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Tower Hill subdivision hearing airs three-lot plan for 165 acres

AMENIA —  A plan to divide a large Tower Hill parcel into three lots was the subject of a public hearing at a regular meeting of the Amenia Planning Board on Wednesday, May 24.

The application asks approval to divide a 165-acre parcel into three separate parcels, not for immediate subdivision, but for estate planning purposes.

With no immediate plans for additional subdivision of 165 acres on Tower Hill zoned as Rural Agricultural (RA) that requires a minimum of 10 acres, the first mapped parcel would measure 44.7 acres, the second would hold 86.6 acres, and the third would be 33.9 acres. Each would be considered to be a conventional lot.

A neighboring resident asked for clarification on development restrictions, noting that the property already holds three primary dwellings, and also asking whether the property owners would need to return to the planning board for approval. Increased housing density was also a concern to residents.


The Troutbeck re-use application continues under consideration. The planning board listed items that have not yet been received, including determination from the zoning board of appeals (ZBA). Board engineer John Andrews reported that the matter has been discussed by the ZBA and that the minutes will be provided within the 45 days allowed.

Conservation advisory council (CAC) Chairman Michael Peek reported that the CAC had arranged for a site visit to Troutbeck.

“We hope that the CAC is helpful to all parties,” Peek said.

The planning board is also awaiting comments from the local Amenia Historical Society and the State Historical Preservation Office.

SL Keane Stud Farm

A preliminary presentation of plans to subdivide 705 acres of the Keane Stud Farm on Depot Hill Road and Old Route 22 were received by the planning board. A more detailed presentation is expected at the next meeting on Wednesday, June 14, beginning at 7 p.m.

The property is presently RA-zoned and a conventional subdivision is planned to divide the property into 31 lots. Plans would call for nearly 80% of the acreage to be conserved within the boundaries of each lot, through conservation easements that would be noted as deed restrictions.

Andrews said that the total parcel could support well over 171 standard lots allowable by town regulations. Were that to be the level of density, the impact of subdivision would increase, as would traffic.

Under the 31-lot plan to be considered, the impact on the area was seen to be minimal. The aim of the project is to create large-acreage “gentleman farm” parcels.

The question posed to the planning board was whether the project sponsor had identified the acreage most deserving of conservation designation.

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