The Ulster Town Board last week gave its approval to a site plan for a three-story, climate-controlled storage facility at 600-620 Washington Avenue, a 1.9 acre property currently home to The Olympic Diner. The town’s Planning Board will still have to officially OK the site plan.
The storage facility project was reviewed during a Town Board meeting held on Thursday, August 18, with Caren LoBrutto, a senior planner with Rochester-based LaBella Associates representing Diamond Point Development.
“The project has undergone significant review,” LoBrutto said. “And as part of the overall review, it’s been determined to shrink the size of the building. There was also careful consideration paid to the aesthetics of the facade. The developers put brick on the facade and added fenestration to help make the building more architecturally consistent with the surroundings.”
Ulster Town Supervisor James E. Quigley, III said the brick is replacing an initially proposed glass facade.
“The Ulster County Planning Board made a recommendation that they drive through Uptown Kingston to get a feeling for what the architectural accoutrements were on existing structures,” Quigley said. “And (Diamond Point Development) changed from a modern, less structured front to a muted stone facade.”
LoBrutto added that the northbound view of the building will be mostly obscured by existing vegetation, and that there is no development proposed south of Sandy Road, adjacent to the Esopus Creek.
The project has undergone significant scrutiny since the site plan review application was prepared by Jason Sommer of Diamond Point Development, and last week Quigley said the Town Board would not override any conditions imposed by the Ulster County Planning Board in its late-July review memo.
Among the conditions for the project are the provision of a 20-foot wide sewer easement along the northwest and northern boundary of the property; and dedication of a conservation easement to the Town of Ulster or another qualified organization consistent with New York environmental conservation law, allowing the Town access to maintain drainage, road and utilities.
“We’re basically saying that nothing can be changed along the banks of the Esopus,” said Quigley.
LoBrutto said comments on the developer’s stormwater plan had been addressed, and that a truck-turning plan had been established that would allow the “greatest sized” fire truck to make emergency maneuvers on the property.
The project will include the demolition of the 3,766-square-foot Olympic Diner, which has been there for over five decades; along with a storage and office building that’s roughly the same size.