My rebuttal to Supervisor Bloomfield

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To the Editor:

Although I'm typically a big fan of Goshen Town Supervisor Doug Bloomfield, I'm compelled to respond to a number of inaccurate, incomplete, and/or plainly misleading statements he made in his, "Here are the facts on the Legoland project" op-ed last week.

1. "The village's engineer has documented that the village has sufficient water to serve the project without the need for any additional water sources."

* Highly misleading: The village is in the midst of an officially-designated "severe" drought. In fact, during summer months, water sometimes literally dribbles out of our shower at 12 Spring Rock Drive—a long-standing complaint of ours to the Village DPW, which documents that any claim to the alleged adequacy of water supply by the village engineer would be not merely wrong but demonstrably false.

* False claim: Legoland clams that the village utilizes only ±900,000 gallons of water per day, but has the ability to utilize ±1.3 million. * First, water usage is typically closer to 1.3 million gallons per day. * Second, Legoland officials have cherry-picked Village water usage rates from recent years, when the County's massive office building, located entirely within the village, has been closed down and several hundred people have been scattered to distant locations. * Once this complex reopens and is repopulated, daily water usage will soar to levels that will strain to the breaking point an already over-utilized water supply.

* Fact: Legoland's parent company anticipates 1.5 to 2.5 million visitors per year. Even assuming—incorrectly—that village residents have sufficient water supply, Legoland plans to drill two wells, most likely into an already over-utilized aquifer to obtain water for its visitors. * Any claim to the contrary is disputed by the fact that their environmental impact statement fails to provide any empirical evidence that any newly-drilled wells would find a new aquifer to supplement—not take from—the village's already over-extended aquifer. * As even a third grader knows, you can't "take from Peter to pay Paul" and expect to have more.

2. "The Legoland project is not being 'fast-tracked.'"

* False claim: The facts are these: * An application by a developer for Kiryas Joel was turned down in April 2016. * A recently-uncovered email shows that Legoland was discussed in a possibly-illegal Town Board executive session the very next month. * Barely two months later, the Town Board proposed overlays to its master plan, which overturned the Master Plan of 2009, which explicitly sought to protect the rural nature of Goshen and preserve its environmentally-sensitive ecosystem. * The Town Board has continued to rush the matter through a hastily-assembled and entirely inadequate draft environmental impact statement, which it immediately accepted, and a public hearing, which it refused to postpone, so that more than one hundred acres of environmentally-sensitive land on which Legoland would be built can be clear-cut before a State Department of Environmental Conservation regulation takes effect by the end of March.

3. "Contrary to some statements, no Planning Board members have been terminated…in response to a lawsuit by anti-Legoland protesters."

* Misleading in the extreme: The facts are these: * One long-time Planning Board member, Reynell Andrews, was not reappointed after 18 years of service. Why? Rumor has it that he was "dumped" because his wife is a member of the Stop Legoland group.

* Not only is that almost certainly true, but it's also recently been confirmed that Mr. Andrews was the one who questioned the Town Board's possibly illegal executive session on Legoland the month after plans for high-density housing for Kiryas Joel were turned down.

* Moreover, the NYS Committee on Open Government confirmed such a possibly illegal meeting, in writing: "A motion to enter into executive session to discuss 'new business negotiations,' in my opinion, is not sufficient, and without more, does not reflect a permissible basis for entering into executive session."

* According to reliable sources, Legoland's parent company's lawyers then descended on Town Hall demanding the Mr. Andrews not be re-appointed, and the Town Board—caught red-handed in a possibly illegal activity designed to fast-track a $500 million project, which has already received $7 million from the State and has the backing of the highest political offices of State government—was more than happy to oblige.

* Does all of this smell of ethical "lapses"? Why, even a third grader could answer that question!

Barry Goldberg


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