The CVS application was back on the agenda for the New Paltz Town Planning Board’s June 13 meeting, after many months of no activity. Applicant attorney Charles Bazydlo claimed that “architecture is the sticking point,” but board members continued to raise questions about other issues as well. Bazydlo came armed with pictures of a new design proposal which he said was consistent with what the Hampton Inn will look like once it’s completed across the street.
The new proposal has a less boxy outline, but board members still were dissatisfied with the red logo. Amy Cohen pressed Bazydlo, pointing out that the store in Woodstock, which she described as “easier on my eyes,” lacks any red awnings or signage. “People in New Paltz would feel more comfortable with a natural look,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be ginormous or bright red.”
“That’s not our building,” the attorney said of Woodstock; it’s rented.
Adele Ruger then pointed out that the Rhinebeck location likewise doesn’t have a red sign; in that case, the logo is in black.
While Lagusta Yearwood agreed it looked better, she said that the scale and massing of the structure were still concerning. She also reminded the attorney that there were questions about the amount of fill to be brought to the site, how the drainage would work and with both traffic and parking. She also agreed with her colleagues that the red color was “jarring and corporate.”
“No design will please everybody,” chimed in Lyle Nolan.
Tom Powers called the new design “a step in the right direction.”
As for the amount of fill, town engineer David Clouser reminded board members that he’d recommended lowering the final elevation by four feet, but the applicant’s engineers claimed that only a one-foot reduction would be possible. No proof has yet been provided for that, Clouser said, and he’s still waiting for new plans regarding storm water and grading.
With no engineers present on his side of the table, Bazydlo turned to another rationale entirely for not lowering the elevation overly much: it would reduce the marketability of the site to prospective tenants. “Retailers don’t want to be down in a hole,” he said.
Clouser noted that some of the rooftops in the Stop & Shop plaza are below the level of Main Street, but Bazydlo countered that this site is much closer to the road, making for a starker contrast. “I’m told it is a deal-breaker,” the attorney maintained.
The location that would be most impacted by that elevation difference isn’t even technically proposed, as Bazydlo reminded board members. It was only put on the plans because members of the board and the public continually pointed out that it was being marketed even though it wasn’t part of the application.
Now that it’s being actively reviewed again, board members will be looking closely at the environmental assessment form in the coming months, likely during workshop sessions. Those will be moved to the first meeting of the month from July through September to accommodate member schedules.