Officials from SUEZ and the Town of Clarkstown this week announced their plans to suspend the fencing in of Lake DeForest and 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 reconcile community concerns and protect Lake DeForest. These 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.
Under the plan, SUEZ will suspend the construction of fencing around Lake DeForest and identify all instances where Lake DeForest property is being encroached upon by adjacent homeowners. SUEZ will then meet with individual homeowners to work towards correcting the encroachment onto SUEZ property. Fencing that has been constructed along Strawtown Road will have 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 an 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 Supervisor George Hoehmann. “I’m proud to have brought the concerns of our residents to the forefront and, working with Assemblyman Zebrowski and SUEZ, to safeguard the character of Clarkstown.”
“The Lake DeForest corridor is important to both the environment and the aesthetic character of Clarkstown,” said Assemblyman Kenneth 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. I thank Supervisor Hoehmann and SUEZ for their collaboration on this important issue.”
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