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Future Of 79-Home Proposal In Bedford Uncertain After Adjournment Request

William Balter, pictured at a Bedford Planning Board meeting in January 2015.
William Balter, pictured at a Bedford Planning Board meeting in January 2015. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- The fate of a proposed 79-home subdivision in Bedford Village is unclear after developer William Balter sent a letter to the town requesting an adjournment of the project's scoping session.

The session was scheduled for Tuesday night and was a continuation of a public meeting held in late March. The purpose of a scoping session is to gather public input for what aspects of a project should be studied as part of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

The session will be adjourned at the request of the applicant, according to a message on the town's website. In a letter, dated April 28, Balter casts doubt on whether he will continue to pursue the project in its current form.

"Yesterday we received copies of a great deal of additional correspondence relating to our proposed development," Balter wrote . "In view of the content thereof and other factors, at this point in time we are evaluating whether to continue pursuing approval of our project as proposed."

Balter declined to comment when reached on Tuesday afternoon. His firm, Wilder Balter Partners, Inc., had proposed 70 "age-targeted" homes and nine affordable-housing units on the northern part of a 113-acre site that is bounded by Old Post Road (Route 22), Crusher Road, Vinton Avenue and the Mianus River. The project also included trails on the site's southern portion, along with a working farm.

The property, owned by Marvin Schwartz of investment firm Neuberger Berman, was once proposed to have a high school for Rippowam Cisqua, according to records.

Wilder Balter is in contract to acquire the main site, which Schwartz owns through a limited liability company, along with an adjacent site near Vinton Avenue that he also owns, Balter previously explained. The developer already owns a smaller property on the other side of Crusher Road.

The project is proposed as a conservation subdivision, where residential parcels would be in closer together than what a conventional subdivision allows. Such a configuration requires a special permit approved by the Town Board. The Planning Board has been overseeing the project's environmental review. The project site has a mix of one-acre and two-acre single-family zones.

When the Planning Board convened the scoping session last month, it attracted massive public interest, so much so that the meeting to be moved from the board's annex space to the court room across the street to accommodate the turnout. The meeting lasted until nearly 2 a.m. , as the board did a page-by-page review of a draft document incorporating requested items for study.

Items of interest from residents have ranged from traffic impact to effects on wildlife to relationship with the area's water.

The project had been giving a working title called "Bedford Farm" but Balter announced at last month's meeting that it was being dropped.

Balter's adjournment request letter can be read here.

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