Silo Ridge brings marketer but not data to board



- While a marketing representative for Silo Ridge Country Club spoke glowingly of the club's planned expansion, he told the Planning Board on Thursday night he could not give the board data to support his comments.


Before the board discussed the country club's submitted master development plan, Keith Brenan, senior vice-president and market research analyst from the Weitzman Group, spoke on behalf of the club.

"We have done a number of studies and have continued to work with the [company] as the plan has evolved and changed," Brenan said. "We are very comfortable that given the execution of the development of the product which is appropriate to the marketplace that we do think [the project] is marketable and feasible."

Board member Nina Peek asked Brenan if the board could look at the data.

"It would be very useful given the amount of concern about the long-term economical viability," Peek said. "Not just from a marketing perspective but also from a financing perspective. A lot of people spoke about that at the public hearing and they would be interested in seeing that data."

Brenan told Peek that all reports done by his company are proprietary.

"A lot of information we do is on a confidential basis," he said. "We cannot produce our clients' reports."

Company attorney Daniel Leary from Cuddy & Feder of Fishkill said that while the company is concerned about comments made by the public about the economic liability of the expansion, they do not have anything to do with the proposed project's environmental impacts.

"We have heard the concerns and we do think the concerns are real," Leary said. "Maybe we can discuss this in another forum or another setting so people can understand better. We have to review the proprietary information to decide what can be disclosed or what can't. We're not saying we are going to refuse to provide information."

He said the information is not integral to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, but the company would be willing to set up another meeting to discuss the public's concerns.

Town Attorney Michael Hayes advised the board that the Planning Board cannot compel the company to release the data.

While the project's MDP was submitted to the board, board members agreed that they needed some time to further review it.

The board also agreed that the next workshop meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m., would be a regular meeting instead in order to schedule a second public hearing on the expansion project, which would possibly take place in March.

At a Town Board business meeting last Thursday, resident Elizabeth Whaley said she was stunned that, despite many residents speaking at a public hearing in November, the Planning Board has only received five written comments on the project.

"It is important that we, as a community, have the input of as many people as possible," Whaley said. "Silo Ridge representatives [said] that a lot of our comments were not relevant or pertinent because they should only concern the environmental impacts. Everything we said was important and I don't think they should have blown us off like that."

Resident Cheryl Morse said she was concerned about the possibility of the company defaulting in the middle of constructing the project.

"I wanted to apprise the board that, although there is nothing that can be done if the company defaults, the town can require performance bonds be posted [by the company]," Morse said. "Because there are a number of developments under construction, just like the Silo Ridge project, where the town is left with a burden because the company behind the project went bankrupt."

Another resident, Pat Nelligan, said a serious problem with the DEIS review is that people do not understand what it means.

"It is not just about beavers or bog turtles," Nelligan said. "It's about how it impacts our community, everything about our quality of life. I know I haven't submitted anything because you have a 20 day period after the hearing is closed to submit your comments, so a lot of us are just waiting to hear what else [the company] has to say."

To send comments to the Planning Board about the Silo Ridge DEIS, write to: Amenia Planning Board, PO Box 126, 36B Mechanic St., Amenia, NY 12501.

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