A proposal for a 73,646-square-foot three-story, mixed-use building at the northern edge of the Village of New Paltz made its first appearance before the Planning Board last week.
The application by Chestnut Properties, LLC, seeks site plan and special use permit approval to demolish the former Agway at 145 North Chestnut Street and build in its place a mixed-use building to include 39 one-bedroom, 15 two-bedroom, seven three-bedroom, and two studio residential units, plus roughly 8,610 square feet of ground floor retail space on the 2.49 acre property.
Citing declining sales due to big box stores, the local Agway shut its doors in April 2020 after nearly 90 years in New Paltz, the majority of that time at 61 North Chestnut, a property currently occupied by the Salvation Army. That Agway was independently operated after the parent company sold or closed its entire retail operation in 1999.
Chestnut Properties, LLC is proposing a roughly H-shaped building with 112 parking spaces. While most of the residential units would be located on the second and third floors, nine would be located on the ground floor along the east side of the building, away from North Chestnut Street.
During the Village Planning Board meeting held on Tuesday, January 17, Jason Anderson, president and principal architect with Montgomery-based Anderson Design Group, described the plans as including retail space along the ground floor that runs parallel with North Chestnut. He added that the center core of the first floor would be amenity space, including a small park-style setting.
The proposal also includes significant landscaping and sewer system upgrades, along with onsite stormwater management.
Eric Baxter, one of the co-developers of the North Chestnut project, said a traffic study is nearing completion, and Planning Board Chairman John Litton said that was one of the village’s primary concerns about the project.
“We do believe it’s going to be an increase in traffic and we do believe that it will affect the traffic pattern in various directions and for various distances,” he said, advising that in addition to a traffic study prepared by the developer, that it also be referred to DTS Provident, the village’s traffic consultant. Sidewalk access alongside and to the property is also a concern for the Planning Board.
Baxter agreed that the development should also be easily accessed via the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, which runs alongside the western border of the property.
“We think it’s important for the project as well to have that access directly to the rail trail,” Baxter said.“That’s a great amenity, so we’re going to work to see what needs to be done to make that up.”
The Planning Board will also seek a study by Kingston-based Capital Environmental Consultants, Inc. to study the potential environmental impacts of the project.
Litton said that the property sits in the NBR (Neighborhood Business Residential Mixed-Use) district, and would be appropriate for the project suggested by Chestnut Properties, LLC. He also advised that other similar projects, including Zero Place, a three-story zero-emissions, mixed-use building at 87 N. Chestnut Street, is situated in the NBR district. He added that the Planning Board hopes to be able to help the new proposal come to fruition.
“We’re definitely in favor of this,” Litton said. “This is going to become, I believe, almost like a new downtown for us in a lot of respects…I think it looks like a very interesting project.”
Planning Board member Racquel Carrion agreed, suggesting that the developers consider reviewing applications of similar projects like Zero Place to get a sense of how they proceeded.
“You guys have the benefit of the fact that several other projects have commenced,” Carrion said. “I would just suggest that you kind of follow what’s going on with those applications so that you can learn from what is being said at public hearings to kind of expedite your individual process.”
Carrion added that after looking at the developers’ engineering report that they’re on the right track.
The Chestnut Properties, LLC proposal will return to the Planning Board upon completion of its various studies, with all parties expressing hopes of the project coming together smoothly.
The next meeting of the Village of New Paltz Planning Board is scheduled for Tuesday, February 7.