New Paltz resort ready to move forward

Rocking Horse Ranch owner Steve Turk on the parcel of land located in New Paltz at Route 299 and Paradies Lane that is proposed for the Wildberry Lodge project (Lauren Thomas)

With the town’s gateway development moratorium in its final weeks, Wildberry Lodge was back on the New Paltz Town Planning Board agenda on December 11. The purpose was to hash out details of how to approach the application as well as to reacquaint board members with those details.

Originally planned as a water park, the Wildberry Lodge proposal is now a more modest, phased project, with the first portion centering on a 90-room “contemporary modern barn” hotel designed by local architect Rick Alfandre, and a butterfly conservatory of 3-6,000 square feet that would also be suitable for catered events. The facility would also house event space for 150 with a demonstration kitchen, a “local merchandise and craft shop” and spa facilities. The 57-acre property, where both Walmart and Crossroads were once proposed to be built, is located between the Thruway, Rt. 299 and South Ohioville Rd.

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An environmental impact statement is necessary for this project, and what guides the content of an EIS is the scoping document prepared after hearings on that topic. That scope was prepared with a water park in mind, but that’s not going to derail the process. An EIS is supposed to include alternatives to the proposed development in a separate section. Most developers pay lip service to that requirement, but in this case it will be central to the document, because the alternative presented to the water park will be the butterfly conservatory. The water park idea was nixed when it was discovered that the aquifer underneath that property, which is large enough that it was being considered as part of the community’s backup water supply, was discovered to be unacceptably salty

Board members will be asked to look at what’s considered the preferred alternative on paper as the actual project, satisfying the requirements of the scoping document.

What remains in flux are the code changes which are expected to result from the work of the ad hoc committee, which was created to define zoning rules for the gateway area of town near the Thruway, where both Wildberry Lodge and the CVS/Five Guys plaza proposals are located.

The plan. For orientation, the Thruway is on top, Rt. 299 is on the right and South Ohioville Rd. is beneath.

There is one comment

  1. Alexander Miller Smith

    Yay. Glad to hear there could be progress on the project.
    Now, if we could tear down the abandoned, grafitti covered diner adjacent to the old 87 Motel site
    and get a hotel operator to build there, we’d have a strong showing.

    Within all of this I want to call out something that I would hope New Paltz-Ulster County and the Public
    would fast-track and get done. It would be amazing, phenomenal, spectacular if all of the local parties –
    Public AND PRIVATE – could pull together a collective fund to establish a crushed-stone or paved path
    running parallel to 299 on the NORTH Side that would be set back from the highway with lighting to run
    for pedestrians and bikers from Ohioville Road at the Cumberland Farms cross behind the Mobile Station;
    CROSS 87 on the North Side of the existing bridge on a new steel-truss bridge (think the brown, Mohonk Style ped/bike bridges in the all steel variety) and continue on this path across Putt Corners (on the North
    side) and link up to the existing sidewalk by the bank/medical office complex.

    This would be built regardless of the CVS/Five Guys outcome – BUT could be part of the final plan for that site in the event it is ever approved for construction.

    MY POINT BEING – This would remove all bike and pedestrian traffic from along 299 in this area, and I think it would be a fair ask for all of the new development to pitch in a piece of the $, have the a public fundraising for part of the $, and have the town/county pitch in a little $ – it ultimately benefits economic development as a transportation vehicle for people who might work in these locations, live along Ohioville, and need safer, seperate space to get to and from Downtown New Paltz.

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