Citizens’ group slams Legoland environmental impact statement

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Sussman: “… park as proposed is inconsistent …”

GOSHEN – The Goshen Town Board voted in July to accept the final environmental impact statement for the proposed Legoland theme park, just off Route 17.  That has not stopped the vigorous opposition.
Attorney Michael Sussman, representing Concerned Citizens of the Hudson Valley, spent over a half-hour Wednesday in his crowded Village of Goshen office, summarizing a more than 100-page report prepared by certified planner J. Theodore Fink, of Rhinebeck-based Greenplan Inc.  Fink is also an adjunct instructor on environmental issues at Marist College.
Sussman quoted from Fink’s report as it referenced the Town of Goshen’s Comprehensive Plan:
“A themed amusement park seems to be the very kind of project that the comprehensive plan was designed to avoid”
Sussman argues the proposal clearly goes against the long-established nature of not just the surrounding area but the Town of Goshen itself.
“Indeed, the themed amusement park as proposed is inconsistent with the town’s three overlay districts created to protect rural, environmental and agricultural in the area’s map.”
The attorney further noted that the plan seems to encourage “small-scale neighborhood commercial use.”
Sussman accused the FEIS of “cherry-picking” around the stipulations.
“In other words, you can’t study a project and act like the project is a self-contained entity and not study the impact, potential impact, significant potential impact of the project.”
Sussman also contends this all goes against Orange County’s Comprehensive Plan.
“Map five in the county’s farmland plan clearly identifies the Legoland parcel proposed for rezoning in this way, quote: ‘as farmland; priority, for preservation’.”
Sussman concluded by saying what Orange County needs is “smart growth” that provides for economic opportunity and addresses critical housing needs without changing the unique character of the county.
Meanwhile, Phil Royle, the local Legoland official, said parent company Merlin Entertainment has “been fully responsive to questions and comments submitted to us by members of the community, and have accommodated concerns by incorporating additional mitigation measures throughout the course of this review.” He said the company is “confident in the thoroughness of the FEIS, which the Goshen Planning Board deemed complete and is based on substantiated facts and extensive research.”