Letter to Claverack ZBA

Richard Cross

10 Van Winkle Rd

Hudson, NY 12534

518 588 5421 cell



Carlton Farms

317 Prospect St.

Montrose, PA 18801



Claverack Zoning Board of Appeals

Mr. David Graziano (Chair) 

Mr. Steve Melnyk 

Mr. August Abatecola 

Mr. Chris Post 

Mr. John Porto 

Ms. Jodi Keyser (Secretary) 

629 State Rte. 23B
Claverack, NY 12513

July 26, 2022

Dear Claverack Zoning Board members,

I am the owner of 90+/- acres of land in Claverack, known as Evergreen Estates, an approved but largely undeveloped subdivision on State Rt 23, a few miles east of the village and a few miles west of the Taconic Parkway.

I am writing in favor of the proposed Getaway Camp Ground application.

I understand that the Zoning Board members are currently considering an appeal from neighbors regarding the decision of the Town’s Code Enforcement Officer Donald R. Smith that the proposed Getaway Outpost meets the definition of Camp Ground in Claverack’s Zoning Ordinance.

I am in agreement with the Code Enforcement Officer that the proposed Getaway Outpost is a Camp Ground. First, the proposed Getaway property is a “lot under the control of one … business, including… structures on such lot, on which are located five or more [currently a back-of-house structure]… trailers [currently 38 Tiny Houses]… intended for temporary or seasonal overnight occupancy.” Second, “trailers” perfectly describes the Tiny Houses on wheels registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The trailers or Tiny Houses are “intended for temporary …overnight occupancy” so that they can be used by different people at different times and, in the future, can be conveniently upgraded, updated, or replaced when requirements or customs change. Also, the trailers are “intended for … seasonal overnight occupancy,” in fact since the trailers can be heated AND air-conditioned, they can be used in all four seasons. There is absolutely no reason to question the Code Enforcement Officer’s determination that the Getaway Outpost meets the definition of Camp Ground; in addition, the Town Officer should be given deference if there is any need to interpret the zoning code.

Understandably, there are neighborly questions and concerns about Getaway’s plans. Getaway’s representatives have told me that they have met with concerned neighbors and have adjusted Getaway’s plans to meet any issues.  

Frankly, I have my own concerns. For 22 years, the property has been my family’s nature preserve. I like sharing it and have made it available to immediate neighbors for dog-walking, swimming, hiking, and fishing. It is a recreational treasure featuring century oaks, numerous shagbark hickories, a dark and mysterious stand of white cedar, excellent views in all directions, and a 6-acre spring-fed, crystal clear lake. Wildlife abounds in the pristine landscape. I would like to see it preserved.

But, I like the idea that a wide range of people will get to experience nature and Claverack if Getaway’s proposal is approved. Getaway’s project relies on maintaining the property more or less as it is for the benefit of its guests. In so doing, Getaway makes a worthy partner for conservation-minded neighbors.  

Getaway’s representatives have assured me that only a few acres will be disturbed. This is in comparison with interest from developers who would build 16 homes, as permitted by the approved subdivision. In these regards, Getaway is the best choice as the subsequent owners of this exceptional Claverack property.

For these reasons, I trust that the Zoning Board of Appeals will uphold the decision of the Code Enforcement Officer and that the project will go back to the Planning Board for approval.

Sincerely yours,

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