnut Ridge.
Shalom Lamm, the original townhouse developer, got approval to build 396 townhouses in Bloomingburg, a tiny village in Sullivan County right at the Orange County line. But Lamm was eventually caught in an election-rigging scheme and sentenced to prison. He was released in November. However, the approvals are still valid and the developer would only need permits from the building inspector to be up and running again, Call said.
he developer is now listed as Sfii Properties LLC, and on Tuesday the ZBA approved a resolution allowing the applicant to put a temporary office trailer at the entrance to Chestnut Ridge. As previously described by Yehuda Weissmandl, an Sfii representative, the trailer is actually a series of five modular units that, when assembled, will cover 3,000 square feet. The unit will be far more attractive than the hodgepodge of construction trailers now parked on the north side of Honey Locust Lane just off Winterton Road. Those trailers will be removed, ZBA member Moshe Gancz said. The new unit will be home for the construction team, sales representatives — who now work out of an unsold townhouse — and a showroom, according to Weissmandl. The units would be assembled on one of two possible locations, the final choice to be determined with input from the village engineer and building inspector. A final site plan must be filed with the ZBA when the location is settled upon. The resolution makes clear that the approval is only good for two years.
Fleischman explained that the first units were built before any homebuyers had ever seen them. As a result, there wasn’t much variety. The showroom will display various cabinet and counter choices, for example, giving a homebuyer the chance to do a bit of customizing.
More substantial changes may also be coming to Chestnut Ridge, too. Although still in the talking stage, the developer may seek to reduce the number of attached townhouses in favor of fewer single-family homes. "Less city, more suburbs," as Fleischman explained it.
The dense housing typical of the Hasidic Village of Kiryas Joel to the south in Orange County isn’t for everybody, as a recent story in the Times Herald-Record pointed out. Some people prefer the kind of privacy that comes with a standalone home with a yard, Fleischman said.
Any such deviation from the original layout of Chestnut Ridge would require another trip to the planning board, public hearings and the possibility of reigniting the opposition to the Hasidic community that marked the Lamm era.