At last night’s Ramapo Town Board meeting, the board members voted 5-0 to approve the sale of the Tilcon Quarry property on Lafayette Avenue in Suffern. They accepted a $5 million bid submitted by Suffern Equity Real Estate, LLC, and along with the formal acceptance of the winning bid, the board declared the site as surplus property and authorized the Supervisor to draw up a contract for the sale. The buyer stated they had no plans for housing development for the property and said they would accept the light industrial zoning limitations for its use that would include their plans for warehousing and storage.
The $5 million price far exceeds the most recent round of competitive bidding for the quarry. Last July, there were three offers made, including: $1 million from BH Landscaping of Spring Valley; a two-year lease at $10,000 a month followed by a 90% of fair market value to purchase the property from local developer Claudio Iodice; and a $3.2 million offer from Cortland Highview LLC of Montebello. At the time, the appraised value of the quarry was $3 million.
Previous offers were rejected, some because they included additional requests for possible zoning changes that the Village of Suffern refused to even consider. The Town of Ramapo owns the property, which was donated to the people of Ramapo by the previous owner, Tilcon, but the control of the land-use permissions are in the hands of the Suffern boards. Tilcon gifted the 60-acre site signing over legal rights for $1.
Suffern Mayor Edward Markunas told The Journal News last July, “We’re looking for something that’s going to bring in money, a tax ratable that potentially brings in jobs. We are not going to grant zone change for that property. There’s no discussion of residential.”
The sale of the Suffern Quarry is subject to a permissive referendum, and if enough Ramapo residents oppose the sale and would like to put the decision in the hands of the voters in a special election, they could collect a prescribed number of signatures on a petition to be submitted to the Town within a prescribed time period. That’s unlikely in this case given the agreement on the part of the buyer and the Suffern Mayor’s vow that the property can only be developed under the terms of light industrial zoning restrictions.
The next step is the sale contract to be drawn up in the legal department at Town Hall.