Build­ing ban finds sup­port at speak-out

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­

Speak­ers fa­vor­ing a pro­posed mora­to­rium on new devel­op­ment on state Route 299 east of the vil­lage clearly out­num­bered op­po­nents dur­ing a pub­lic hear­ing on the pro­posed nine-month ban.

The ses­sion on Thurs­day in­cluded eight peo­ple who wanted re­views of projects halted while new zon­ing reg­u­la­tions are de­vel­oped.

“This sec­tion of town is a vi­tal lo­ca­tion for bi­cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans, and it serves as a main en­try point for those en­ter­ing the town from the east,” said Peter Kauf­man, chair­man of the New Paltz Bi­cy­cle-Pedes­trian Com­mit­tee.

“Cur­rently, those who tra­verse this sec­tion on bike, foot, wheel­chairs and skate­board are con­fronted with dan­ger­ous and un­friendly con­di­tions,” he said. “These con­di­tions will not im­prove and they will ... de­te­ri­o­rate if any devel­op­ment is ap­proved with­out care­ful at­ten­tion to in­fra­struc­ture that sup­ports non­mo­tor­ized trans­porta­tion.”

Un­der the pro­posed mora­to­rium, about 25 parcels would be in­cluded in a “gate­way” area cov­er­ing slightly more than a mile of Route 299, go­ing east from the Sho­pRite plaza. Town of­fi­cials would not be able to re­view any site plan, spe­cial per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion, area vari­ance, use vari­ance or sub­di­vi­sion proposal, ex­cept for res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment of five units or less and non­res­i­den­tial struc­tures of 2,500 square feet or less.

The mora­to­rium is be­ing sought in the wake of an ap­pli­ca­tion to con­struct a CVS phar­macy and a Five Guys Burger and Fries restau­rant at the in­ter­sec­tion of Route 299 and North Putt Cor­ners Road.

The mora­to­rium was op­posed by only one speaker, but town Coun­cil­man Marty Ir­win also read a let­ter from a res­i­dent against the pro­posed mora­to­rium.

Among pro­posed projects that would be af­fected by the mora­to­rium is the Wild­berry Lodge wa­ter park and ho­tel, which has prop­erty on South Ohioville Road. Owner Steve Turk said he was up­set that his ap­pli­ca­tion for site plan ap­proval might be put on hold af­ter nearly 2-½ years of re­views.

“Dur­ing the past 12 months, our team has been in­ter­view­ing cap­i­tal in­vest­ment part­ners to par­tic­i­pate in the Wild­berry Lodge project,” Turk said. “In May, the early drum­beats of a mora­to­rium were heard. The drum­beats were loud

enough to elicit con­cern from my in­vest­ment com­mu­nity . ... Now the drum­beats have grown louder, and my in­vestors have fallen off one by one.”

Turk said his own in­vest­ment has in­cluded pur­chas­ing the 56-acre prop­erty and spend­ing nearly $750,000 to de­velop plans.

Sev­eral peo­ple at Thurs­day’s hear­ing noted there is no spe­cific goal cited in the mora­to­rium proposal.

“I think if we’re do­ing it for nine months, we’ve got to set some goals up front about all you can ac­com­plish in that time pe­riod,” said town Plan­ning Board Chair­man Michael Cal­i­mano.

The hear­ing has been re­cessed un­til Dec. 15.

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