Monika Cowley’s consultants will be reporting back to their client that going through the Town of New Paltz’s Planning Board will not expedite the building of a house along the private Colton Lane. Engineer Geoffrey Bass brought to the Board a proposal to move the property line between two lots Cowley owns, in order to build the size house that Cowley desires thereupon. Bass explained that Cowley’s preference is to simply combine the two lots, but after consulting with staff in the Town’s Building Department, Bass had the impression that this could not occur until January. Filing an application to revise the lot line was a bid to allow construction to begin this year.
Unfortunately for Cowley, it seems that such an application will not make it possible to start building sooner. As board attorney Rick Golden explained, lot-line revisions fall under subdivisions in the New Paltz zoning code, and that gets sticky when it comes to private roads. A legacy of an earlier time, private roads don’t have to meet the same construction standards as public ones — except when a subdivision is to be performed. That’s the opportunity to ensure that emergency workers can drive to every residence, even in the largest of fire engines. The code now precludes creating of new lots that don’t have frontage along a public road, and since lot-line revisions are considered subdivisions, this modest proposal could well be halted by the prohibition. According to Planning Board chair Adele Ruger, it could theoretically be approved, but it would be a lengthy and expensive process.
After inquiring in the Building Department, Bass came away with the understanding that combining lots could not occur until January. The process as explained by Planning Board members involves filing some paperwork with the town’s assessor. It wasn’t clear around the board table what the timing of such a process might be, although the assumed that any of the town’s building inspectors would be more familiar with the details.