Coveted Parcel Being Developed

Sold in 2001 for $300,000 to Ravenswood Homes, the former Pepe Property is finally being readied for development.{{more}}

The 26 acres, that sits behind the town transfer station, was used as a landfill and gravel pit for many years. When the property was offered for sale, the Orange Land Trust urged the town to purchase the property as it was home to many species of wildlife.

However, Ravenswood Homes purchased the site and applied to the towns zoning department in the hopes of building 94 apartments under the affordable housing statute.

That application was denied in 2002. A second application was submitted for 63 units of housing. It too was denied in 2004.

Ravenswood appealed that decision and in 2007 a stipulated agreement was reached between the company and the town of Orange.

Shortly after, Ravenswood Homes suffered financial hardship and Oak Tree Development subsequently purchased the property, agreeing to the court sanctioned agreement from 2007.

Residents who use the transfer station have noticed the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection remediation environmental cleanup efforts taking place since March.

Wetlands Enforcement Officer R. Scott Allen said the cleanup has become more extensive than anticipated.

“They keep finding more bottles (from the landfill),” Allen said.

Few details are known about Oak Tree Development’s plans for the site other than 60 townhouse style units are planned for the site, some with garages.

The entrance will remain adjacent to the town transfer station. And the dock will still be installed.

Past Association President Vincent Schmidt said Indian River Association members, whose home surround the lake which abuts the new development, met with Oak Tree Development represenatives aand support the project.

Schmidt said the company is complying with the court sanctioned agreement which included a agreed monetary amount to the association, lake rights and one vote on association business per building.

Additionally Oak Tree Development deeded a small piece of land to one of the member’s to increase a tree lined buffer between the lots.

Repated calls to Oak Tree Development Managing Director Luke Williams were not returned.

According to its website Oak Tree Development Oak Tree Development is a real estate development company with a mission to serve customers, employees, and communities of interest, with trust and integrity in all we do, resulting in superior financial results.