Yorktown's Orchard View Developer Responds to Concerns


Editor's Note: In the print version of this article (Oct, 27, Page 6), we incorrectly stated the Planning Board preliminarily approved the project. The board actually closed the public hearing and allowed a 10-day written comment period. The board will vote on the preliminary approval at a later date. We regret the error.

YORKTOWN, N.Y. - The developer of Orchard View, a nine-home subdivision off Sherry Drive, last week responded to flooding, traffic, stormwater and other concerns associated with his project.

Jim Zappi, founder and CEO of ZappiCo Realty, said many of the concerns about his development are well-founded, but said that he will do as much as possible to be a good neighbor.

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The most common concern was that of flooding. Neighbors say the Orchard View development, with the removal of trees, would exacerbate the existing flooding issue in the area. Zappi said, per state regulations, his project cannot produce more stormwater than presently exists on the property. As an example, he cited a recent development of his on the border of Somers and Yorktown, where 34 homes were built.

“The water that left the site, before we even touched it, was equivalent to water coming out of a two-and-a-half inch pipe,” he said. “So what that means is, when we’re done with the development, we need to retain the water so in a peak storm event, the most water that’s going to leave that site is going to come out of a pipe that’s two-and-half inches.”

Still, Vincent Scotto, a resident of Mill Pond Road, said the town is not looking at the project with a wide-enough scope. Orchard View, he said, is not the only project coming to the area; a project featuring Lowe’s, two restaurants and a bank is being reviewed, as is a 120-home development in the Bear Mountain Triangle.

“This town has to take into consideration the cumulative effect of so much development in this area,” said Scotto, who was specifically concerned about stormwater flow into the Hunter Brook.

Planning Board Chair Rich Fon, though, reiterated that Orchard View, or any other new development, is held to strict stormwater standards and cannot produce more stormwater than presently exists.

“The good thing about new developments is they fall under new standards,” Fon said. “This development is under very strict guidelines…Whereas some of the older developments were not.”

To complete the project, a new road and cul-de-sac would be created. The road would connect to Sherry Drive. Sean Smith, a long-time resident of Sherry Drive, asked if the new road could also connect to Pines Grove Court. Zappi said that is not possible.

“You don’t want to connect two dead-end roads,” he said. “The worst possible thing you can do for traffic is take two dead ends and connect them, because then you’re going to get traffic from both roads. Here, you’re just going to get the nine homes.”

At the previous Planning Board meeting on Sept. 26, several residents and town officials were also concerned about the role of the proposed homeowners association. Zappi said the town would maintain the public sewer and the public water, and the homeowners association would maintain the street, the right-of-way and the stormwater facilities.

Following the presentation, the Planning Board unanimously voted to close the public hearing and leave open a 10-day written comment period. The next step will be to “preliminarily approve” the project. A pre-approval is required in a two-step subdivision process, which is required on subdivisions of five lots or greater or when it involves a public road, explained Planning Director John Tegeder. This project involves the former.

The preliminary proposal shows the division of the land and the proposed layout of roads, lots and basic utilities, according to the Department of State. A preliminary proposal is drawn to scale but usually lacks the engineering details shown on a final plan.

Fon stressed that there is still a long way to go before the project is ultimately approved, and that this was just the first step.

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