Major excavation project underway on Cascino property
Jul 24, 2020 2:15 pm
Diane Valden is reporting for The Columbia Paper Copake town officials are once again responding to the activities of property owner Salvatore Cascino. The Copake Planning Board is currently considering Cascino’s master plan for the build-out of his 300-acre property along Route 22 and Lackawanna Road. But in the interim, Cascino began a major excavation project, leveling several acres and moving tons of dirt just north of a proposed farm stand. The excavation of just a small knob would not have been an issue, Planning Board Chairman Bob Haight said on July 16. Haight said he had been advised “New York State code does not have a building permit for excavation” so the building inspector did not issue a permit and therefore could not issue a stop-work order. Town Attorney Ken Dow did not agree, citing sections of the town code that holds excavation for various purposes require a building permit, a special use permit or a mining permit. Haight said more than a couple of acres were affected. “It looks like a shopping center is going in there, you can’t miss it.” Haight said the matter was called to his attention by the town supervisor and that the town board wants the work stopped. “We can’t wait around,” he said. Dow agreed, saying the building inspector cannot allow the work to go on; he said the issue is not the permit, it is the scale of excavation taking place. It is "flat out not allowed," he said. A stop work order was issued July 22. Cascino, 80, of Westchester County, has spent the past 22 years amassing violations of federal, state and town laws for illegal dumping, building and excavating at a place he calls Copake Valley Farm, located along the east side of Route 22. The Copake Planning Board next meets on August 6. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.