Packaging manufacturer Viking Industries updated the New Paltz Town Planning Board on its plans to add a 44,000-square-foot expansion to its present 76,937-square-foot facility at 89 Ohioville Road in New Paltz.
Representing Viking Industries, Rich Croce said the expansion is key for Viking to be able to meet skyrocketing demand for packaging as people have increasingly shifted their shopping habits online.
Croce said the current heating unit sits on top of the roof and the expansion would allow Viking to move it inside. He noted that it offers a number of benefits. “It will result in less energy consumption because we keep the air in the building and we’re not pulling heated air back outside and it will also result in less noise.”
Croce said this equipment is why the roof is higher on one side of the building than the other.
Viking said it plans to have four loading docks on street frontage, which the board noted would require a variance as loading docks are not permitted on street frontage under the Town’s zoning laws.
Caren LoBrutto, a senior planner at the Chazen Companies, said Viking is also seeking a variance from parking requirements to have fewer spots than required under the zoning requirement. She said Viking is requesting to have 13 fewer spaces than the 23 new spaces required in the Town’s zoning code.
Kyle Bardwell, also representing the project, said the applicant’s proposed ten new spaces would bring the total parking spaces up to 85 at the site.
Lo Brutto said a study done by a traffic engineer showed there would be 27 vacant spaces in the morning for the day shift and 56 available during the evening shift. She said the latest site plan features vehicle maneuvering for large tractor-trailer trucks that would serve the site and a fire truck maneuvering plan, which has been submitted to the New Paltz Fire Department.
LoBrutto said there would be interconnectivity between the buildings and no impact on nearby single-family homes, a nearby telecommunications facility or a Central Hudson transmission line. When asked by Planning Board member Amanda Gotto if there would be any changes to the driveway, LoBrutto said there will be no changes to the drive.
As he looked at the latest site plan, Planning Board member Lyle Nolan said one major issue that sticks right out is the unloading of trucks in front of the building, which isn’t permitted under the Town’s zoning code.
The proposal has a total of four loading docks which the applicant is seeking a variance for, LoBrutto said.
Gotto noted the Planning Board couldn’t take any action on such a request because the project is currently also in front of the Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals, which has not made a decision on that request.
LoBrutto said time is of the essence for the applicant to meet skyrocketing demand for packaging as more and more consumers shift their shopping habits online.
The board voted unanimously to send out a notice of intent to declare itself lead agency on the project and to type the SEQRA as an unlisted action. But the board stopped short of going any further in the SEQRA process after Planning Board attorney Rick Golden advised the board that they could not take such action until they were officially declared lead agency.
A process that will take at least 30 days, he said.
The project still faces a number of hurdles. Golden said Viking has submitted a very detailed SEQRA review that needs to be approved before the project can go ahead. And Town engineer Andy Willingham noted the project has to also receive approval from the Ulster County Department of Health and a wastewater permit for more than 1,000 gallons a day, and also a stormwater permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The board decided to hold off on submitting the project to the Ulster County Planning Board until further into the process.
Willingham wanted assurance that Viking would not use either an existing septic system or a proposed new one to dump waste from factory processes.
Croce said any process waste generated is treated on-site and the grey water is held in tanks before it can be hauled away from the site, and the septic system will only be used for domestic waste.
“This should be documented and filed,” Willingham said.
Board member Jane Schanberg noted she looked at the roof and sees it as a golden opportunity for solar panels and she pitched the idea to Croce.
Croce said the building would be constructed in a manner to support solar panels in terms of roof load limits.
“Right now I appreciate everyone’s time and treating this with urgency, but I don’t want to add further complications to getting my machinery in there so I can get it completed,” Croce said. “But it’s definitely something we already told the builders we’re speaking to incorporate into the architecture and design of the roof, so it could bear the weight.”