SUFFERN — Ramapo has turned a $1 investment into a $5 million profit for taxpayers.
The long-anticipated sale of the Suffern Quarry has been finalized, town officials said Friday.
The buyer, DelCalzo Realty of Paramus, has announced plans to seek Suffern land-use approvals to build 500,000 square feet of industrial space on the property. The property is zoned for the light industry and doesn't allow for housing unless the Suffern Board of Trustees grants a zone change upon request.
Mayor Michael Curley said Friday the village is preparing to update its comprehensive plan for development. He said his concerns are how development affects traffic and flooding in the western Ramapo village.
The buyer also bought the former restaurant property that's a gateway to the former quarry site, Curley said.
"If the plans are good for Suffern, they are good for me," Curley, a local businessman who won election in November, said. "We will only take responsible building. We are watchful for traffic, hearing from our residents' concerns and flooding concerns."
Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht said he's happy for the financial windfall and seeing the property back on the tax rolls for residents of the town and Suffern Central School District.
"The closing took a bit longer than we anticipated," Specht said, then laughed, "We received a good return on the town's $1 investment."
Specht said the Town Board would discuss how to use the windfall, including cutting property taxes or financing infrastructure improvements, which are normally bonded.
"Whatever we decide, the taxpayers will benefit," Specht said. "The amount is big enough to have multiple benefits."
From sale to sale
Ramapo obtained the property for $1 in December 2006 after Tilcon Quarry closed the quarry, leaving a large hole on the 60-acre site overlooking Suffern's main business district.
The town had ambitious plans to use the land for flood-containment in Suffern, where property and housing have suffered heavy damage from storms that overflow the Mahwah River. Engineers estimated the quarry could hold 268.3 million gallons of water and serve as a runoff basin.
A developer was to foot the bill for the mitigation but a plan to build luxury housing and a park on the site fell through. The developer, the Goldstein family Lynmark Group, went on to build a 92-unit luxury rental apartment complex at 92 Blauvelt Way in the village.
The quarry had an appraised value of $3 million, even as the property became a dangerous swimming hole and the site of multiple arrests for trespassing, Ramapo officials said.
Three proposals before the $5 million offer to buy the quarry ranged from $3.2 million to $1 million, along with offers to lease the 60 acres pending an option to buy down the road. The developers proposed commercial development, such as warehousing, a landscaping business and storage, and a film-production facility.
Steve Lieberman covers government, breaking news, courts, police, and investigations. Reach him at email@example.com. Twitter: @lohudlegal. Read more articles and bio. Our local coverage is only possible with support from our readers.
This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Suffern Quarry sold; village to decide what can be developed