Letters to the Editor - Millerton News - 5-23-19

On Monday, May 20, Amenia’s Zoning Board of Appeals heard comments regarding the proposed golf facility to be located in the center of Smithfield Valley and visible clearly from most points, including the Smithfield Valley Church, Route 83, Separate Road and the surrounding properties. Hopefully concerned residents were able to attend the meeting and express their views, and will attend future such meetings as well.

Recall that property owners Herb Allen and Monica de la Torre have designed their proposed private indoor golf facility to be 47 feet high and have a footprint of approximately 15,000 square feet. The building will sit in critical scenic, agricultural and aquifer overlays. It has been documented by Hudsonia, that the building will certainly have a negative impact on the environment critical to the Wassaic Creek, Smithfield Valley wetlands, vegetation and established trees. Further,  it will most likely be in violation of the government easements and guidelines currently in place to protect endangered species established by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Each of us will have our own reaction to the proposed golf facility, but there is no denying it will change Smithfield Valley forever. More importantly, it emasculates future zoning regulations by establishing a precedent that will be unavoidable as other similar, or worse, projects seek to rely on this if approved. You can imagine other inappropriate designs and uses being proposed by individuals with no interest in preserving the natural beauty that contributes to our community pride and enjoyment, in addition to our property values.

This is a critically important issue to follow, so please consider sharing your concerns by attending future meetings or by writing to both the Amenia Zoning and Planning boards, regarding the proposed indoor golf facility.

Craig Callen

on behalf of Friends of Smithfield Valley Conservation



About the indoor golf range application

An application has been submitted to the Amenia Zoning Board of Appeals for approval for an indoor golf driving range, in the middle of the Smithfield Valley, by a resident on Route 83. The proposed site is highly visible and should concern all residents of Amenia.  

I have lived in the Smithfield Valley for some 30 years and was astounded to hear that a building almost the size of a Best Buy store was envisaged to be built in an area that is designated an agricultural zone. The applicant’s attorney has attempted to justify the building by suggesting it was a supplemental building to the main house and would be used for the housing of farm equipment and recreational purposes. Let us be clear and understanding of the enormity of this structure, it will be the largest single structure from Route 44 to Pine Plains! Even the Coon Brothers dairy farm does not have such a building for all their equipment, forage and animals.

It is also difficult for a layman to understand how a building can be reasonably suggested to be an ancillary building to the main house when it will be some four times the size of the house and almost a mile away.  Surely, we did not go through the process of rezoning a few years ago to end up with this result. In terms of visual pollution, it equals the past application for a helipad in the valley.

My thinking is that if this application and zoning exception is permitted, it opens us up to motorcycle racetracks, shooting ranges, and private Lego Towns being set up by our neighbors. This is a slippery slope that the residents of Amenia will be taken down by permitting this building, the true purpose of which is an indoor golf driving range for private use.  

The beauty and character of the Smithfield Valley is a resource for all residents of Amenia and needs to be preserved. Every concerned resident should get involved and make their voice heard.

Rodney Paterson