CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- Following complaints from residents about a fencing project by SUEZ officials to enclose the Lake DeForest area, the company said Tuesday it will stop construction of the fence in exchange for enhanced security.
Instead of fencing, the company, along with the Town of Clarkstown will partner on a pilot program designed to address security, littering and trespassing concerns by increasing fines, police patrols and establishing a telephone hotline for residents to report incidents.
Chris Graziano, SUEZ vice president and general manager, Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski have been working together since January to address community concerns and protect Lake DeForest.
The meetings resulted in solutions to a wide range of issues including security, littering, dumping, trespassing and the unauthorized use of ATVs at Lake DeForest, a four-mile long reservoir located in Clarkstown. The reservoir is a major drinking water supply for about 300,000 people in Rockland County.
“The Lake DeForest corridor is important to both the environment and the aesthetic character of Clarkstown,” said Zebrowski. “A fence would have changed the face of this waterway forever. This agreement will protect the beauty of the area while enhancing the safety of the lake.”
Under the plan, SUEZ will stop the construction of fencing around the lake and identify spots where Lake DeForest property is being encroached upon by adjacent homeowners. The company will then meet with individual homeowners to work towards correcting the encroachment, the company said.
Fencing that has been constructed along Strawtown Road will have the barbed-wire removed and painted to blend into the setting of the surrounding area. The successful completion of the pilot program would eliminate the need for the additional fencing.
“We’ve worked closely with Supervisor Hoehmann and Assemblyman Zebrowski to craft a unique pilot program that has the potential to solve all of the current issues,” said Graziano. “SUEZ is committed to maintaining the security at our public water supply at Lake DeForest while also striving to preserve the scenic beauty of the property and community.”
Hoehmann has directed the town attorney to draft legislation that will increase the protection of the watershed and increase fines for several violations. The fines will dramatically increase penalties for trespassing, dumping and littering around Lake DeForest. In addition, police patrols will be increased and a hotline established to report suspicious incidents.
“Today’s agreement balances the needs of Clarkstown residents with protecting one of our most important resources,” said Hoehmann.