Cascino vows to clean up Copake Valley Farm
Diane Valden is reporting for The Columbia Paper that Salvatore Cascino is working on his 300-acre property along the east side of Route 22 in Copake, to undo some of his past misdeeds. Cascino, 82, is a convicted felon who has spent a great deal of time during the past 23 years amassing violations of federal, state, and town laws for illegal dumping, building, and excavating at a place he calls Copake Valley Farm. Both the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have cited Cascino for violations involving the dumping of solid waste and other unauthorized materials in and along the Noster Kill, and associated protected wetlands dating back to March 1999. In 2009, Cascino was court-ordered to remove a 30-foot-wide steel bridge he illegally constructed over the Noster Kill. It is unclear why Cascino has undertaken all the dismantling, remediation, and restoration work now, but Copake Town Board member Stanley Gansowski said this week that Cascino had to come up with a plan for removal of all of the illegally dumped materials as well as dismantling the bridge and restoration of both the stream and the wetlands back to the way he found them. In December, he was informed the plan had been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In addition to the removal of the bridge over the Noster Kill, the plan calls for a major restoration of a site north of Lackawanna Road and east of State Route 22. In addition, Cascino will be required to grade, plant, and seed the area in conjunction with the wetland restoration. The deadline to reestablish the wetland is July 1. He must also install two groundwater monitoring wells and submit full documentation to the Army Corps of Engineers. If he does everything he promised, the Corps will rescind the cease and desist orders from 2008 and 2016. If he fails to follow through, Cascino will face additional enforcement action. Michael Sussman, Cascino’s attorney for the past three years, said, “Mr. Cascino is committed to complying with the law and beautifying and well utilizing his farm. He is also dedicated to providing wholesome produce that can be marketed and benefit the community. He is exploring ways of developing the property towards these objectives ...” Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.