Sharing letter to Planning and Village boards from a resident

Jim Mason sent this letter to the Planning and Village boards and allowed me to share here.

This is an opinion/letter. If you’re interested in posting one, email it to

Rick Geiger, Chair
Trumansburg Village Planning Board
56 East Main Street
Trumansburg, NY 14886

RE: Hamilton Square Project – 46 South Street

Dear Rick:

I believe that the revised plat plan proposal submitted to the Village Planning Board at their working meeting October 12 is a substantial improvement over previous submittals.

The latest proposal does however still contain several important issues that I feel have not been adequately addressed. Among these are:

1) Is designating a substantial portion of the roads within the project as “private” simply a pretext to avoid compliance with the Village Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations in regards to set back distances for the proposed structures and the regulations (Section 112.6) regarding street construction specifications? This is of particular concern in the latest plat version that provides for a “private” road to South Street. As the plan stands now, the street’s right-of-way would appear to impinge upon existing property lines of homes on South Street. In addition, if the proposal to divert all traffic to the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the project is adopted, does that not negate the results of the “traffic study” that was recently submitted to the Planning Board?

2) If a street is “private,” who would be responsible for maintaining water and sewer lines, fire hydrants and storm sewers?

3) The proposed subdivision plans call for managing storm water runoff (and snowmelt) from the streets, parking lots, driveways and rooftops by collecting it in “stormwater management systems”. These so called “systems” are simply low-lying ponding areas. I doubt that the project designers took note of the fact that there are nearly 20 ponds within little more than a half mile of the proposed development and that they are filled to capacity with naturally occurring ground water year round! In addition, some of the proposed systems are located within a few feet of designated wetland areas. In other words – in soils that are already saturated!

4) By collecting and concentrating runoff from streets and parking lots in grassy areas, what happens to the deicing chemicals and other contaminants in the runoff?

As was recently demonstrated to residents of South Street Extension, ponds constructed in the area very quickly further saturate the soil and send seepage into neighboring basements, lawns and septic fields. Even a moderate rain storm results in the South Street ditches and culverts filling to capacity. I understand that the developers have conducted hydrological surveys of the area, but real life experience of drainage issues in the area tend to suggest contradictory evidence to their conclusions.

Many of us share a real concern that the proposed Hamilton Square project is totally out of scale, not only for the proposed site, but for our Village as a whole. There can be no doubt but that a development of this magnitude will have very serious environmental consequences and that the impacts would not be limited to the boundaries of the development itself, but extend to the neighboring community as well. I hope this will be given serious consideration prior to any approvals the Planning Board renders.

I very much appreciate the diligence and perseverance with which you and the Planing Board have conducted your review of this project, and trust that these concerns can be successfully resolved.


Jim Mason
Trumansburg, NY 14886
cc: Victoria Romanoff
Hanna Carver
John Ulberg
Jessica Giles

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