RCBJ-Audible (Listen For Free)
Traffic Concerns Raised By Rockland County Highway Engineer Recognizes Adverse Impact To West Clarkstown Road
REAL ESTATE ANALYSIS
Barring concerns from the Rockland County Highway Department, and likely objections from residents who say their local road cannot bear additional traffic, there appears to be no roadblocks for Gabe Alexander’s planned senior housing project on West Clarkstown Road in the Town of Clarkstown.
In 2022, One75 LLC, an LLC managed by local developer Gavriel (Gabe) Alexander, purchased the former site of Camp Merockdim for $3.35 million. The 9.18-acre parcel, at 175 West Clarkstown Road in New City, was last known as Camp Merockdim, an Orthodox Jewish day camp. Before that it was home to Camp Champion.
The parcel, located close to the Ramapo border, is zoned R-22, or single-family houses on half acre parcels, but the developer has advanced a plan to secure a Special Permit and construct a 146,880 square-foot senior housing complex with 96 one-bedroom and 25 two-bedroom apartments with 217 parking spaces. The original plan for a three-story, 265,654 square-foot building for 144 senior housing units was scaled back when changes to the Clarkstown code altered the parking requirements and reduced the number of permissible units.
Senior housing is allowed by special permit in the Town’s R-22 districts on state and county roads.
Although the developer has yet to appear before the Clarkstown Planning Board, several reviews with Clarkstown’s Technical Advisory Committee, including one on November 15, indicates few obstacles remain before Alexander can secure the Special Permit he needs to build the senior housing project.
In a critical assessment by the Rockland County Highway Department (West Clarkstown Road is a county road), County Engineer Dyan Rajasingham called West Clarkstown Road a “minor arterial roadway” with each lane being 10 feet wide, and described it as “a narrow two-lane roadway without shoulders that passes mainly through residential neighborhoods.”
“The annual average daily traffic on West Clarkstown Road is over 6276 and gradually increasing every year,” he wrote. “During peak hours, vehicular and pedestrian traffic is often heavy and congested on West Clarkstown Road including at intersections.”
Rajasingham concluded that “the proposed senior housing facility would further impact the traffic conditions in the area” and suggested that the road needs to be improved, with consideration given to “adding a left turn lane on West Clarkstown Road at the driveway to promote traffic safety and keep up the same level of service.”
At the recent TAC meeting, the traffic engineer for the developer minimized the necessity for the left turn lane, but said he would discuss the suggestion with Alexander.
The next stop for Alexander is the Clarkstown Planning Board.
In January, Planning Board Chairman Gil Heim said his board is facing an “existential crisis” when it comes to approving development projects on West Clarkstown Road. He instructed members of Clarkstown’s TAC meeting reviewing Alexander’s plan to pay particular attention to the traffic issues. Heim also called for the town to hire a new traffic firm to lend a fresh pair of eyes to the issue.
“Maybe the town should look at hiring a different traffic consultant,” he said. “I have nothing against AKRF but it’s the same person looking at all the sites on the road.”
Members of the local affiliate of CUPON (Citizens United to Protect Our Neighborhoods) have been voicing opposition to traffic implications of projects on West Clarkstown Road for several years, and continue to protest a proposal to construct a religious school at 31-41 West Clarkstown Road, north of the former camp location.
Alexander is an experienced developer in Rockland County. He is the developer of a former bungalow colony on Oak Tree Lane in Haverstraw where he proposing to construct 228 units of market rate housing. His firm constructed the Pavion Apartment complex on a former cosmetics factory site in Nyack; he recently purchased the 225-unit Mountainside Apartments in Garnerville. He also has extensive warehouse and land holdings in Orangetown, and owns retail shopping plazas on major arteries.
Alexander originally contracted to purchase the camp property in 2021.