The Woodstock planning board’s October 6 meeting was all about details, and an assessment of just how well its suggestions can get incorporated in others’ plans.
Hardly any audience was on hand as the Woodstock Way proposal for a 24-unit lodging establishment in the center of the hamlet inched forward. Earlier, a project for eight one bedroom apartments in a new complex to be built at the corner of Glenford and Wittenberg Roads seemed almost ready to get its first public hearing after 18 months in process.
Planning board consultant Matthew Rudikoff opened the discussion of Tannery Brook Real Estate’s project along what is currently still known as Waterfall Way, located between Tinker Street and Hillcrest Avenue to the west of Tannery Brook, by noting with appreciation the applicants’ changes to its proposal, made in reaction to both comments from the public and his own memo filled with pages of suggestions.
The applicants’ attorney Ron Pordy replied that he’d like at least one more meeting to go over things before resuming the public hearing for the site plan review, last adjourned on September 15. He said that the main entrance for the new development of eight buildings had been widened to provide for greater sightlines, with all vehicles to be directed to come in and out from an easterly direction only. He further pointed out greater detail regarding lighting, use of rain gardens, construction phasing, and other portions of the project.
Pordy added that he was seeking compromise regarding the development’s new two story structure, referred to as Building 7, with an attorney Victoria Polidoro, for Neher Street resident Chris Wanker. Architect Brad Will explained that the building was being shortened, with no windows facing Wanker’s residence, and a stairwell that had been in view of the neighbor’s back yard moved.
When asked whether she and Pordy might have a compromise worked out for Building 7 by the planning board’s next meeting on October 20, Polidoro reiterated that her client, Mr. Wanker, would still like to see the structure “relocated.” Will noted that he was preparing new renderings to demonstrate how current design shifts had only “low eaves” and a green roof facing Wanker’s home.
“We’ll see,” said Pordy.
Moving on, Rudikoff asked for more specifics from the town’s fire professionals regarding movement of their vehicles through Woodstock Way, which Pordy said was a verbal agreement at this point. There was also much talk about property disturbances during construction, including the rebuilding of a retaining wall, with added commentary from Woodstock Environmental Commission chairman Jim Hanson.
Even though the applicants stressed that they were working to preserve as many trees as possible on site, the planning board reiterated its wish for greater detail in such matters. Rudikoff explained that articulating the proposal in terms that were “as environmentally sensitive as possible” would help move it faster through the remainder of its public hearing sessions, and better its chances at final approval.
While working out details of environmental assessment forms and the requirements of review for a Woodstock Wetlands & Watercourse permit, Hanson, and several planning board members, noted that the bettering of the buildings along what is now Waterfall Way was a positive, as was the applicants addressing of the suggestions made to it.
“The biggest thing is still Building 7,” was the final verdict, as all agreed to finish going over environmental review forms at the board’s next meeting, with an eye to resuming the public hearing in early November…by which time, it is hoped, the two attorneys, and their clients, will have reached a compromise.
As for the Wittenberg apartment complex being proposed by Jim and Janet Nelson, the applicant’s architect Paul Jankovitz asked why Rudikoff and the planning board were requesting septic plans from a professional engineer when the project had already gotten approvals from the county health department and New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Discussion ensued about how exhaustively the lands next door to the Nelsons’ project had been reviewed during a long review process for Geoffrey Hanowitz’s plumbing office proposal, which ended up in court before getting okayed.
There were questions about landscaping around the apartment buildings, to be centered in one major building. Jankovitz showed maps delineating retention ponds for storm runoff and areas for land berms and shielding trees. Several comments were made about paperwork submitted to the town building department in regards to the project, and how such things usually needed double submissions since “communication can be a problem” between entities in town.
When planning board member Jon Stark suggested possibly moving the main building a bit, his fellow planner Paul Shultis noted that “we’re too far along to be asking him to move buildings now. I think it’s time to move this to the public hearing. We’ve beaten this horse.”
After noting that comments would need to be solicited from the county planning department and Woodstock Commission on Civic Design first, a date for public hearing was set for November 17.
In a separate phone call, Jim Nelson said that his plans were for single bedroom apartments, to be sold at market price, aimed at singles and couples.
“I can’t control who I can market to,” he added. “But I’m looking at people who want to move out of their larger homes. I’m in that boat myself.”
Nelson added that he and his wife would likely take one of the units themselves.