Hearing on McGhee Hill housing development

MILLERTON — The public hearing on a proposed 148-acre subdivision on McGhee Hill opened at the North East Planning Board meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

The application from MGHR, LLC proposes to build 10 single-family homes, three to five bedrooms in size, on parcels ranging from 7.5 to almost 25 acres.

The plan calls for the clearing of 8.5 acres of forest — 103 acres of the land is wooded. It also places clear-cutting restrictions on 10.2 acres of trees along McGhee Hill Road, which no one has the power to enforce.

The public hearing followed the board’s determination that the LLC’s proposal for the project, which was first submitted two years ago, was complete. MGHR’s representative reminded the board of this determination when the board suggested that it wouldn’t close the hearing until it had seen plans updated with recent changes, specifically, the inclusion of orange construction fencing around a stormwater drainage area.

Further concerns raised at the hearing included a request from planning board member Bill Kish that MGHR consider extending the (unenforcable) clear-cutting protections to include forested areas at the rear of the properties, and a study by Millerton’s Conservation Advisory Council explaining that the 8.5 acres of clear cutting required by the current plan would cause the loss of a total of 41 acres of core forest habitat by effectively punching holes throughout the wooded area. While no decisions were reached on these points, the board did determine that it would make a plan for the role and responsibilities of an on-site environmental monitor before its next meeting.

The board also determined to continue the public hearing at its meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 7:35 p.m.

Once the hearing has been closed, the board has 65 days to decide whether or not it will approve the development.

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