In Saugerties, public hearing set for Starbucks restaurant in mall

“I think we all need Starbucks by this stage,” engineer Khattar Elmassalemah told the members of the Town of Saugerties Planning Board, nearly two hours into a meeting that still had five items on the agenda.

The engineer was presenting plans for a proposed Starbucks restaurant in the Grand Union Plaza [the Grand Union store is gone, but that’s still the plaza’s name] that could be approved at the next Planning Board meeting, While there are still issues to be resolved in the plan, Elmassalemah asked whether it was possible that the project could be approved at the next Planning Board meeting; chairman Howard Post said it is possible.

Elmassalemah went through a list of changes he has made to the site’s design since the last Planning Board meeting, including a longer “stacking” area for the drive-through lanes, a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals for the rear setback, landscaping and colors which conform to Starbucks standards. “I don’t believe any of those colors disagree with the gateway, they are all very natural colors,” said Elmassalemah. Water and sewer would be hooked up to the town’s facilities and traffic patterns now have all the traffic movement within the plaza.

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“I appreciate having a business that opens into the plaza,” said Planning Board member Carole Furman. “The other ones have all been designed to face the road for whatever reason.” 

One issue to be resolved is parking. Planning consultant Adriana Beltrani said the plan does not show the required number of parking spaces. Elmassalemah responded that the space for cars to line up at the service window could be considered as occupying parking spaces and should be included in the count. All the board members agreed that they had never seen any plan in which cars waiting for service could be counted toward the parking requirement. Elmassalemah also suggested that since the Starbucks’ restaurant would be owned by the owners of the plaza, it would seem that spaces in the main lot could be counted toward the requirement.

Beltrani said that a written agreement should be drawn up to make it clear that spaces on the main lot could be used for the Starbucks restaurant.

The board will hold a public hearing at its next meeting on August 17, and the plan must be submitted to the Ulster County Planning Board for comment.