Harlem Valley Homestead Development Project
Please take a look at the video below. This was taken on 12/06/17. Despite our efforts,
Harlem Valley Homestead continues to work daily without any permitting.
The end of the video gives you a great idea of the scope of this project.
The photos below show the approximate un-permitted disturbance that has taken place thus far at Harlem Valley Homestead. This was done using the measuring area tool provided on the County's Parcel Access Mapping website. The disturbed area on the bottom left measured 5.4 acres, middle 3.9 acres, bottom right 4.2 acres. The total area of disturbance calculates to be approximately 13.5 acres. We feel this is a very conservative estimation as it only takes in to account the areas where the most concentrated work with heavy machinery is being done. There has also been many trees removed between the river and the top field (middle photo) at Harlem Valley Homestead.
The photo below was submitted to the municipality as the proposed map in their master plan for the Harlem Valley Homestead development project. We believe they have misrepresented themselves to the Army Corps of Engineers as well as SHPO. Please note the following:
Neither application disclose the road which has been created through the wetlands. This road mirrors the needed secondary access for their development (see photo video below).
The road is not a "need" for agricultural use. The farm has always operated as a farm without the newly constructed road. It is a need however for their future development project at Harlem Valley Homestead.
In the joint application form 08/16 submitted by Harlem Valley Homestead to the Army Corps of Engineering, they list the total project area to be two acres with one of the two acres being the existing pond. Again we have estimated (top left photo above) the total area to be approximately 5.4 acres and that is excluding the existing pond.
The submitted map of the proposed work differs greatly than the actual work done to date.
The dredged/excavated materials was not used in the upland areas as proposed in the application. The majority of this material was used in the lowland areas to build up the grade of the existing pond.
We requested several times for proof that the applicant has DEC approval. We were ignored, instead the work sped up dramatically. The applicant is a town councilman and the excuse of not knowing permitting was needed is absurd.
As of 1/1/2018 DEC has placed a Stop Work Order on the property and is now requiring a SWPPP permit for the construction.
Continued Un-permitted Work at Harlem Valley Homestead
Hauling Material to Conservation Property 12/18/17
Removing Stone From Top of Field 12/20/17
Burning and Cutting next to River 12/20/17
Significant flooding in the Proposed parking lot
Un-permitted new road construction
Hauling material to create new road across DLC conservancy land.
Up until the purchase of the property by Harlem Valley Homestead LLC, there was NEVER a road from Pickering's DLC property to the farm. The two properties were never under the same ownership and there was no reason to have a road joining the properties. In fact, there was never any roads through the farm's fields as well. After the purchase (in 2016), a rough road was created and then expanded to its current state. This work was done without notifying the DLC as it clearly violates their easement. The road is a crucial component to the development project and was quickly done without proper permitting and now is being represented as an existing road. Any photography offered to show existence of a road will be photography after the purchase from Harlem Valley Homestead LLC.
Aerial view after road construction
Before and After Road Construction
The new roads claiming to be existing, mirrors their submitted master plan.
1/23/2018 Redirection of water course due to un-permitted construction
The un-permitted work done on the DLC conserved land has caused a significant change in the previous natural water course. As you can see, the few bales of hay they just added in the field does little to prevent this new runoff from flowing directly into the Ten Mile River.
They have now added the words "Existing Farm Road" to their map.
NEW ROAD CONSTRUCTION THROUGH PROTECTED BOG TURTLE BUFFER AREA
Merged Overlay Video From Photos Above
The overlay video above shows proof that the assertion by Harlem Valley Homestead that the road adjoining the two properties was pre-existing is untrue. Please watch on full screen and untill the end.
Repeatedly we have heard the claim from HVH that the “farm road” on the DLC conserved property was pre-existing and that our accusations of it not existing is false. To be clear, we never disputed that a service road existed on the DLC property, however that road NEVER crossed over to the Shelby Farm until it was created by Harlem Valley Homestead.
1. The 2011 filed survey clearly shows the old Pickering laneway which does not cross over to the neighboring Shelby property. In fact it shows a stone wall in place which separates them. There are two other surveys as well that show the same.
2. The survey also shows a required 300 foot required setback for the “bog turtle buffer area”. Harlem Valley Homestead ignored this setback and created a road through this protected area.
3. Should Harlem Valley Homestead claim they were unaware of this, that would be untrue. Clearly they are in possession of the filed survey that was referenced in their deed when they purchased the property.
4. The two properties never were under the same ownership prior to Harlem Valley Homestead purchasing both. There would be no reason to connect the two.
5. In an effort to show "proof" the laneway was pre-existing, HVH has provided aerials from 38 years ago and claims they have the old gate that accessed the entrance. Even if there was an access way connecting the properties 38 years ago, that is irrelevant today. The detailed survey of 2011 showing NO connection between the properties and and the creation of the protected area buffer zone between the properties is what is relevant. The total disregard by HVH to construct the road right through this buffer zone shows what lengths they will go in order to create their needed secondary access.
6. The claimed need for the road for "farming" is unwarranted. All hay fields are currently easy accessible via Old Forge Road as they always have been. Harlem Valley Homestead "need" for a road with specs for "heavy modern farm equipment" is also nonsensical. It is quite obvious that HVH's true intentions are to create a needed secondary access road for the development project (renting of cabins which is non-agricultural). The specs they are designing this road to has nothing to do with farm equipment and everything to do with the Fire Department's tanker truck road specifications.