The Town of New Windsor held its first town board meeting of the year last Wednesday. Under new Supervisor George Meyers, the town’s atmosphere has changed immensely. Citizens from all over the town attended the meeting in excitement for a new and changed town government.
Under former Supervisor George Green, criticism was frequently raised over the relationship between the board and citizens. Citizens complained over feeling excluded from town actions by the board. At the end of his term, Green had not been at a board meeting for more than six months.
The meeting agenda had 80 items. The meeting opened up with a public hearing to amend chapter 300 of the town code, allowing mini warehouses in the neighborhood commercial zoning district. No one spoke out against the amendment.
The meeting also featured reappointments to town roles. Before each agenda item was voted on, Meyers gave a brief explanation to attendees. During the meeting, attendees asked about the proposed moratorium and other projects. Meyers is aiming to put in place a temporary moratorium on building development this February. A public hearing for the proposed moratorium will be held on February 5 at 7 p.m. in the town hall.
Mark Taylor, an attorney representing Banta Holdings, spoke against the proposed moratorium. “Banta holdings is another long-time property owner and business owner in the town,” said Taylor.
Banta holdings had a restaurant on Route 300. The property is currently vacant. Banta is currently seeking to build a hotel on the property.
“They had an application for the planning board which was submitted in 2017,” said Taylor. “They’ve proceeded diligently with that application for over two years.” On October 9 of 2019, the New Windsor Planning Board accepted the final environmental impact statement for the project. A public hearing for the project was held in 2019.
According to Taylor, “a lead agency must file its bindings and adopt and act on the application, to approve or disapprove, within 30 days of the filing of the final environmental impact statement.” Taylor said it’s now been over 90 days since the filing.
“In light of those circumstances I’m asking that the board consider within its moratorium provision for either a waiver or an exemption for the projects which are proposing to redevelop sites that have sewer water connections,” said Taylor. He is asking for an exemption for projects that the town would have already made a decision on, had the town acted administratively within the required time period and regulations of law.
Kimberly Yongsurdyk raised concerns over the Apple Ridge housing development. “I just wanted to bring it up again that if there’s any way that you guys could step in and represent the residents in the area on their [Apple Ridge’s] water treatment facility they’re putting in,” asked Yongsurdyk.
Apple Ridge is a housing development proposed to be built on an old apple orchard on Shaw Road. The proposed area is a rural section of New Windsor, near the Blooming Grove town line.
“They [Apple Ridge] own a lot of property there that they’re not using now,” said Yongsurdyk. “The original plans for the water treatment facility plant set back off of the residents that have already been there for some time now. We’re just hoping that maybe we can revisit that and see if there is a way to move it away from the residents that are currently there.”
At the end of the meeting, Meyers responded to some of the public comments. “Apple Ridge, I’m very very familiar with that,” said Meyers. “‘I’ve done some site visits with Councilman [Stephen] Bedetti. We’re aware of this water treatment plant issue.”
According to Meyers, it’s possible that the housing development project may fall into the proposed moratorium. In addition, he said that the town government will look deeper into the situation. “I just wanted to assure you I am very aware of what’s going on,” said Meyers.