Representatives of Trans-Hudson Management, the corporate developer of the CVS project proposed near the Thruway in New Paltz, are now open to routing the Empire State Trail through the property and to move parking behind the buildings. But they also want concessions of their own.
They would like the paved trail to run right through the center of a required vegetative buffer with the Interstate. They are also seeking a waiver of the requirement to build a second story, and they would like another waiver to be able to offer food in a drive-through window. They were eager to secure these waivers at the July 13 meeting of the town planning board, but all three actions remain pending.
The so-called CVS proposal calls for the drug store, as well as a restaurant, on the 5.6-acre parcel bounded by the Thruway, Route 299 and North Putt Corners Road. A third potential pad site may be developed at a later date.
Planning-board attorney Richard Golden advised against decisions where a code interpretation is or may be required, The board agreed. Interpreting the code is a building inspector’s job, not the planning board’s, The board must await a ruling before deciding whether to waive the requirement to build a second story, per the current zoning code.
Attorney Katherine Zalantis asserted at that meeting that a second floor is not good for retail, something with which board member Amy Cohen — herself a retailer — agreed. Cohen also said it would be a bad place for an apartment. Zalantis largely glossed over the possibility of a professional office on the second floor. A second story is mentioned in two places in the code, and the wording is unclear as to whether a waiver is in the board’s purview.
Zalantis tried to have it both ways regarding the paved trail running through a vegetative buffer. She said a waiver wasn’t necessary. But if it is, she wants one. Golden was of the position that the board could only rule on the waiver if Zalantis conceded that the board had the power to waive. She declined to commit her clients.
The code does allow for drive-through windows, but not for food. Zalantis pushed the argument that a time when people were trying to minimize contact to reduce the spread of a coronavirus made this an appropriate waiver. Though she succeeded in persuading four of the six members present, Golden said it took a unanimous vote to grant the waiver. That question now moves to the town board for determination.
Chair Adele Ruger agreed to place this application on the next meeting agenda, in case a determination from the building inspector on the other two waivers is made by that time.