Patterson Crossing clears first hurdle
Putnam County Courier
PATTERSON--The Patterson Planning Board issued its
Findings Statement last week giving developer Paul
Camarda the OK to proceed with site plans for the
382,560 square foot shopping center proposed for
the Route 311-I-84 corridor at the Patterson-Kent
The Findings Statement followed the board's acceptance
of the project's Final Environmental Impact Statement.
Supervisor Michael Griffin called the action a "huge
obstacle for the project to have overcome. With all
the rules and regulations out there, it is a tremendous
feat to have successfully completed the rigorous
Griffin agreed that the "project was a long
way from becoming a done deal but our board's actions
have allowed the plan to proceed to the next level."
Griffin looked into his crystal ball and forecast
that Patterson Crossing would become reality: "If
Mr. Camarda has been able to keep his anchors in
place this long and has committed to the project
along with the fact that 80-85 percent of the people
of Patterson want the project, cool minds will eventually
prevail and realize the benefits of the project to
our entire county. Personally, I believe that Mr.
Camarda has done an outstanding job in making an
effort to address all of the concerns to the greatest
extent practical. He has completely redesigned the
project from the original plan and has moved all
of the buildings and loading docks far away from
the residential neighborhood. The man has gone to
great lengths to bring in designs which have made
Patterson Crossing pedestrian friendly, user friendly
and green friendly. Once completed Patterson Crossing
will put Putnam on the map. The benefits derived
from this project will far outweigh any of the negatives."
Camarda said he and his staff were working "extremely
hard to answer all questions and concerns by dotting
every 'I' and crossing every 't.' I want everyone-supporters
and naysayer alike to know that we are doing everything
the right way. As a matter of fact, we are exceeding
Camarda estimated that he has expended $2.5 million
to date in "paper soft costs not including the
land purchase. Between planning, engineering, soil-testing
and traffic consultants, the price has skyrocketed
to $2.5 million with one million dollars of that
being spent on planning alone."
Patterson Crossing's Draft Environmental Impact
Statement was approved almost two years ago. Camarda
said he answered more than 1,100 questions from the
public in writing which became the Final Environmental
Impact Statement. That was accepted in June and now
with the Findings Statement being issued, within
the next 45 to 60 days, actual finite site plans
will be submitted for town review. Camarda has promised
to detail "every building, parking space, tree
Camarda has come under attack from residents of
the Lake Carmel area who fear for the safety of their
lake should the project reach fruition.
Camarda assured residents of Kent in an interview
with the Courier last Friday that the project has
gone beyond the regulations by making sure that water
quality of Lake Carmel actually improves.
Camarda said his engineers have devised a plan that
will treat water running from I-84 and Route 311. "Water
will be taken from the two ramps and will be treated
before it reaches Lake Carmel. This alone will be
a tremendous improvement to the water quality. The
water quality in Lake Carmel will be better off once
the project is completed than it is today," he
Camarda called the hysteria being created by "a
few residents and organizations not supported by
Despite Camarda's assurances and the endorsement
of the project by Supervisor Griffin, a number of
Lake Carmel and Patterson residents protested the
Planning Board's issuance and approval of the findings
opening the door for Patterson Crossing to proceed
with site plans.
Ann Fanizzi of Carmel forecast that "Stop Patterson
Crossing" members would continue to vigorously
oppose the project with weekly demonstrations and
Fanizzi charged that Patterson Crossing would "disproportionately
harm Lake Carmel by subjecting the community and
its residents to blasting, noise, crime, air pollution
and traffic leaving the vast majority of Patterson
unaffected enjoying the peace and tranquility of
Other opposition has been generated by George Nikitovich
of Cross River. Nikitovich forecast should Patterson
Crossing become reality "Putnam's motto of 'Come
to Where the Country Begins' will change to 'Come
to Where the Rats and Run-off Begin'."
Paul Spiegel of Lake Carmel believes bringing a
project of this magnitude to Putnam County would "attract
the criminal element. Leaving our cars and homes
unlocked will be a memory."
Adam Greene of Brewster charged that Southeast's "stupidity" 25
years ago cost Putnam County hundreds of millions
of dollars in sales tax revenue when local officials
failed to approve a major shopping complex that later
became the Danbury Fair Mall. "It was ours for
the asking. The mall was proposed not once or twice
but three times for Southeast. Finally, the developers
got sick and tired of the ridiculous Southeast administration
and moved a mile across the border into Connecticut
that welcomed the mall with open arms. I hope we
haven't forgotten about that expensive mistake," he
Christina Fatum of Lake Carmel said large scale
development comes with a price. "This is the
country. We want to keep it that way," she said.
Kevin Bailey, President of the non-for-profit Putnam
County Economic Development Corporation, lauded the
town's decision: "People want commercial development
in strategic locations such as along the I-84 corridor
to help the overly burdened Putnam County property
owner. Projects of this type do not destroy communities.
They add to the lifestyle of a town."
Bailey predicted that Putnam will always remain
beautiful due to the New York City watershed which
allows for limited development: "Route 84 at
Route 311 is the perfect location provided the residents
of Patterson are desirous of the shopping center."
Bailey also said the town's decision coincided with
e-mails and correspondence received by his office
from residents of Kent concerning the proposal: "The
majority of the e-mails from Lake Carmel residents
are fearful yet many received each week want the
Camarda firmly believes Patterson Crossing is in
the best interests of the residents of Putnam County. "We
are talking about generating millions of dollars
of sales tax each year. Sales tax is a viable solution
in easing skyrocketing property tax," he said.
Camarda said the project would not succeed until
all avenues were thoroughly reviewed: "Outside
interests including the Clean Water Coalition and
Trout Unlimited are hiring people to do anything
they can to fault my work."
Plans call for the shopping center to be constructed
on 90 acres of land adjacent to Exit 18 along Interstate
84. Forty of the acres will be used for the center
while the remainder will remain green. Camarda hopes
to locate a Costco warehouse store, a Lowe's Home
Center and several other shops on the property.