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Hit the above button to see our attorney's response to the Vestal Town Attorney

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TAKE THE TOWN OF VESTAL ONLINE SURVEY BEFORE 4/19, and support REPEALING the PDD for the proposed “Retreat at Bunn Hill”.

Go to the Survey Below: 

The website linked above contains a letter from the Town attorney, a video of the April 4th public forum, and the survey which consists of identifying yourself and poses the following question:

“After watching the video, and reading the legal opinion, how do you believe the Town Board should proceed?  Please explain”

The Town attorney’s opinion is conservative and appears intended to discourage support for repeal. Our attorneys have provided the Town with a strong statement regarding the opportunity to repeal the PDD. We have included a counter-argument to the Town attorney’s statement on our website The main bullets of this statement include:

  • Yes, the most recent litigation filed on behalf of Friends for Responsible Vestal Zoning was dismissed, but that does not mean that the prior Town Board’s actions were appropriate and in the best interests of the Town

  • The Court did not rule that the Bunn Hill PDD is appropriate for Vestal or will not cause negative impacts. 

  • Neither the property owner nor the Applicant can establish a vested right to the Bunn Hill PDD at this time and no claim for damages as indicated by the Town Attorney can be made.

  • “Local Law 1” does not require a supermajority to be repealed. Municipal Home Rule Law (MHRL) applies here and the MHRL only requires a simple majority to adopt or repeal a local law.

  • A simple majority vote of the Town Board should be sufficient to repeal the Bunn Hill PDD.

We must encourage the Town Board to go through the process of REPEALING THE PDD. They need to consult with the County for a new 239 review, do the environmental review (SEQR), hold a PUBLIC HEARING, and TAKE A VOTE of all Board members so we know where they stand on this project.

Credible  justifications for repeal of the PDD:

(Please feel free to copy and paste any answers that you like into the Town’s survey and add your own thoughts)

  • The Town Board should have to take a vote on this. I want it on the record what your vote is on the repeal of this PDD.

  • Although people want to say this has been litigated already, THIS TOWN BOARD can find fault in the previous Board’s decisions that justify this repeal. 

  • Rural residential zoning (and all zoning) should be respected. Changing the zoning for ONE person’s property, while lowering property values for neighbors, is a bad precedent.

  • Repealing the PDD is not a violation of the landowner’s rights. They could find a more suitable, profitable use for their property compatible with current zoning without impacting their neighbors to this degree (for example, single-family homes, even a solar farm). 

  •  Broome County Planning Department rejected this concept three times with good reason.

  • The development will worsen traffic at the intersection of 434 and Bunn Hill Road, leading to increased traffic on side roads such as Fuller Hollow, Jensen, and Murray Hill Roads.

  • The Broome County housing study states there is no additional need for student housing.  This project will not aid the area with a needed housing type.

  • There will be a significant environmental impact with damage to the Bunn Hill Nature Area (Nuthatch Hollow) and a dramatic increase in erosion along Bunn Hill Creek which will also affect the Vestal Parkway.

  • There is inadequate existing infrastructure (sewage, water, drainage, roads, etc.) and we believe the increased maintenance of this infrastructure and costs of other community services (fire, police) will raise the tax rates for all Vestal residents.

  • The Town Board has placed a moratorium on solar development so that they can “get it right”; why can’t they repeal this PDD until the Comprehensive Plan is in place for Vestal?


  • The developer claims “millions of dollars” in tax revenue. The former administration said this would provide great tax revenue. Yet when the current administration ran the numbers we found that it will be just 0.5% of the Town budget.  

  • The developer claims that this is professional housing. The previous administration bought that.  Here are the facts:

    • “The Retreat” is a specific brand of STUDENT HOUSING (see their own website!)

    • The majority of the units are individually keyed 4 and 5 bedrooms! Leasing is per bedroom, NOT per unit.

    • Landmark is the leading developer of student housing in the nation (see their own website!)

    • The developer’s traffic study cited “student apartments” for their model!  (So if this is “professional” housing the traffic study is incorrect!)

  • The developer claims their project has a “pedestrian-friendly layout that encourages walking/biking/rolling to campus”. However, as noted in the County 239 review as well as countless residents’ input, Bunn Hill Road will NOT be safe for students to utilize in this manner.

  • The developer claimed that Binghamton University would build all over Bunn Hill so the Town should let this project go forward for the tax revenue. President Harvey Stenger has clearly stated BU has NO PLANS to build in the Bunn Hill corridor.

  • The developer’s attorney stated that running sewer was better for the environment. However, the U.S. EPA promotes the use and BENEFITS of septic systems.  Also, the sewer and water were supposed to be huge wins for the Town but only 18 households would ever be able to hook up to sewer and only 6 would be able to get water. No houses will have both. If individual homeowners decided to hook up, it would be at their own cost of tens of thousands of dollars. The sewer and water are only to serve the development.  The Town has no plan in place to utilize this additional sewer and water. 

  • The developer claims that a large amount of green space is preserved. But the land preserved is an out parcel across the creek and land under utility lines. The result is a very high-density building plan on the remaining land and the need for multiple retaining walls (one of which is 40 feet tall!). An actual visual representation of the final development has never been presented.   


The survey will close on April 19.  We truly appreciate you filling out the Town’s survey. Please let us know that you filled out the survey by a quick reply to this email, or 

Breaking News!

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Books of 2008 and 2022 Letters to the Vestal Town Board

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