Titus project takes a step forward
The Shawangunk Town Board voted last week to grant cluster approval for a 31-lot subdivision located on 25 acres off Buena Vista Avenue.
The development, spearheaded by Lee Titus, has been hampered by wetlands located on the property. With the recent updating of DEC wetland maps, some of the proposed homes and lots are now within the 100 foot buffer required by the DEC.
According to the Planning Board, it is their policy not to allow construction in a buffer zone. As a result, the proposal has made little headway over the past few months. A recent conversation between the town and the DEC however, has offered a glimmer of hope for the development. It is the town’s understanding that the DEC has some flexibility for the buffer zone that would mean possible permits in the first 50 feet, but no permits for the second 50 feet.
As part of the Town Board’s decision to grant cluster approval, the proposed homes would need to be moved out of the more strict section of the buffer zone and into the first 50 feet of the buffer as much as possible.
“I feel this was a great compromise,” said Councilman Matthew Watkins.
The board discussed how to make sure that future homeowners in the development would be aware of the restrictions before they purchased a home. It was agreed that listing the restrictions on the map would make them enforceable and notify potential buyers.
Valk noted that the approval did not mean the town thought the plan was just fine. Rather, it still had a way to go with input from the town’s attorney, planner and Planning Board.
“There is still work to be done,” said Planning Board member Mark Watkins.
Planning Board Chairwoman Kris Pedersen recommended that the town consider a local law that would take the DEC regulations for wetlands and make them town regulations.
While the Town Board did not make a decision on the recommendation, Councilman Watkins thanked the Planning Board for the “great job” they had done so far with the project, stating their efforts would protect the future residents in the community.
Representatives of the Wallkill Savings & Loan were not as happy with the Planning Board, filing an Article 78 proceeding against them because of a recent decision. The bank had requested 10 aesthetic lights to shine up on their building in addition to the current lighting, but was only approved for three.
“We tried to work with them and it backfired on us,” said Pedersen.
The board noted that they “didn’t see it coming” and are hopeful that the matter can be resolved with the bank amicably.
In other business, the Town Board voted to authorize the signing of a contract with Wallkill Center Properties to retain Choice Words as a grant writer for a drainage project in the town. The applicant is seeking incentive zoning for the Wallkill Commons project — a development for the hamlet that when it was first proposed more than three years ago, included a two-story commercial building, three two-story mixed-use buildings, three two-story residential buildings and four two-story townhouse complexes with 66 units. The development was planned for a little over six acres surrounded by a number of streets: Main Street, Bridge Street, Railroad Avenue, Park Avenue and Pleasant Avenue. As the proposed project would increase density more than the zoning currently allows, the applicant has chosen to pay for a grant writer to apply for grants to solve drainage problems in the town in exchange for incentive zoning.
The board also approved a proposed Eagle Scout project by local Boy Scout Alexander Banks, who wants to build three picnic tables and install them in the town park. Following the concerns and recommendations of members of the board, he will look into handicapped accessible tables and securing methods.
By RACHEL COLEMAN