The town Planning Board has agreed the finding statements for LEGOLAND New York, completing the board’s environmental review of the $500 million New York theme park.
The move represents a key step forward. LEGOLAND wants to build a 150-acre park on a 522-acre site off Harriman Drive at Route 17′s Exit 125. The attraction is projected to draw between 1.5 million and 2.5 million visitors a year.
Before voting, the board worked through issues that included the forbidding of using existing wells on the property. It specified that 5,000 trees would be planted and also mandated a helicopter landing site in case of emergency.
Fireworks proved to be a contentious issue. LEGOLAND had submitted plans to set off fireworks on 20 occasions during the year, including the Fourth of July and Halloween. The board said the fireworks schedule might need to be changed in the face of community concerns.
LEGOLAND is owned by Merlin Entertainments who hope to start construction this year and open in 2019, subject to approvals.
The next move has to come from the Town Board, which needs to give its approval to two key zoning changes before the project can proceed. It would also have to approve an exception to town law which, as it stands, forbids amusement parks.
Planning Board Chairman Lee Bergus says LEGOLAND New York doesn’t fit the general definition of an amusement park as it would be geared to children aged two to twelve.
After that, proposals would go back to the Planning Board for final site plan approval.
Opponents to the park have said they will file legal action to block the project.