Saugerties planners balance interests of contractor, neighbors

Kim Kiniry, a contractor shut down last November following complaints from neighbors of noise and dust; is once more in front of the town planning board in Saugerties seeking approval of an amended site plan.

Kiniry West is one of two adjacent properties Kim Kiniry owns on Route 212. The property includes an area for machinery, crushed rock and other storage, a section for work on materials, and a building and office space.

After back-and-forth discussion between Gina Kiniry and Mark Kanter, a neighbor who opposes the operation, at the planning board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, July 21, the board agreed to set Kiniry’s allowed hours of operation as 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the understanding that in emergencies the contractor could work beyond those hours. The board also directed planning consultant Dan Shuster to draw up a negative declaration, a statement that the operation does not have environmental impacts that would require more extensive environmental study, for the board.


More specificity now

Engineer Chris DiChiaro said Kiniry had made a number of changes in response to comments at a previous hearing. He had included additional landscaping, identified specific stockpile areas, clarified the parking areas, updated the lighting plan, and reconciled inconsistencies in building elevations.

Emily Swenson, a lawyer representing Mark Kanter and Heather Hutchinson, a couple whose home is adjacent to the operation, thanked the board members for the work they have put into the application. She was “glad that this plan has a bit more specificity to it.”

“The biggest concerns are the noise, the visual and the dust that could come off the site,” Swenson summed up. Noise was the leading concern. Kanter and Hutchinson downloaded an app for their phone to measure the noise level, and while these meters can be inaccurate, “it does give an idea of the level.” They measured the ambient noise at about 36 decibels, but when a big truck went by it would be 46 to 49 decibels. When the couple measured the noise level while a power tool was operating in the shop, it was measured at 96 decibels, Swenson said.

Gina Kiniry said a craftsman was repairing one of the pillars not on the Kiniry property under discussion but on their adjacent property.” The stone mason repairing the pillar used a masonry saw, but only for the two hours it took to fix it, she explained. While she did not dispute the neighbiooringt couple’s sound measurement, Kiniry said she looked up sound levels “and an ordinary lawn mower is at 90. I’m not sure why they were so disturbed by this noise.” The pillar has been repaired, and the noise from the saw has ended. The problem, with the location of the rock wall and the work area, is that “the sound really travels,” Swenson said.

Swenson offered a list of five items the board should consider if it goes forward with this application. First was specifying permitted activities on the site. “The site-plan application shows a shop, a storage area for equipment and materials and a small office, so we think that that should be the activities allowed on the site,” said Swenson. Grinding, chipping and similar processes should not be allowed, she said. 

Second, rock ledges on the site should not be further reduced.

Determining activity times
The hours of operation should be specified. “Our suggestion is 8:30 to 4:30.”

“Absolutely not,” Kiniry said. 

The plan does include lighting, the fourth item on Swenson’s list. Her clients would request not having lighting on the western side of the building.
The fifth item is screening, which Swenson wanted increased. “You have screening on the [Route] 212 side, and we would ask that the screening and the berms be extended around the western boundary of the property to shield the property and the workshop from the neighbors to the west.”

DiChiaro said there was already a line of trees between Kanter and Hutchinson’s home and the shop, more than 500 feet away. “If you’re standing next to the shop building, you can’t see the neighbors’ home, and I seriously doubt whether they can see the shop building, unless it’s winter.”

The lighting was down-shielded, DiChiaro said. The illumination plan shows that you won’t have visible illumination beyond the property line, “let alone 500 feet away.”

Regarding the proposed hours of operation, Kiniry said, “These are clearly bankers’ hours. We cannot have our workers show up at the shop at 8:30 and load up by 9 o’clock, go to a job site that may be an hour away, unload and somehow get back to our shop by 4:30. That definitely infringes on our profitability.” 

Sorter hours would also affect other neighbors of the construction site, she argued. “We cannot leave people without water or sewer to accommodate Mark and Heather because they don’t like the noise or the sight or the smell or whatever their concerns are. When they bought their property they knew it was in a commercial zone, and that at some point a business would open up.”
They were lucky to have a long time before that happened, Kiniry said. “I don’t want to have to apologize for being a highway business in a highway-zoned property.” In response to a question, Kiniry said she would like to follow town and county work schedules, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Board members suggested a wide variety of times. Chairman Howard Post, who is in the construction business, said he would propose 6:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Swenson resisted, referring to a document she said had been prepared by the Kinirys, in which they had suggested a 7:30 start. Kiniry maintained that referred to their other site, where grinding and crushing was done. Swenson said she was referring to a document specifically addressing the 1740 site.

While the final agreement is still not complete, the board held an informal vote on the proposal and agreed to Post’s suggested hours.

Accommodating everybody

Kanter said he and his wife did not want to be involved in trying to enforce the regulations. “We’re depending on the town and its representatives – you guys – to keep a reasonable structure that will accommodate everybody.” He noted that there have been ongoing problems with damage to a rock ledge near his property, noise and equipment placement. 

“We have businesses, too,” he said. “Our concern is just that business takes into account the nature of where it is and the impact on the other people. That’s the consideration that we’re asking for, and it’s not to overturn the idea that somebody has a business that’s on the highway, it’s just that the business shouldn’t be overly impactful beyond what is reasonable.”

Kanter and Kiniry argued briefly again about whether the acoustics of the area, amplified by a rock ledge bordering the property, was a factor in the neighbors’ problems with noise. Kiniry said she could not do anything about the nature of the property. Kiniry’s engineer, DiChiaro, said neighbors across the road from Kiniry, were considerably closer than Kanter, had never complained about noise.

Michael Moriello, attorney representing the Kinirys, reminded the planners that the plans must be submitted to the county planning board.

Board members suggested several different time frames, but in the end 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with some accommodation for specific problems, appeared to be the consensus. Post authorized consultant Dan Shuster to draw up a resolution for the board to vote on at its next meeting on Tuesday, August 18.

There is one comment

  1. Andrew Cowan

    Interesting that despite all of the contentious activity from Kiniry toward Saugerties, Ulster County, the DEP, his neighbors, the fact that he’s been repeatedly found to clearly violating several laws and regulations- and in general thumbing his nose at anyone and everyone while doing so the Town of Saugerties is “trying to be fair to everyone”?

    What gives here? The town is “negotiating” with him about his hours and activities? They’re granting him ability to “crush rocks” after hours when he deems it an emergency? I may be naive but I really can’t think of a scenario where there’d be an emergency need to crush rocks?

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