Dimitri Viglis, in building the new structure at 51 Main Street in New Paltz, has created both community conversation and problems for himself. The conversation is about the height of the building, which is within code but stands out both because it’s built on a slope and due to how much smaller the historic building next store is by comparison. It’s the fact that he proposed a building which is as tall as legally allowed, 35 feet, has left him without any flexibility when it comes to the air-conditioning units and other equipment which he must put on the roof.
If the building was a few feet shorter, putting the units up top wouldn’t pose any problem. It’s perfectly legal for that machinery to exceed the maximum height, but beyond that only ten percent of the roof can be covered by mechanical structures. The units Viglis had delivered would cover more than twice that area, 23 percent, and he’s seeking a variance from members of the zoning board of appeals.
Last week, New Paltz Village Planning Board members discussed whether to provide comments to be considered by ZBA members. Chairman Michael Zierler said it was a problem “they created themselves” with a plan that “maxed out the height of the building.” If ZBA members consider this a self-created hardship, they may well deny the variance.
Rich Steffens also expressed frustration; the plan was approved three years ago, he reminded his colleagues, and this would be the second variance sought after that point. The original plan showed a two-floor restaurant, but now the second story will be rental space because, Viglis told planning board members, he hadn’t realized how high the tax assessment would be. “We have valid input here,” said Steffens.
Board members did not indicate they thought the variance should be denied, and instead agreed to let ZBA members know that they recommended screening to hide the large machines from sight at street level.