EIS Before CVS

Cartoon by Stefanie Diers.

In late 2013, Trans-Hudson Management requested approval from the Town of New Paltz Planning Board to purchase property at the corner of North Putt Corners Road and State Route 299 for commercial purposes. The developer plans to build a plaza with a CVS Pharmacy and a Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

In May 2015 the board opened a public hearing on the matter, which was closed Monday night, Sept. 28. Many community members expressed concerns with the proposal and some urged the Board to require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from the developer.

We at The New Paltz Oracle believe that the citizens of New Paltz should be fully aware of the effects the construction of this plaza will have on the community before making a decision.

We support the idea of asking for an EIS and believe it should be put in the hands of an independent contractor. So far, much of the information considered by the board and public has been presented by Trans-Hudson.

The Board requested a survey of the property from a wetlands inspector and the applicant submitted a traffic study and wetlands report of their own. However, an EIS would be more thorough and done independently which presumably means they are not loyal to either party or the town and will provide the most accurate information needed to make a good decision.

That said, should an EIS be requested, the board and the town would need to accept the results – whatever they show.

Ecologist and Democratic town supervisor candidate Neil Bettez made the point that the impact of the rainwater runoff in the parking lots will be equivalent to “bowling balls hitting the side of the Millbrook Preserve.” Other complaints focused around cutting down all the trees. Some said this will destroy the habitats of animals and will take away a noise barrier protecting the roars of the Thruway.

Whatever the results of the study, they should be held as the highest authority by those who are arguing for the EIS so strongly, including us.

Many at the planning board meet- ing pointed out the impact to small local businesses such as Dedrick’s Pharmacy on Main Street. However, Dedrick’s has been in competition with Rite Aid and the Stop & Shop pharmacy for several years. It is still in business because they have a dedicated customer base who will not switch to CVS just because it takes more gas to get there.

A group of consumers who might migrate towards CVS and Five Guys are the people who pull off the Thruway in search of a quick bite or something from a pharmacy. They stop at the first place in sight, that means they likely pull into Rite Aid, McDonald’s or Burger King and aren’t going to shops in the village.

Although we support the idea of examining a new business proposal for the town of New Paltz, that does not mean we stand in opposition to local businesses. We support anyone willing to appropriately conduct business within the community of New Paltz.