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Rose Hill’s subdivision plans jeopardized

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MASSENA — Rose Hill’s plan to sell vacant land and use the proceeds to build new athletic fields is in jeopardy.

Rose Hill Foundation officials announced plans for a new baseball diamond and soccer field for its patients several months ago. The adolescent drug and alcohol treatment center is situated on 200 acres of land, and the foundation planned to subdivide parcels near the front of the property on County Route 43 to pay for the athletic fields.

But Rose Hill may drop those plans if it has to hook the subdivided lots to the village water supply, according to Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray, who serves on the foundation board. The proposed subdivision is within the village limits and needs Board of Trustees approval to move forward.

Village code requires lots within 100 feet of water and sewer lines to hook into that system, according to Mayor James F. Hidy. Rose Hill seeks an exemption from the requirement.

“We’d like the revenue from the water. We’d certainly like them hooking up with us because they’re within the village,” Mr. Hidy said. “Typically the people that are selling the lots are the ones doing the development of the lot.”

But Rose Hill would not raise enough money to construct the fields if it had to install water and sewer pipes, Mr. Gray said. The foundation already has spent more than $10,000 on preliminary studies for the subdivision.

“There would be a loss,” Mr. Gray said. “There would be less potential for us to make any money.”

The village board did not reach a decision at its last meeting and will revisit the issue.

“It can’t be a win-win for Rose Hill,” Mr. Hidy said. “It’s got to be a win-win for both entities.”

“In all fairness, if you’re looking at the way it should be done, the burden should be placed upon them,” Mr. Hidy said of Rose Hill.

But Mr. Gray pointed out the village still could collect new taxes on the subdivided property without water and sewer, something it can’t do as long as Rose Hill, a not-for-profit entity, still owns it. If the village doesn’t provide an exemption, Rose Hill will have to find another way to pay for the fields, Mr. Gray said.

Rose Hill is not a traditional developer looking for an exemption, he said.

“This isn’t a business venture for us,” Mr. Gray said.

But if Rose Hill doesn’t pay for the hookups, the village has to know who will, Trustee Patricia K. Wilson said. “The village shouldn’t be looking at the taxpayer to foot that bill,” she said.

Rose Hill typically serves 23 to 27 patients. The new athletic fields would provide more options for the patients, who have an above-ground pool, a volleyball court, a quarter-size gym and a weight room.

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