Trans-Hudson project gets waiver for minimum storefront size code

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The New Paltz City Planning Board voted unanimously to grant the controversial Trans-Hudson project on State Route 299 near the Thruway a request for a waiver of the requirement that 50% of the walls facing the street be in glass.

The requirement directs that the ground floor of new buildings in the Main Street mixed-use area have at least 50% of the glass area oriented vertically on the side of the building facing the street.

In arguing for the waiver at Monday night’s planning board meeting, project attorney Katharine Zalantis noted that the request was consistent with the city’s zoning appeal board previously granting a waiver. waiver of a two-story requirement in the city’s zoning code.

These zoning codes seek to create a more traditional neighborhood feel and higher density in future developments instead of suburban-style strip malls bordered by a sea of ​​parking lots. City officials said such regulations would help curb suburban sprawl and preserve open spaces in outlying areas of the city.

“This specific standard prohibits franchise architecture,” Zalantis said, arguing for the waiver. She said more glass would only serve to take the development away from a traditional look and make it look more like the shape architecture favored by fast-food chains across the country.

This project has been in the cards since 2013 and has undergone a number of revisions, including the removal of a once-proposed 13,000 square foot CVS pharmacy from the proposal following the chain’s withdrawal.

During the discussion, board member Lyle Nolan said he would like to see windows on both sides of the building facing the street, in accordance with zoning requirements that require such a design.

Planning Council solicitor Rick Golden said that even after the 50% glass requirement was removed, the council could still require windows on either side of the building by majority vote.

Council chairwoman Adele Ruger said the requirement for windows on both sides of the building facing the street had nothing to do with this applicant’s request.

Board member Jane Schanberg said she liked the more colonial-style architecture the developers came up with in their latest proposal, and she added that it lends itself to somewhat smaller windows. Schanberg said she wanted to ensure there would be ongoing collegiate opportunities to discuss design changes after granting the waiver.

She believes that a helpful working relationship around the design of the project will help ensure it’s the best on all counts. “We can do it very easily and get the best result all around,” she said.

Zalantis reassured the board that granting this waiver would not preclude the board from suggesting ongoing changes to the proposal.

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