Two neighbors who are trying to increase the size of their properties by splitting up an adjacent empty lot have a bit more work to do in order to get the New Paltz Town Planning Board approval that they seek. Barry Wine and Siyon Kim both have homes on Butterville Road, and Wine’s lot at 9 Gatehouse Road is contiguous to them both. Wine is seeking to sell a portion of that empty land to Kim, and in the process redraw the property lines to eliminate that lot entirely. What’s needed from Planning Board members is approval to move those imaginary lines around, but they didn’t feel they had enough information to be easy with it just yet.
Zoning rules in New Paltz are a bit quirky; this is technically a subdivision even though it would result in fewer building lots if approved. Wine and Kim are actually looking for more of an un-division, erasing an existing lot by incorporating a portion of it into their adjacent properties. According to architect Allen Ross, Kim cares for rescued horses and is seeking more land for their grazing. Ross also pointed out that a benefit of eliminating a building lot here would be to preserve an important landscape vista in the community.
This application triggers a quirk in state law, too. This could have been deemed a Type-2 Action under the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) act, because moving a line has no impact, but for rules in state subdivision law. A public hearing must be held on any subdivision, but those hearings are triggered by the formal declaration of environmental significance under SEQR, the environmental law. Listing an action as Type 2 is the end of the process, with no declaration made because it’s understood that there will be no impacts to evaluate at all. Since the required hearing is triggered by the declaration, Planning Board members had to instead designate this as an unlisted action, allowing them to immediately thereafter make a negative declaration of environmental significance. Board attorney Rick Golden, with decades of experience in this area of law, smoothly guided board members through all the necessary hoops.
It’s the horses that gave board member Lyle Nolan pause. Given that there’s wetlands on the property and horses will be grazing, Nolan was reluctant to grant a waiver to the requirement that all culverts and their sizes be detailed on the map, because it’s harder to ensure that they are being maintained if they aren’t documented. Waivers to various requirements are an option in the subdivision code, and despite how frequently these are granted, they are not guaranteed. If Wine and Kim wish to proceed with this transaction, it looks like a surveyor will have to be paid to return to the property to gather those details.