STEPHEN M. GROSS

Principal

Hudson Highlands Environmental Consulting

Professional Background

Stephen M. Gross has more than 30 years of experience in the environmental/land use profession, with special expertise in wetlands issues, and the preparation and review of environmental impact statements.  During this time period, he has gained approvals for dozens of projects affecting wetland resources, working with a variety of permitting agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and various local planning, environmental, and wetland commissions.

Mr. Gross worked in the planning departments of the Townships of Wayne and West Milford, NJ, and headed environmental review for more than 25 years for private consulting firms, including Hudson Highlands Environmental Consulting (13 years) and Tim Miller Associates, Inc. (9 years).  In these positions, he prepared more than 50 environmental impact analyses, zoning analyses, wetland and ecological studies, dozens of wetlands delineations, watershed and drainage basin studies.  Mr. Gross has also conducted reviews of environmental impact statements as consultant to several New York municipalities including the Towns of Kent, Pawling, and Blooming Grove.  When working on behalf of not-for-profit conservation groups and neighborhood associations, his reviews of development applications has been especially effective in uncovering issues that were missed by the lead agency’s own staff or paid consultants.

Primary services offered by this consortium member can be found on the following pages (click on to see):

Environmental Impact Assessments
Development Feasibility Studies
Wetland Services
Ecological Services
Advocacy for Neighborhood or Environmental Groups
Environmental Planning Studies

Education

Indiana University, School of Public and Environmental Affairs,      Completed two years towards M.P.A. in Environmental Policy, 1981

Rutgers University, Cook College of Agriculture & Environmental Science, BS, Environmental Planning & Design, 1978

Additional coursework:

Rutgers University, Cook College of Agriculture and Environmental Science:
      Federal Manual for Identifying & Delineating Freshwater Wetlands, 1988 Identifying Hydric Soils, 1989
      Wetland Mitigation Techniques, 1990.

Morris County Community College, wastewater treatment, 1984

Experience

A sampling of relevant experience include:

 Environmental Impact Statements

  • Westchester Mall, Town of Cortlandt
  • Cascade Lake Subdivision, Town of Warwick
  • Bull Mill Ridge Subdivision, Town of Monroe
  • Sawyer’s Peak Subdivision, Town of Goshen
  • Towne Centre Retail Development, Town of Southeast
  • Village Heights Subdivision, Town of Monroe
  • Lake Manor, Town of Monroe
  • River Landing Subdivision, Village of Croton-on-Hudson
  • Harriman Business Park, Monroe/Harriman/Woodbury
  • Christian Herald Subdivision, Town of North Castle
  • Pyramid Industrial Park, Towns of Hamptonburg/Montgomery

Ecological Studies

More than a hundred wetland delineations/ecological assessments in various municipalities throughout Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange Counties and beyond.  Some larger or more relevant projects include:

  • Route 347, Suffolk County, NY. (NYSDOT, 2005) Wetland delineation, ecological analyses for road widening and operations improvement project.
  • Belt Parkway Bridges, Brooklyn, NY. For NYC Department of Transportation’s final engineering of a new, relocated Mill Basin Bridge and new, widened Gerritsen Inlet Bridge and the realignment of their heavily traveled approaches in the greenway and sensitive habitat that rim the Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge, performed ecological analyses to support permitting and mitigation measures, including: delineation of fresh water and tidal wetlands; and habitat surveys, leading to the discovery of a tree species previously believed extinct in New York State.
  • Bronx River Parkway, Bronx, NY. (NYSDOT, 2005) Wetland delineation, ecological analyses of areas that may be affected by new deceleration lane.
  • Nine Bridges over the Van Wyck Expressway, Queens, NY. (NYSDOT, 2005) Wetland delineation and ecological analyses within Flushing Meadows Park that may be affected by new bridge ramp configurations.
  • Stewart International Airport, Orange County, NY. (NYSDOT, 2000) For State and the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval of the Master Plan Update of the 9,800-acre airport set in a forested and formerly agricultural area, prepared the inventory of existing natural resources for State Environmental Quality Review.
  • Hutchinson River Parkway Infrastructure Improvement, Westchester County, NY. (NYSDOT, 1995) For the realignment of a 3-mile parkway between the Connecticut line and I-287 that borders 24 federal jurisdictional wetlands, had lead responsibility for wetland impact assessment and approval of the relocation of a class “C” stream.  Wetland areas were identified and delineated in the field.

Municipal Reviews/Reports

  • Pawling, NY, EIS Reviews: Croton Head Farm, Tabor Farms, Yagella Farms residential subdivisions
  • Kent, NY, EIS Review:  The Meadows PUD
  • Huntington, NY, prepared generic environmental impact statement for potential cumulative development of remaining large parcels within the Centerport/Little Neck Peninsula area; conclusions suggested zoning changes and new protective ordinances
  • Hyde Park, NY, prepared generic environmental impact statement for potential development of multi-use riverfront recreational park

 Reviews for Neighborhood/Environmental Organizations

  • Tuxedo Reserve, Tuxedo, NY. Represented two groups, Target Tuxedo and the Tuxedo Land Trust, in review of proposed plans and SEQRA documentation for a development of 1,195 residential units and 33,000 square feet of commercial space on a 1,197 acre site that would double the population of Tuxedo.  Review resulted in identification of several issues not identified in SEQRA documents including undisclosed wetland issues, miscalculations of demographics and fiscal impacts, undisclosed groundwater impacts, failure to identify Nationally Register eligible historic resources, timber rattlesnake impacts (including the discovery that an employee cooked and ate a rattlesnake found on the property), underestimated traffic impacts, and segmentation issues under SEQRA.  This review forced the Lead Agency to require a SEIS over the applicant’s objections.  At this point, the Town Board has accepted the FEIS and approved a rezoning, as was expected.  The outcome of an Article 78 action to overturn that decision is still pending.
  • Sterling Forge Estates, Tuxedo, NY. Represented Sterling Forest Partnership in review of proposed plans and SEQRA documentation for a 107-unit luxury residential development with an 18-hole golf course.  Review resulted in identification of several issues not identified in SEQRA documents including undisclosed steep slope disturbances, miscalculations of fiscal impacts, failure to identify Nationally Registered historic resources, unidentified wetlands impacts, timber rattlesnake impacts, underestimated traffic impacts, and miscalculation of allowable unit count under proposed zoning.  Project was not approved, and the 575-acre site has since been purchased as part of Sterling Forest State Park.
  • Stewart Airport, Proposed Drury Lane Access, Newburgh, NY. Represented SPARC (Stewart Preserve and Reserve Coalition) in review of proposed plans and SEQRA documentation; review resulted in settlement to permanently preserve lands previously being considered for office park development.
  • IKEA, New Rochelle, NY. Represented WRAIN (Westchester Residents Against IKEA Now) in review of proposed plans and SEQRA documentation; review resulted in identification of several issues misrepresented in SEQRA documents, included assessment of potential flooding impacts on nearby neighborhoods, exaggerated assessment of neighborhood subject to eminent domain as “blighted”, and fiscal impact analysis.  In face of opposition, proposed project was withdrawn by sponsor.
  • Trailer Park Zoning, Stony Point, NY. Represented group of neighbors against Town of Stony Point in rezoning area to allow a trailer park with inadequate SEQRA review.  Prepared affidavit for Article 78 law suit; zoning was overturned by court which quoted entire sections of affidavit in its decision.

Memberships

Member, Planning Board, Village of Warwick, NY 1999 – 2004
Member, Quality Communities Committee, Town of Warwick, 2001-2002
The Friends of Long Pond Ironworks, Inc., Pres. 1988 – 1994, Board of Directors, 1988-2009
Highlands Iron Conservancy, Inc., President, 1995 – Present