Development proposals of any magnitude are likely to change the environment within which it will be situated, be it natural or man-made.  They will also alter people’s perceptions of that changed environment. The visual, scenic and cultural components of the environment are extremely valuable resources and development proposals have the potential to cause significant impacts.

The drive from downtown Suffern along Route 202 to 9W is pleasurable; rustic farmland, horses, wildlife, and the Kakiat Mountains.  Sure, we all share concerns over safety from speeding cars and tractor-trailers, but the view is spectacular especially in the late spring and autumn.  Stick a high-density development as is planned for Patrick Farm with up to 5,000 people on about 1/3 mile, and this 12-mile journey is forever irreparably altered.

Professionals who analyze visual impact take into consideration the landscape’s character and environmental impact.  They look at how development will effect massing, street patterns, pedestrian movement, night illumination, litter, and anything else in conflict with the original baseline of the area.

The developer for Patrick Farm has recommended way to minimize the visual impact that 100-200 homes would have on the property.  The problem with that is the overdevelopment plan has now grown to about 500 homes.  Someone driving on either Route 202 or Route 306 would suddenly go from seeing trees and low density housing to seeing massive multi-family dwellings on the hills leading up to parkland.

ROSA seeks independent review of the inevitable visual impact any development would have, so that any detriments can be either eliminated or mitigated.  We ask for a hard look at areas with protection status, such as parks, nature reserves, scenic routes and ecosystems.  We insist that Ramapo consider the recognized special character of the place and ponder the economic impact that degradations in view may have on Rockland’s recreational enjoyment and tourism.