There are any number of scatological figures of speech one might use when referring to sewer systems. But sewers create opportunity. Where sewers go, development follows and money flows. Those pipes carry more than waste — they carry connections and green-flowing mana.
Sewers create cost opportunity in Western Ramapo — it’s much easier to build and plug into an existing sewer infrastructure when rural septic systems are removed from the development equation.
Less than a year ago, Rockland County Executive Ed Day met with Tuxedo officials, Dianne Philips, executive director of Rockland County Sewer District 1, and Related Companies Vice President Andrew Dance to discuss the possibility of hooking up the proposed Tuxedo Farms development to the Western Ramapo Sewer extension.
Tuxedo Reserve and its various Tuxedo Farms corporations are working to put shovel to ground for the phased development of single-family homes, condominiums and townhouses on 1,266 acres just northwest of Sloatsburg under the brand name Tuxedo Farms. Tuxedo Farms is working at this time with the Town of Tuxedo to provide a Wastewater Collection System and Sewage Treatment Plant (WWTP) for Tuxedo Farms and the Tuxedo Hamlet District, known locally as the East Village. The entity under discussion would be called the Tuxedo Sewage-Works Corp.
It’s a complex issue with two basic options — invest in Tuxedo infrastructure that provides sewage services to Tuxedo Farms and the town or hook up to an established state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility down Rt. 17 in Hillburn, which would cross a county line and all that that entails.
The Rockland County Sewer Board of Commissioners just changed leadership. Withthe March resignatin of longtime Commission Chair Julius Graifman, Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence has ascended to the Chair’s seat. In his regular Village Board update as Commissioner of Public Works and appointed member to the Rockland Sewer Commission, Sloatsburg Village Trustee Dan O’Leary said that St. Lawrence had made it known that he now supported the Tuxedo Farm bid to hook up to the Rockland County Sewer District 1.
Trustee O’Leary said that St. Lawrence spoke of his support of the Tuxedo connection while discussing what his general efforts might be as Commission Chair to the commission at the April 23 meeting. The Tuxedo connection discussed would initially involve Tuxedo Farms and the Hamlet, currently under the Tuxedo WWTP plan, and could eventually connect up much of Tuxedo to Rockland sewers.
St. Lawrence’s support of shared municipal services could change the Tuxedo Farms dynamic at the Rockland County Legislative level, where any movement to connect Orange County with Rockland County has stalled. Local Rockland law must be changed to allow for the connection.
In June of 2014, Rockland County Executive Ed Day proposed a Public Hearing to the Rockland County Planning & Public Works Committee to permit just such a change in county law, allowing for services outside of the county’s geographical boundaries. The county legislature voted 5-2 against the proposed Public Hearing, with Sloatsburg’s county representative Douglas Jobson voting yes to a holding a public meeting on the law change.
Legislator Alden H. Wolfe, District 6, reportedly reminded the Chair during those proceedings that a proposed law must be sponsored by a member of the county legislature to be put on the agenda. With St. Lawrence’s support, legislative sentiment on connecting Tuxedo into Western Ramapo may change.
There is statewide pressure, especially supported by NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for municipalities to share and/or merge duplicate services to seek out budget savings. Ed Day is an advocate of merged services, and the Town of Ramapo has grown through swallowing up surrounding village municipal services.
With sewer infrastructure in place, the whole Western Ramapoand Tuxedo corridor is poised for growth, with the Ramapo Woodmont Apartments along Rt. 17 already in the works and projects in parts of Sloatsburg in the planning stage. Tuxedo Farms are poised for growth.