Residents who have watched several years of New Paltz Town Planning Board meetings regarding the property bordered by North Putt Corners Road, Route 299 and the Thruway may well have determined that the unfolding drama was a fight to either open a CVS drugstore in town, or block that move. For those of that mindset, that chapter appears closed; a new proposal for the property has been revealed, and it doesn’t include a drugstore at all.
It was during that project’s early review that a moratorium was proposed, during which new zoning for this gateway to New Paltz could be written. While the drugstore may have ignited passions, Town Supervisor Neil Bettez believes that the primary driver in that process was the fact that the Empire State Trail will be passing through this intersection, which according to him is deemed the worst intersection in the county. For those who agree with the supervisor, continued rigorous review may well be called for at this time.
The new proposal retains a Five Guys Burgers and Fries location, but instead of one or two other buildings, it has four more: two sites for restaurants, a Mavis Tire location and an urgent care facility. It would still entail bringing in considerable fill to level the lot and removing quite a number of trees.
According to Trans-Hudson attorney Charles Bazydlo, the new idea is based on listening to feedback from community members to shape a project which would satisfy their concerns yet remain profitable.
This lot, and a handful more north of it, were severely curtailed by the construction of the Thruway, which resulted in very narrow lots with limited development potential. The deep depression right by Route 299 resulted from material being removed for Thruway construction.
During an unusual joint town-village meeting last Thursday, town planning board members joined elected officials in looking at the proposal in small groups. Those in attendance watched them discussing issues for nigh unto an hour, but had no clear sense of the content until it was concluded. It was more a meeting in public than a public meeting, in a sense.
What emerged were some areas of agreement by those involved. More specifics were requested: elevations, whether there would be a request to hook up to village sewer and water, whether multistory buildings are being contemplated as suggested in the new gateway zoning proposal. Save more trees, developers were told, and make a site layout that would feel safe for a pedestrian. In addition, there was widespread agreement that the proposal should include potential for a greater number of higher-paying jobs.
Those comments will be forwarded to the developer, who is expected to finalize the proposal based on what zoning is passed. Bettez said that he recognized how closely this site was being watched by locals and promised transparency as this discussions continue.