State explains why Legoland received runoff violations and the Greens did not

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  • Photo by Stephen Keahon

  • Photo by Stephen Keahon

  • Photo by Stephen Keahon

  • Photo by Stephen Keahon

  • Photo by Stephen Keahon

— Why hasn't the town of Chester cited the Greens of Chester for a violation when, during a July 25 rainstorm, its retention pond overflowed?

Tracy Schuh of the Preservation Collective asked the town board this question at its Aug. 22 meeting. She said she has photos of the silt fencing at the site not working, and muddy stormwater flowing into adjacent streams.

The Black Meadow Creek and the Otterkill converge near the site. (The photos with this story were taken at the Greens by Stephen Keahon after the storm.)

Did someone inspect the site? she asked.

Councilman Bob Valentine, who does contracting work preparing land at the Greens of Chester, said the site has been inspected thoroughly. He said a certain amount of rain falling within a certain amount of time warrants no violations.

Schuh said stormwater is running off-site all around the property and not just in one place. An off-site well monitoring program, which was supposed to have been put into place when the Greens was first reviewed in the ‘90s, is needed to protect residents living nearby, she said.

Planning board engineer Al Fusco said the developers are using an acceptable erosion sediment plan. The Greens is monitored by the town and the New York State Department of Conservation, he said.

Kevin O. Frazier, public information officer for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), tried to explain the difference between the Greens and the Legoland New York site in Goshen, which received citations in May and July for allowing the discharge of turbid water to pollute the Otterkill Creek. He stated in an email that the agency is working with Legoland to resolve the violations.

“In June, DEC responded to complaints related to clear cutting activities at the Greens at Chester site,” he wrote in an email this week. “DEC inspected the site on July 6, and noted several erosion and sediment control deficiencies. DEC sent a letter to the site owner explaining the need to address the problems at the site, including the need for better site stabilization and improvements to sediment basins on the property. DEC did not issue a Notice of Violation because water quality violations were not documented during our inspections.

“On July 25, DEC Law Enforcement received a complaint and subsequently visited the site on several occasions that week. DEC noted turbidity leaving the entrance of the site during these visits, but did not witness water quality violations. DEC Division of Water followed up with an inspection on Aug. 9, and although the recommended improvements were implemented, including hydro-seeding unstabilized areas, DEC sent an additional inspection report to the owner. Again, no water quality violations were noted at the time of the latest inspection.

“DEC will continue to monitor this site and conduct unannounced inspections in order to check on progress. DEC is prepared to issue violations if any water quality issues are found.”

Town supervisor Alex Jamieson said earlier this month that he’d heard there was “an issue” with the retention pond and that it had been corrected, but also that he had not heard that the Black Meadow/Otterkill was affected. He said he would look into it.

Schuh told the town board that she read the inspection reports, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and found that the applicants weren’t up to date. The copies of reports by Fusco Engineering, the planning board’s engineer, are too light to read, she said.

Related story:

"Angry residents say Chester disregards ethics":

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