Planning Board Names New Chairperson

By the summertime, there will be a new chairperson for the New Paltz Village Planning Board. Eve Waltermaurer is set to take the chair position of the board with current Village Planning Board Chair Michael Zierler set to step down in June. 

Waltermaurer has been a member of the planning board since November 2017, when she became an alternate member to the board. 

Waltermaurer has also worked at the college as a professor for over 15 years. As a professor, Waltermaurer has taught in the sociology department, mainly teaching research and statistics classes, along with classes in violence, criminological theory and delinquency. She also currently works as the Senior Research Scientist at The Benjamin Center on campus. 

After moving to New Paltz full-time in July 2017, Waltermaurer gained an interest in joining the Village Planning Board.

“As soon as I moved here full-time, I looked into the meaningful ways in which I could be civically engaged here,” Waltermaurer said. “I saw in the newspaper several positions that the town and village were seeking to fill. Village Planner excited me the most since this board plays such an important role in the face and character of the Village.”

Zierler has served on the Planning Board since 2011 and he has been the chair position of the board since 2015. Since Waltermaurer has joined the board, Zierler has been impressed in her proactiveness at meetings. 

“In the short time that Eve has served on the Village Planning Board, she has been 100 percent committed to the work that the planning board takes on,” Zierler said. “She comes prepared to every meeting, asks probing questions and has good ideas and suggestions for resolving issues.”

With a background in epidemiology, Waltermaurer doesn’t think her lack of experience in planning will have an effect on the job she does in the chair position.

“No one on the board needs to be an experienced planner, nor are they,” Waltermaurer said. “Being a good planner means caring about your community, being detail-oriented, being able to balance the needs of those who want to develop here with those of the people who live here already.”

Zierler added that he has confidence in Waltermaurer despite her not having a background in planning.

“Her lack of experience with planning means that she will have a lot to learn in a short amount of time, but I have confidence that she will have no trouble doing that,” Zierler said. “The other members of the Planning Board and our professional staff are experienced and care very much about this board. They will assist her in achieving success for her, the board and the community.”

Going forward, Zierler added that in the next year, there will be some large proposals for the Planning Board that will require Waltermaurer’s attention right away.

“We are likely to see at least one or two large proposals in the next year. These multi-month or multi-year reviews are exciting but also have a lot of moving parts and demand a lot of the Chair’s attention,” Zierler said. “Most of the applications that the Planning Board reviews are not for large projects, but there are some small ones that can be complicated and might bring out concerned neighbors. Balancing the concerns of neighbors and the objectives of applicants is an ssential job for the chair to facilitate.”

Even though Waltermaurer hasn’t taken the chair position for the Village Planning Board yet, she realizes the importance of the Planning Board and how they shape the look of the Village of New Paltz.

“Anyone who wants to significantly improve a home or business or add one to the village must go through the planning board,” Waltermaurer said. “We contribute to discussions about design, environmental impact, traffic patterns, enhancing bicycling and walking opportunities, just to name a few. These all play an important role in the face and character of the Village of New Paltz.”

Waltermaurer kept it simple when discussing what she wants to achieve as the chair of the Planning Board.

“New Paltz is a place many people love. It offers so much in a single Village,” Waltermaurer said. “I just hope to help the Village continue to grow and have vitality efficiently.”