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Orangetown Board Agrees on RPC Plan

The Orangetown Board voted to accept a revised plan for the redevelopment of the Rockland Psychiatric Center property.

The Town of Orangetown purchased 348 acres of the Rockland Psychiatric Center property in Orangeburg Jan. 22, 2003 with the goal of maintaining control of the town's future.

"I pushed for us to buy it so we would have control of our own destiny because 348 acres can change the nature of the town, depending on the nature of the development," Orangetown Councilman Denis Troy said. 

The town first laid out a plan to redevelop the property, which includes 57 buildings and Broadacres Golf Course, in 2004. The town board settled on a proposal from K Hovnanian of New York to build senior housing on the property, but that fell through in 2009. 

"It's been a frustrating process," Troy said.

The board voted last week to accept a revised plan for the site, which includes updates status of the property, and parameters for redevelopment. 

"Revising this document and gaining town board consensus on the parameters for redevelopment of the RPC fulfills a campaign commitment I made," Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart said. "The RPC Plan, as a clear description of the RPC site and consensus-based statement of the town's redevelopment goals, will aid enormously in fostering a well-informed public discussion. It is a tool for gaining the cooperation of New York State agencies with the town's redevelopment goals, and letting investors know the parameters of acceptable land use."

"It needed to be updated," Troy said. "It's a different economic climate from when the original was put together. I'm definitely happy with it. Some tweaking needed to be done. Some terminology was taken out, but I'm happy with what's left."

Stewart will bring the plan with him when he meets with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's staff in Albany later this week. Office of Mental Health and Office of General Services in November; a gathering that they felt was a sign of progress.

"I'm more optimistic now," Troy said. "Participating in the meeting with New York State, we could partner with them in marketing pieces of the property. If we can put together a joint plan with the state behind us, we have a far better shot at coming up with a good developer."

Stewart explained the primary changes from 2004.

"The main differences are updates, specific information as to the changes in the site over almost 10 years," Stewart said. "For example, the status of the state's operation has changed. They have gotten people out of Staff Court."

He said the calculations of the overall property, and various breakdowns were also improved.

"A third big change is to take the whole thing a step further and lay out some basic parameters for redevelopment," Stewart said. "Trying to distill it down to five or six sacred principals."

Those include taking down existing buildings, recruiting development that will bring tax revenue, developing parks by the water, dealing with the deficit from Broadacres and keeping viable traffic patterns that will not overly tax smaller roads in mind.

"Let's all remember this," Stewart said. "It really helps."

The maps in the presentation were also upgraded and the language was improved. The full plan is attached to this report. 

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