South Blooming Grove residents outraged with ‘overdevelopment’ during water emergency

Residents are sharing their concerns and frustrations about what they say is overdevelopment in an Orange County village under a water emergency. 
The village of South Blooming Grove is less than 5 square miles and has double the amount of large building projects on the table. 
The village has been under a water emergency for years with people like activist Dawn Sulka complaining of dirty or no water at all. 
“Water, water, water. At the start of every meeting, Mayor Kalaj says to please conserve water, we have a water emergency and they continue to approve these projects,” said Sulka, president of Citizens United To Protect Our Neighborhoods. 
At the same time, the village is also seeing an influx of residents from the town of Palm Tree who have new plans for the growing community, that some longtime residents don’t want and say threaten the water supply. 
A meeting was held Monday night that moved along high-profile plans for a food store on a historic property at 5 Mangin Road.                                                                                                                                               
Village leaders haven’t commented on the controversy, but new village residents shared their opinions during the meeting on the kosher deli project. 
 “It’s pretty difficult heading back and forth into the village as the majority of women don’t drive here,” said one woman. “I’m totally for it and honestly can’t wait.” 
Others say the store is unwanted and question why they aren’t being heard.  
“The mistakes and lack of concern is borderline criminal,” said Kristie Johnson. “I’m not with the special use permits and enough with the building. Enough is enough.” 
News 12 is told there are plans for a makeshift school on Mayor George Kalaj’s former property that he sold in March for 10 times the market value. 
News 12 was told clear-cutting on the former Lake Anne parcel is making way for multiunit housing. 
Village engineer Al Fusco says they’re working to improve the water situation and are applying for a $6 million state grant to pay for new wells and a water filtration system.  
Critics, say the village’s water emergency should be resolved before any of the projects are approved.  
A planning board meeting on the next approval phase of the proposed kosher food store will be held by Zoom Thursday at 8 p.m.