Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) was at the site of the controversial South Blooming Grove development known as Clovewood on Thursday, calling for the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to enforce its six standing ‘cease and desist’ directives.
DEC ‘stop-work’ orders were sent in May, June, July, August, September, and November of 2022, prohibiting any work to proceed at the site, except for steps taken to prevent soil erosion. The orders dealt with permit infractions relating to Article 11 (fish and wildlife) and Article 17 (water pollution control) of Environmental Conservation Law, the former relating to the habitat and foraging habits of a threatened species, the timber rattlesnake. Failure to comply with the orders could result in potential fines of up to $37,500 per day.
The massive housing project, initially proposed in 2018, underwent a four year environmental review. The DEC, however, has consistently denied the required permits to address water, sewer, and wildlife impacts. Nonetheless, the developers continued work, resulting in the issuance of numerous stop work orders ever since.
“Given the developers’ flagrant violation of not one, not two, but six DEC directives to halt all work, I can’t stand by and allow these scofflaws to continue unchecked,” said Skoufis. “Today, I’m again calling on the DEC to levy the maximum possible fines against these bad actors and shut their flagrancy down. A hammer needs to be dropped on Clovewood’s developers to clearly demonstrate once and for all that they’re not above the law.”
In December, Skoufis sent a letter to the DEC urging the agency to enforce its existing stop-work orders, following numerous complaints being reported by his office on behalf of concerned residents regarding ongoing construction and unlawful practices at the site.