On Sept. 8 the Village of Tarrytown issued a Stop Work Order to Toll Brothers due to construction violations on the development of Westchester Estates at Wilson Park. Despite corrective measures, such as erecting barriers around the drip lines of trees and rerouting utility trenches to protect tree roots, residents continue to find fault with the construction. Friday morning they gathered to demand answers.
"This has changed the way we live," said River Terrace resident Mimi Godwin. "Something is wrong with the supervision of this project."
Tarrytown Village Administrator Mike Blau said Toll Brothers currently has a permit to build only one house, but that they do have permission to do the site work necessary to bring utilities to the whole development.
"I'm getting a lot of emails about this," Blau said. Most complaints have to do with the trenches being dug for water, sewer and drainage pipes, and with construction vehicles trying to come up steep, narrow Cobb Lane in violation of orders only to access the site via County House Road.
In September the driver of an 18-wheeler truck was issued two tickets for using the wrong road to the site and for unloading before 8 a.m.
"I can show you the written orders for trucks directing them to County House Road, but everyone has GPS," said Toll Brothers' Casey Devlin.
Residents of River Terrace are annoyed right now by the lingering presence of a backhoe, jack hammer and dump truck on their short, dead-end street. Ironically, the work wasn't part of the original plan. Tarrytown asked Toll Brothers to add utility lines on the street, at the developer's expense, so the lines would connect in a loop to those of the new development.
"Unfortunately, we hit rock," said Devlin, "so this is taking longer than it should." The road will also be paved at the developer's expense. "We are not even supposed to be doing this, but we are trying to be good neighbors."
Godwin said she has come home to find construction workers sitting on her patio. "Maybe Toll Brothers is not used to having an established community smack in the middle of your project," she said.
Village engineer Mike McGarvey said he was aware that one employee of a subcontractor doing the trench work on River Terrace and Warner Lane had been particularly rude to residents, even calling one woman a "bitch." McGarvey said the man is no longer working on the project.
Devlin said he expects the trench work for the utilities to be finished by the end of October. Thereafter, the work will limited to the lots that have sold. Toll Brothers has deposits on 9 of the 14 lots. Work is likely to proceed on multiple sites simultaneously.
House size continues to be an issue. The model home at the corner of Wilson Park Drive and County House Road that is nearing completion is nearly 10,000 square feet if you include the basement, attic and garage. "Am I going to have a monster like that next my house?" asked River Terrace resident Veronica Desanctis.
"No home will be larger than the model home," said Toll Brothers Chris Badger. "The homes will likely be between 3,800 and 5,000 square feet."
The permitting process for the individual lots could begin in two months. While the Stop Work Order has been lifted, if Toll Brothers is found to have committed even one more environmental violation, the Village will once again take action.
"They will have to hire someone, at their own expense, to oversee this project," said Blau.