Camp LaGuardia Development
Camp LaGuardia is located in the Towns of Chester and Blooming Grove and the Monroe Woodbury School District and is approximately 258 acres in total (194.4 in Town of Chester, 59.6 Blooming Grove, 4.4 Village of Chester). The 1,001-bed shelter owned by New York City was being used for the city's homeless men.
It was closed and purchased by the County in 2007. The County reviewed proposals for re-development and selected Mountco Corporation, which proposed a residential and commercial project not consistent with either Towns' zoning. In 2016, as re-development plans stalled with Mountco, the County Executive presented a concept plan at the State of the County Address, which fit more in line with the zoning in the Town of Chester. Meanwhile, the Town of Chester and Town of Blooming Grove were already looking at their zoning to include light industrial uses to foster economic development with less impact on resources available than Mountco's plan.
In June 2016, The Town Board of Chester adopts a change in zoning from Office Park to Industrial. In Dec 2017, The Town of Blooming Grove adopts new zoning district entitled Non-Nuisance Industrial zoning district.
Historical Perspective: Crossroads
In Feb 2017, County Executive announces plans to solicit bids for the farmland area of the former Camp LaGuardia property but Legislators need more information County seeks to sell 130 acres
In Oct 2016, The Village of Kiryas Joel files lawsuit against change in zoning from Office Park to Industrial. In Feb 2017, Judge dismisses case. Read more:
- KJ challenges Camp LaGuardia Plans
- Judge Dismisses Camp LaGuardia KJ Lawsuit...
In March 2016, The County Executive announced that The Industrial Development Agency (IDA) voted to purchase the development rights from Mountco for the former Camp LaGuardia site. To learn more, please see link to articles below:
Residents need to stay informed and involved as the County and Towns move forward on re-development. As projects are proposed, the impact to the surrounding communities should be addressed and mitigated in regards to traffic, water, sewer, noise impacts to name a few.
Mountco Corporation Redevelopment Plan: The proposed action involved a zone text amendment in the Towns of Chester and Blooming Grove; modifications to the Chester and Blooming Grove Town Comprehensive Plans; minor subdivision approval and conceptual Site Plan approval for approximately 907 residential units and approximately 180,000 square feet of new commercial/retail/office space on the former Camp LaGuardia site.
The proposed action is then reduced to 630 residences; 315 in Blooming Grove and 315 in Chester along with 80,000 square feet of commercial space - See more at:
- Mountco is ready to make a deal
In 2010, The Preservation Collective shared their opinions on the proposed establishment of extension no. 1 to Orange County Sewer District No. 1 at a public hearing on the matter. Below is an excerpt from the minutes that summarizes the concerns that The Preservation Collective has about this issue:
Tracy Schuh, Chester, President of a not-for-profit group, The Preservation Collective, which is concerned about how the County is developed and that the proper procedures are followed in doing so. She stated that she was confused about the SEQRA documents which stated that the proposed sewer extension was being characterized as "purely administrative in nature" and will have no significant impact. She further stated that she disagreed with this assessment. She continued that giving more sewer capacity to the area would have an impact. She stated that the Administrative Head has written that there is increased potential for development; which she feels needs to be studied.
Ms. Schuh further stated that she had contacted an attorney to get a second opinion. She continued that the attorney stated that if the County was going to extend a sewer district to include Camp LaGuardia that must be part of the same SEQR review as the review of the Mountco project itself; otherwise it would be a segmented review and that was a violation of SEQR. The attorney further told her that the expansion of the sewer district is part of the same action under SEQR and therefore the County could not approve the district until the final EIS for that project is done; there cannot be a separate lead agency for the sewer district extension; it must all be part of the same EIS. She requested that all Legislators carefully review the documents regarding what they are being asked to approve.
Related documents to public hearing can be found here (note missing from answers to concerns at the public hearing are those of the Preservation Collective above). Vote went forward regardless of information but then was addressed in court.
A Supreme Court ruling annulled the Orange County Legislature’s votes in 2010 that allowed for an extension of the Orange County Sewer District No. 1 into the county’s Camp LaGuardia property. Read more in an article from The Chronicle: Blooming Grove Wins LaGuardia Sewer Dispute. (For a history of the dispute, please read: As legislators agree to expand sewer district, towns plan to sue)
The Town Board of Chester and Blooming Grove Planning Board accept Final Scope Document (outline for the Environmental Impact Study). For the version dated Feb 23, click here
The Preservation Collective submitted a letter on key issues which they felt were missing from the draft document
These issues have been widely reported in local papers. To learn more, please click on the links below:
The closing of the homeless shelter and purchase of the Camp LaGuardia property by the county were widely reported in our local newspapers. After purchasing the property the town received multiple bids from developers. The top bidders included:
- Mountco, a Scarsdale based company that proposed 807 units of rental/ownership housing, plus 165,000 sq. ft. of office space.
- Easy Equities from Whitestone, who proposed the largest plan, which consisted of 650 condos and 722 single family homes with a golf course and 500,000 sq.ft. of office space as well as a 650 room hotel.
- Malt, LLC, from Saugerties, who proposed 463 residential units, plus a golf course with lodge, and 95,000 sq. ft. of office space/hamlet center.
- Michael Parlamis, who proposed a university along with 800 residential units.
To read the details of the site and view the County's RFP for bids, click here.
The Preservation Collective was especially concerned when the county's Physical Service Committee recommended to sell Camp LaGuardia to Easy Equities, the bidder that was listed as one of NYC's 10 worst landlords.
As reported in local papers:
The County eventually moved forward with Mountco:
Community Forum, June 30: Public meeting on Camp LaGuardia to be held June 30