Beacon Citizen Network (BCN): a place for neighbors to get the word out, be heard and stay informed in all matters concerning Beacon, NY.



Conversation with my neighbor about a developer overstepping his bounds

My neighbor, Judith Vanderhoef, approached me just now walking my kids home from school and I promised I'd get the word out so there's more awareness:

She is being bothered by a developer, Rodney Weber.

He is developing the two large parcels on South Avenue.

He added a third property to be developed, behind the two large parcels, that is accessed by an old strip of trail, running from Sargent Avenue. I think it dates to the days of the Sargent mansion. It's owned by Sycamore HOA (the circle of townhouses off Sargent) but is zoned as public access.

This developer Rodney Weber is moving trees on her property that abut the public access trail but don't overlap it, to the other end of her property (off of it in fact). He's telling her he will charge her for snow removal and maintenance from now on (her driveway overlaps the trail for some ten or twenty feet). She lives in the old Sargent Mansion cottage on 131 Sargent Avenue.

Public *shared* access does not mean this developer can come in and push people around. Even if he purchased the strip (I don't think he did) to access this third lot he is developing, the zoning hasn't changed (I know the president of Sycamore HOA personally and I'll check with him).

He should at least show some respect to the woman who has lived there for decades.

Anyway, she told me she is going to the upcoming P&Z meeting.

Show some love P&Z board, City Council and Mayor: I know you are promoting growth. But growth is not 2 new mansions in the woods (well, it used to be woods, until Rodney Weber cut down 90% of the trees on acres of land).

Ideally, we should have a TOD to promote the kind of growth we want (bike and pedestrian friendly), but that's an argument for another post.

More importantly, there will be a lot of pressure on Beacon's growth in the coming years as the real estate market heats up again and Beacon keeps ascending in awareness as a great place to move to.

Responsible growth means existing Beaconites don't get kicked around by developers, and we need to stick together on this point.

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Tags: developer, development, growth, planning and zoning, real estate


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Comment by Steve Knowles on April 23, 2015 at 3:45pm

Let's all hope the City keeps to the logical recommendation that access to all the parcels in the new development comes from South Avenue!  We are now hearing that they want it to be a 2-rod (~16 feet) wide access, which would mean two-way traffic.  Who builds a driveway that accommodates two-way traffic?  I think the likelier conclusion is that they want this as either a new entrance road to the development, or an entrance road in addition to what appears to be one off South Avenue.

Comment by judith vanderhoef on April 22, 2015 at 2:36pm

Hi again, Just wanted to tell you about last P&Z Board meeting.  As the easement wasn't on

the public agenda, we couldn't address our concerns that night.  However that didn't stop

Mr.Webber's attorney from trying to push it through. My greatest admiration for Chairman 

Sheers and board members who said there was more here than meets the eye.  Yes, and

beyond. I have now retained a lawyer myself after having realized that Rodney Webber, or 

whoever he is selling to,will ultimately have rights over my property. The last letter from

Taylor Palmer to the board reads as if I am a nuisance, refusing to cooperate with them - what?

In December when I spoke with Tina Landolfi, from Roseneth Estates, I clearly told her I wasn't

interested in signing Rodney's contracts (two), and he had plenty of time and engineers and

whatever, to build a beautiful, elegant driveway out to South Ave.  This is what the city had

recommended from the beginning.

Comment by Ben Royce on April 13, 2015 at 12:31pm

Yeah Steve I went to a kid's party at Juan's place yesterday.

Juan told me what you told me: the homeowners association has been approached, but no one has agreed to anything.

Rodney simply does not own it, and he is simply assuming he can use it authoritatively.

When I moved in, I had a conflict with a neighbor who had dumped a lot of yard waste and branches, demolition material, and common trash on my property that abuts this trail (before I had moved in).

It took me years of low grade effort to clean it up. The neighbor never helped clean up their trash.

I buried the stone and bricks, I siphoned the common trash into my own trash, and I had two large piles left: construction wood and metal framework. I piled these *alongside*, not on, the trail. On my property. This was last fall. My plan was to take it down this year in a couple of van loads when free dumping resumes at the transfer station. I'm not paying to dump someone else's trash.

But someone took the trash.

I asked around, I asked Juan. I talked to Anita about it, she lives in the corner of your development next to my property. I asked another neighbor of the trail in your development, I forget their name. No one knows who took the trash.

Rodney, if you're reading this and it was you who took the trash (I can't imagine anyone else who would do such a thing, and I see frequent tire tracks on the trail now since your development project took off): thank you for taking away the trash, sincerely. Really, thank you. It was never my trash but I inherited the responsibility for the property and I'm glad someone helped me shoulder the stupid job.

But if it was really you who took it: you should talk to us. Work with us. Not just go on other people's property and just do your thing without talking to people. We're glad to have a developer who believes in Beacon's future like we do. But there is a right way and wrong way to do things, that's all. We're happy to work *with* you. Please don't push us around.

Comment by Steve Knowles on April 13, 2015 at 9:19am

The developer's attorney contacted our association (SDHA) to try to get us to sign some kind of agreement that would be beyond whatever the easement restrictions are now.  The SDHA refused to sign it.  The attorney also approached the owner of the stone house on Sargent that is at the start of the easement, and offered her $5,000 to sign some agreement regarding the easement, she refused to take the money (or sign ;) ).  I knew when there was discussion about using this easement several years ago, that their ultimate goal was to use it as a driveway.  What is ridiculous is that the new development has driveway access to the lots via an entrance from South Avenue, so the only reason a homeowner would want to use this easement as their driveway is so they can be even more "exclusive".  I hope that back-room deals don't result in this driveway being constructed.

Comment by Ben Royce on April 11, 2015 at 6:39pm

i was notified of a correction:

this is all attached to the old Ebert Estate, not the old Sargent Estate

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