Letter from Woodstock #2

Cooper Lake Water and the Future of Local Development

Above Woodstock in the hamlet of Lake Hill is a beautiful reservoir called Cooper Lake. At dawn or at sunset it is one of the most visually thrilling locations in this part of the Catskills. Cooper Lake supplies much of the City of Kingston's water.

The water is piped down Route 212 and then down Zena Road to a water treatment facility about half way between Woodstock and Kingston.
There it is filtered

In 1999 there were considerable upgrades to the treatment facility including 8 steel pressure filters.

Woodstock Pondering Grabbing Some of Kingston's Water

Beginning in 2001 I wrote a few articles on the interest of some in Woodstock's town government to build a filtration plant to tap into and filter (as required by law) Kingston's water line coming down from Cooper Lake. Why? Well, it was to facilitate, I was told by two upper-level Woodstock officials, future growth along Wittenberg Road and up along 212 toward Lake Hill.

There are tens of millions of dollars, maybe more, to be made by rezoning to one or two acres and building tract houses and commercial buildings along the Bearsville-Wittenberg Road. To check it out, pretend you are a developer then drive along Bearsville Wittenberg Road and drool with total greed at the large fields, meadows, and buildable parcels, hundreds and hundreds of acres, along and not far from the roadway. It's a greed-head's key lime pie of absolute moolah.

The contemplated use of Kingston's water to help build out Woodstock would require building of a water filtering plant and also either the extension of the downtown sewer lines or the construction of a new treatment plant.

Several prominent Woodstockers have been pushing for both running sewer lines to the key lime moolah pie as well as filtering Cooper Lake water for the same pie.

Kingston's Expanding Its Water Selling

October 18, 2003
It was reported that the City of Kingston's water treatment plant will increase its capacity from 4,000,000 gallons per day to 8,000,000 That's double! Meaning water usage in Kingston (and the towns to which Kingston supplies water) could
increase by 100%.

January 2, 2004
More information about Kingston's water came out. State Comptroller Alan Hevesi approved the running of sewer service along Washington Avenue into the town of Ulster. This will help commercial development in the area around that difficult-to-negotiate new Thruway traffic circle.

One Ulster Councilperson has speculated that the sewer district could be extended over the Thruway to the Route 28 corridor.

If they extend the Kingston/Ulster sewer up Route 28, then it would almost be totally certain that Woodstock's water (from Cooper Lake) would be looped around and brought also, along with the sewer lines, up Route 28 into Hurley to fuel motels, malls, subdivisions and moolah.

I was suspicious of this a few years ago, and I spoke with then Kingston Mayor T.R. Gallo, who promised me that Kingston had no intention of running Cooper Lake water across the Thruway into Hurley. But now, of course, Gallo, with his enormous legacy of bring the old City Hall back to its 10th century glory, is gone, and the game of build build build is upon us in the post-911 property boom.

The Hurley Town government, I've heard, is eager to expand commercial development in order to slurp up more taxes. (There goes 375 leading into Woodstock.)

So, one question for Woodstockers is whether they want the Water from Cooper Lake diverted to spur growth on Rte 28 and Woodstock. And will there be pressure to raise the dam to hold more water?


And will Woodstock's water go in a huge circle fueling excess development?

Spot Zoning in California Quarry

California Quarry, located off Mead's Mountain Road on California Quarry Road, used to be a free campground for visitors until local controversy over hippies camping out on public property caused the Town Board in 1969 to close the Quarry and Big Deep to public use.

During the 1970s and ’80s the Town allowed the various cable companies that have owned the Woodstock/West Hurley cable system to built a concatenation of ugly towers in the Quarry. For some years, the Town received rent for use of California Quarry for cable towers, but in recent years, in a climate of ineptitude, has allowed Time-Warner to use the Quarry.

Now, along comes a company that wants to build a tower in California Quarry and give Woodstock half the money. Apparently the Town intends to spot-zone the Quarry, lowering it to an R-5 district in order for a tower to be constructed under the provisions of Woodstock's tower law.

Residents in the California Quarry are upset. It's likely they will sue, first against the spot-zoning; and second against the imposition of a huge tower and its likely attendant dish farm.

Many Woodstockers are grumbling and pointing to the old landfill as a much more appropriate place for a tower. There is pressure from cellphone users in Woodstock for better service. I'm told a system of repeaters can be placed here and there, virtually unseeable, which could bring cell service to the valleys, hills and heights of the town.

Why not the landfill? It's much more isolated, and there is already a cell tower within eyesight of the landfill, on Goat Hill Road.

How About a Woodstock Housing Authority?

Readers can read the interesting Paul Kirby article in the Freeman about the Kingston Housing Authority. The Kingston Housing Authority was formed in 1948, has owned and operated successfully a bunch of housing facilities in the 65 years of its existence.
The Kingston Housing Authority has seven complexes which it owns or manages.
Former Ulster County Democratic Chair Thomas Hoffay, is vice president of the KHA. Hoffay is an outstanding public servant, and how about Woodstock approaching Mr. Hoffay for advice and counsel on how to create a Woodstock Housing Authority?

With a WHA affordable housing could be kept affordable. It could raise money and build dispersed small-sized affordable units here and there throughout the township.
Bob Lavaggi, a Woodstock artist and man of the theater, is also knowledgeable in creating affordable housing that stays affordable housing. He could be consulted.
And Gerry Ricci is building a 4-unit affordable project on the site of the legendary Sled Hill Café on Sled Hill Road in downtown Woodstock, two of the units to be handicapped accessible.

All hail the affordable housing that stays affordable housing!