Park Point developer Wilmorite has filed an Article 78 lawsuit against the Town of New Paltz, town officials said.
It also appears that the SUNY New Paltz Foundation — the college’s non-profit fundraising group — is also a party in the suit suing the town.
“We are not surprised by the litigation,” Supervisor Susan Zimet said. “We are disappointed that the SUNY Foundation would join with a well-financed corporation against the taxpayers of their community — many of whom have supported the Foundation over the years.”
Back in May, town Planning Board members rejected the proposed $60 million student apartment complex, saying it would result in significant adverse fiscal impacts on New Paltz.
That site plan denial came one month after the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency approved a 25-year payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement for Park Point. Under that plan, Wilmorite would pay $522,000 instead of full taxes during the first year.
David A. Dorsky, chair of the SUNY New Paltz Foundation’s real estate committee, said they joined the suit because they believe the housing is important for students.
“We are hoping for a speedy redress of this issue. Our sole purpose is to support the college. The Park Point housing project, and our involvement in it, helps meet the college’s need for additional housing,” Dorsky said.
Thomas W. Daniels, senior legal counsel for Wilmorite, said they’d like the courts to reverse the town’s denial.
“As set forth in the petition, the proposed project has met all requirements for approval and we believe the Planning Board’s denial was unlawful and thus necessitated filing this action,” the lawyer said in a statement.
Supervisor Zimet said the town will defend itself against the court challenge.
“We believe that the Planning Board did the right thing and took responsible action as lead agency to comply with the requirements of SEQRA,” she said. “There is ample evidence in the record to support that.”
Wilmorite wants to build Park Point on 50 acres adjacent to SUNY New Paltz campus on Route 32. A majority of that land — 42 acres — is owned by the college’s foundation. The Rochester-based developer plans to rent that land long term from the non-profit. The other eight acres is owned by JAM of New Paltz, and it is where Wilmorite will build a $4.6 million water and sewage treatment facility to service the 732-bed complex.