The proposed nine month moratorium for the development on Route 299 and North Putt Corners Road was highly favored at a recent public village hearing on Nov. 3. This section of town has been called vital for cyclists and those who use wheelchairs, but this moratorium puts hold on other potential projects.
Under the proposed moratorium covering about 25 parcels included in the area covering more than a mile of Route 299 going east from ShopRite Plaza, officials would not be able to review any site plan, special permit application, area variance or sub divisional proposal except for residential developments of five units or less and non-residential structures of 2,500 square feet or less.
New Paltz Town Supervisor Neil Bettez said that many people have attended public meetings and spoken in favor of the moratorium over the past six to eight months. If the moratorium were to be implemented, the public would be heavily involved in further planning.
“During the nine months we’d like to hold a series of public meetings and through engaging the public we would have an idea of what sort of zoning changes, if any changes at all, the public wants to see in that area,” he said.
Among the moratorium’s supporters is the New Paltz Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee. In a statement unanimously endorsed by the committee in their meeting in April 2016, they referred to the area as the gateway section of town for those entering from the east and believes that conditions for cyclists, pedestrians and those in wheelchairs are already unsafe and any further development without careful planning could worsen these conditions.
“These conditions will not improve, and will quickly deteriorate, if any new developments are approved without careful attention to infrastructure that supports non-motorized transportation,” according to the statement. “Before any developments are approved for this section of town, it is important that the town give serious consideration to and adopt a vision for the Exit 18 Gateway corridor. A temporary moratorium will allow for this crucial planning to occur.”
The committee is also concerned with the effect that developments will have on the 100+ mile trail network being championed by Ulster County Commissioner Mike Hein. The trail will reach from the Ashokan Reservoir across the Walkway over the Hudson all the way to the Hopewell Junction depot and promises to be one of the most used networks in the United States.
“One of the few remaining gaps in this trail network runs right through the Exit 18 Gateway corridor,” according to the statement. “It would be an utter travesty if development proceeded in this section without the utmost concern and planning for this valuable trail network.”
Councilman Marty Irwin stands in opposition to the moratorium regarding the potential impact on property taxes for residents of New Paltz and believes what the town really needs is to update its Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Laws, on a town-wide basis.
“My financial analysis suggests a moratorium, including possible litigation, may cost us over $300,000, and this amount does not include costs for the town to defend any appeals should the court find in favor of the town,” he said.
Among other proposed projects potentially affected by this moratorium the Wild Berry Lodge water park and hotel property on South Ohioville Road.
The hearing has been recessed until Dec. 15.