New Paltz Town Planning Board Chairman Michael Calimano told his fellow board members last week that at the board’s August meeting they should be prepared to discuss issues of concern about the Trans-Hudson Management application in depth. The goal is to complete part three of the environmental assessment form, so board members will be ready to decide if a full environmental impact statement will be required on the plan to bring CVS and Five Guys to the North Putt Corners corridor.
The most contentious issues are around segmentation, viable alternative sites, plant and animal impacts, clearing and grading, fill, noise and traffic. Even as Calimano laid them out, it was clear that there are strong differences of opinion on each of them. The question of segmentation arises from a proposed third pad site, which has been actively marketed but was not on the plans until board members demanded it. Calimano tried again to turn to attorney George Lithco for a legal definition of the term, but Lagusta Yearwood remarked, “We’ve heard that a hundred times; we just disagree.”
Fill, in the original proposal, would come in 1,600 tri-axle trucks arriving every 20 minutes for two months. By lowering the level a foot, board members heard at the meeting, the amount of time would be shortened but no vegetation would be saved. That fill will be part of the storm water treatment plan, and one alternative presented showed that in order to lower the fill level by three feet the area of clearing would actually have to be increased to keep the system working. Town engineer David Clouser asked for the specific calculations that demonstrated that fact.
Calimano pointed out that all the life forms impacted would be from “common suburban species,” and any building would have a similar impact. Yearwood responded by noting that for the plants in particular, they cannot relocate and all are slated for destruction. “It’s a large impact, since they won’t exist.”
Lyle Nolan spoke up about the traffic, acknowledging that the findings of the report were “counter intuitive,” but that traffic engineers have the right tools to evaluate such impacts. “What are you going to do, pay them and throw out the report?” he asked. Yearwood expressed concern about the impact on emergency services, particularly in light of a plan to make the fire house at the Henry W. Dubois Drive corner into the main station. All emergency services would then be beholden to the traffic at this intersection.
Applicant attorney Charles Bazydlo, as he has in the past, expressed hope that a decision would be made at this very meeting. Board attorney Lithco reminded board members that even after a SEQR determination of environmental significance, areas of concern can be further controlled during the site plan review process.
“I feel like you’re leading us in a direction,” Yearwood said in reply.
The next planning board meeting is August 22.