Even with a number of community members behind their cause, Moxie Cupcake’s plan to move location is currently on hold.
Moxie Cupcake’s application to move from 215 Main St. to 184 Main St. is currently suspended by the Village of New Paltz Planning Board due to $1,600 worth of consultant work not being paid.
Moxie Cupcake Owner Josie Eriole said she has not paid the money for the consultant work because of the board’s use of an engineer consultant. Eriole said the engineering consultant was unnecessary and has only been used to increase the price of what has already been a costly process.
“At the very first meeting the board said they hadn’t even looked at my application or site plan, but had already charged me $1,700 for my application,” Eriole said. “When they told me I needed to pay more, I asked them why they needed it and they told me it was non-negotiable. They’re essentially holding my application hostage at this point.”
When Eriole first applied to open Moxie Cupcake in 2011 at its current location, she said it took two meetings and between $400 to $500 to get approval from the board. Now in 2013, Eriole said aside from the money the board is asking for her to pay, she is also paying rent for Moxie’s current location and their prospective one.
Chair of the Village of New Paltz Planning Board Maurice Weitman said the board has provided Eriole with multiple ways for her to move forward in her goal to relocate, but her refusal to pay for costs already incurred is “a great disservice to herself.”
“We want nothing more for her than to move into that building,” Weitman said. “We have let her take shortcuts and have extended deadlines for her. The ball is in her court and if she would just pay the money, we could all move forward.”
To move to the new location, Eriole had to fill out a special use application, as there is “no specified use for a bakery or cafe in the village,” she said.
The special use application requires Eriole to have a site plan where she lists the changes she would make to 184 Main St. if she were to move shop there. She said the board asked her to add lighting, the use of a planter and parking designations, among other landscaping and space changes she may need.
Eriole said the changes she would be making are cosmetic and do not require the consulting of an engineer.
“They [the board] keep saying they need to consult an engineer to look at the latest site plan and there’s no engineering going on,” she said. “There’s one board member who says we don’t need to do more consultant review, and asking why do we need this extra money, but he has been shot down every time.”
The building at 184 Main St. has been vacant for two years and Eriole said she wanted to move Moxie’s location there to increase visibility. She also said the spot will allow her the space she needs to continue her business’ success.
The desired move has received a large amount of support from community members and Eriole said public comment has been in her favor at the past two planning board meetings.
While Weitman said he and the other board members want Moxie Cupcake to occupy the space, the law does not permit them to move forward unless the proper renderings to the site plan are made and the money needed to pay consultants is paid.
“We need to make sure we as a board review the application for legality and that it is suitable for someone to move in there,” Weitman said. “The law says we cannot move any further unless the money needed for the consultation is paid into the escrow.”
Eriole said despite the board’s refusal to approve her application due to her site plan and the money she owes, they have allowed other venues to move forward in their applications even though they have had less consultation and site planning done than she has had to do.
She said a café looking for a spot downtown was brought up at a previous board meeting and even though they had done less than her in regards to the site plan, she said they were given the go ahead “on the spot.”
“No site plan review was done on this application and there are changes to the site, which apparently no one has seen,” Eriole said. “Nobody has bothered to look at this site. There are multiple things required that aren’t there. Apparently that is how things roll. It’s completely unfair, and all I have ever asked is to be treated fairly.”
Weitman said the reason the board approved the café so quickly is because they are making few changes and handed in all of their paperwork “on time and according to the process.”
Even with the back and forth between her and the board, Eriole said she is “fairly optimistic” she will be able to move into her desired location.
“I don’t have anything to base it on and I don’t know why I’m feeling so good about this, but I think it will work out,” she said.