The construction at 51 Main Street in New Paltz has “gone stagnant”

The building at 51 Main Street in New Paltz.

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.

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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.

There are 16 comments

  1. $25,000 village taxpayer

    wow this journalist is a complete fool. Every article this guy writes about this building is full of misinformation. Go talk to the owner and get his side of the story. I bet it would be quite eye opening to see how this village has been treating him. This journalist doesn’t care about the truth, he cares about CLICKS

  2. oldie but goodie

    Its not the height thats the issue. Its a vague law that only allows 10% of the roof the be used for placement of bulkhead machines.

  3. free

    I spoke the owner and he said because the village wont allow a buried propane tank he now has to pay $150,000 to Central Hudson to run a natural gas line from Gourmet Pizza to his building.

    1. Steve

      “…he said because the village wont allow a buried propane tank”

      Before the village wouldn’t allow a buried propane tank, the owner designed and built a structure at max allowable height WITHOUT any plan to heat/cool it. He ignored or disregarded local building codes. This is all on him, not the village.

      1. Village Idiot's Cousin

        Obviously, you have never attended a Village Planning Board meeting nor read the minutes they offer? I quote “Because the law is vague on this matter, a variance must be granted to the applicant.” That is a precedence set by the Village Planning Board more than 10 years ago.
        This owner is from Brooklyn. When he said at a recent Village Planning Board meeting that because he wasn’t a local he would not be afforded a variance because the laws were vague, he was right! He’s not a local, and the locals didn’t want to grant him a variance for his “self-created hardship” like they have and do for Town employees, Village Planning Board members, Zoning Board members…
        You can’t make this stuff up?
        You can’t make this stuff up?

  4. Richard

    A lot of self-inflicted wounds by the developer for this monstrosity of design that the developer wants to blame others for. Negotiate with Central Hudson, buy the property, but bite the bullet for his own failures.

    1. Samuel

      Not so fast, New Paltz seems to thrive on “reviewing plans”; “commenting on plans”;
      “cancelling plans”; “debating plans”…so it would be a mind-scramble to think that with Planning Review process to not notice the building height and the associated HVAC elements proposed on the roof-line and then approve the building to be built only to halt the construction because everyone is suddenly “surprised” that the height in total is wrong?! Give me a break…a developer can put forth any plan it wants BUT it is 100% the Planning review process responsibility to raiste the question or demand changes before a single cent is spent on actual construction.
      New Paltz dropped the ball on this one totally.

    1. FunkieGunkie

      Ugliest scar Main Street New Paltz has ever seen! Sounds like a rookie with no idea of building codes got involved. Why hasn’t the author interviewed the owner? We would know a whole lot more!

      1. Bob Bud

        Village should have historic district zoned area, hopefully that horrible cheap ugly painting in front of Bacchus gets zoned out, really looks like cheap street graffiti.

        Amazing things have gone a far as they have with New Paltz Village Historic Zoning ect….

        1. FunkieGunkie

          Concerned Citizen, ”old ugly rotten buildings” give New Paltz its character. Something you know nothing about. Again it’s a major eyesore and does not fit in with the architecture of the town. It is a sore thumb that fits right in with today’s horrible architectural designs and build-outs. No imagination or architectural details. Like Leggo’s.

  5. Steve

    There seems to be blame on all sides. How do you design and finance the construction of a building like this without having nailed down or thoroughly estimated all the costs – the taxes that will ultimately be due, utilities, etc. $25k on a building of that scale seems to be entirely in line with the local taxes on other structures. To run into trouble like this at this late stage of the game smells like a plan to simply ignore building codes/pay off town officials that didn’t pan out.

    And who in the building dept. approved of the monstrosity in the first place? Not even bring up the size or style, how can no one have noticed a lack of heating/cooling equipment in the plan, knowing that the height of the building was at max allowable without such equipment?

    Between this building and the prison-like concrete Denizen theater above Water Street Market, the village has lost most of it’s charm, with eyesores popping up left and right.

  6. Concerned Citizen

    What a bunch of assholes on the New Paltz planning board!! This guy has spent so much money trying to make this happen and a bunch of idiots keep preventing him

    1. FunkieGunkie

      He should have hired a better crew. It’s a major fail! And your linguistic style and language discredits anything you’re trying to say. Did you have something to do with this failure of a building?

  7. Perry Popadopolous

    Across Main Street from the old Yanni restaurant you can see from the Post Office parking lot what looks to be an entire rooftop enclosure of metal and glass that makes the building taller than 35′. Secondly, Mulberry Square apartments on Henry W. are all more than 35′ tall. Third, there is a rooftop added penthouse on the brick building right next door that makes the structure more than 35′ tall. The administration building in the Village at SUNY is at least seven stories tall, the tallest building between New York City and Albany.
    51 Main Street has the same architecture as the Dorsky Museum, the best looking structure on campus.
    The owner of 51 Main street started with the Zeigler and Stevens planning board as members, there was no absence of a building inspector during that time, and there was a different zoning board membership back then too.
    Most importantly, Yani’s was the only place on Main Street we ever went to eat at because the food was good, the service was good and the prices were right. This guy is being taken to the cleaners by the Village, which is why the Village should be dissolved so we can quit starving him out of his money.
    Grandfather it in, paternally, maternally or both. It doesn’t take a village?

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