“Ramapo officials will consider three proposals to sell the Suffern Quarry, the massive hole filled with millions of gallons of water overlooking the business district.
The proposals range from $3.2 million to $1 million to purchase the property, along with offers to lease the 60 acres pending an option to buy down the road.
The three developers proposed commercial development, such as warehousing, a landscaping business and storage, and a film-production facility.
Although Ramapo owns the quarry, Suffern controls land-use approvals. The property is zoned for light industry zoning and doesn’t allow for housing.
Mayor Edward Markunas said Thursday the village would not consider changing the zoning, so housing is not on the table. The village, with its train hub into New Jersey and New York City, already features a mix of apartments, condominiums and townhouses, with 92 units of luxury rentals off Main Street.
“We’re looking for something that’s going to bring in money, a tax ratable that potentially brings in jobs,” Markunas said. “We are not going to grant a zone change for that property. There’s no discussion of residential.”
Ramapo began selling off its properties a few years ago to cover an $8.7 million deficit from 2015 as then-Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence also needed money to pay for the baseball stadium and other bonded infrastructure projects. The just-released 2016 audit shows a similar deficit.
During St. Lawrence’s 17-year tenure from 2000 to 2017, the town spent an estimated $100 million to preserve thousands of acres from development. The town never officially designated most of the properties as parkland so sales could take place.
St. Lawrence is serving a 30-month federal prison sentence following the corruption conviction that forced his resignation in May 2017.
The town had long held out the quarry as a means to mitigate flooding caused by the Mahwah River during heavy rains that affected major portions of Suffern and several New Jersey communities. Engineers estimated the quarry could hold 268.3 million gallons of water.”
Read the complete Journal News coverage, including details on the three bidders here.