Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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June 15th, 2012

When Should a Housing Development be Approved?

Sullivan County is in need of new housing, but understandably people do not want to see change in their backyard, and often resist construction and development.

Any new housing development being built in Sullivan County must somehow guarantee the homes will remain on the tax rolls. Otherwise everything feasible must be done to stop such development. Sullivan County can no longer be the haven for tax exempt properties.

While the types of housing developments being proposed should be a concern, we can never allow trepidations spill over to what can appear to be discriminatory and unfair housing practices.

There has been a great deal of controversy involving several proposed housing developments slated for Sullivan County. Some concerns are justified while others are not.

In the Town of Bethel there appears to be unease and a divide amongst some elected town officials in publically supporting of the expansion of Chapin Estate in a remote part of Lumberland that is only accessible through Bethel.

Chapin Estate has attracted the type of people and tax base we desperately need in Sullivan County. The builders of Chapin Estate have a proven track record. The concern of road usage is nonsense.

Supervisor Dan Strum, and Council member Vicky Vassmer-Simpson as well as the late great Dick Crumley, deserve praise for voting for a resolution supporting the expansion. Hopefully, Lumberland will take note, and fast track the approval processes.

In the Town of Thompson and Fallsburg residents are in an uproar over massive housing developments being planned bordering the two townships. Shockingly these developments have been in the works for several years, but have been kept under the radar. Now that local residents have caught wind, some officials are scrambling to find ways to make it difficult for these developers to develop.

Clearly Sullivan County needs new housing, especially if we ever get casino gaming. None the less, people have legitimate concerns these new developments will not aid Sullivan County’s economic or housing plight.

People are nervous these proposed communities will turn into Hassidic or Orthodox Jewish housing, become tax exempt and dramatically further change their townships shape. Does this at all sound discriminatory?

Sullivan County needs more housing communities such as Chapin Estate that attracts weekenders from New York City. These types of potential homeowners would contribute to our tax base and help grow our economy. Senior citizen housing and assisted living communities are also lacking in Sullivan County. It is unclear if these new communities will achieve these goals.

On top of all this, and even more chilling is that our county regrettably and urgently needs section 8 and shelter type housing. Social Service is placing people in motels costing us a fortune.

Not only is it bleeding us financially, but it is taking away from potential tourists who rightfully refuse to stay in what have become welfare motels.

I wish someone would deal with our welfare motel issue once and for all. We need to come up with a plan to stop what has become a haven for free housing. Perhaps can obtain a grant and construct shelter housing.

Unmistakably planning Boards and Town Boards have difficult decisions when it comes to development. Earlier this year the Forestburgh Town Board disbanded their Planning Board because they weren’t in agreement with development.

Any proposed development can be delayed for years thanks to technicalities, often forcing developers to walk away from their projects.

When should a housing development be approved? I guess when it is far far away.

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