Cackletown Road development broached, then squashed

By CHARLIE BUTERBAUGH

NARROWSBURG, NY — Plans to develop a major subdivision were unmasked here March 21 in a manner that irritated Town of Tusten planners.

In February Sandor Gestetner addressed the planning board about subdividing five acres from a 237-acre parcel along Cackletown Road, which is largely made up of rocky terrain and low-lying wetlands. At that point concerned neighbors asked about Gestetner’s intentions for the entire property. One neighbor asked him if there was a possibility of the property becoming a bungalow colony.

Gestetner said he planned to preserve 150 acres as open space and build single-family summer homes.

He then took it upon himself to send the board an 8-by-11-inch sketch showing the entire 237 acres divided into 24 lots. “I just wanted to show that there are possible ideas of development. I’m just showing that I’m not going to do bungalows,” Gestetner said on March 21.

At the meeting he wanted to set the major residential development project aside for the time being and proceed with his application to build one house on five acres, but the board and its attorney categorically rejected the idea.

“It [the sketch] puts us on notice that what we’ve been told all along is simply not the case,” Town Attorney Jeffrey Clemente said. “You need to treat it as a 24-lot subdivision and start over,” he said to the board.

Clemente said Tusten’s subdivision law frowns upon piecemeal development. “If this is what he [Gestetner] wants to do, you can’t do anything until you’ve got a properly drawn map. This is clear proof that there’s a concept beyond which you were given,” Clemente said.

Gary Packer, the engineer representing Gestetner, reassured the board that he had not seen the 24-lot sketch before the meeting and that he was merely representing his client on the five-acre lot project.

Clemente then said to Packer, “You can be his representative but he still has the right to shoot himself in the foot. This [the sketch] is his own suicidal note.”

Gestetner said he was only trying to be upfront about his intention to develop the parcel into a residential subdivision by submitting the sketch.

“To use that to stop this whole process—I just don’t see it. I thought I was being nice,” he said before calling the board’s response “blackmail.”

Board chairman Edwin Jackson reiterated that the town would only review the project as a complete concept. “If this is what it’s going to boil down to eventually, let’s get our feet wet,” he said.

“What we’re going to do is let you withdraw both drawings and cancel this until you come back and tell us what you really want to do,” Jackson said.

Board member Jack Lang made a motion to reject all previously submitted drawings related to the Cackletown Road property. The board approved the motion unanimously.