The construction at 51 Main Street in New Paltz has “gone stagnant,” according to building inspector Cory Wirthmann, and a letter has been sent to developer Dimitri Viglis giving him ten days to respond with a detailed plan how he’s going to wrap things up on this long-term building project. In April, the most recent Planning Board approval will expire, and Wirthmann wants to keep the project moving away from its present “state of incompleteness.” While the plans have been retooled more than once to address shortsighted errors such as a lack of room to put heating and cooling units (the roof being off-limits as the height of the structure is already at maximum under village code), it stalled once again when Viglis wanted to bury propane tanks behind the structure, under a parking area and adjacent to a village-owned lot.
Trustee Don Kerr thinks that negotiations to sell that lot to a private buyer are dragging on too long, and trustees should instead offer it to Viglis, which would in turn solve his problem because he’d be putting the tanks well within his own property. Mayor Rogers believes the negotiations are proceeding apace, and that Viglis would be offering a lesser price. He also questioned Kerr on his advocacy on behalf of Viglis after earlier recusing himself from related discussions.
As Kerr explained after the meeting, “I recused myself at one meeting because, at the time, my son was having the owner over for dinner.” That son no longer lives in the state, and Kerr maintains he never intended the recusal to be permanent. However, the mayor and KT Tobin, his deputy, say that that’s not how recusals work: it’s all or nothing.
Tobin said that the onus to resolve the issues is borne by Viglis alone; she also speculated that “there’s more than a propane tank” causing issues for him to resolve. The three-story structure, which appears particularly tall both in context of adjacent buildings and because of the slope of the road, was originally going to include a two-story restaurant and spacious penthouse apartment, until Viglis saw the likely tax assessment and opted to put in offices on the second floor instead. There would have been more leniency to place things like exhaust systems and propane on the roof, had the height not been run right up to the 35-foot maximum.