Opposition to the construction of a massive warehouse in the Town of Plattekill is mounting with a petition against the project signed by nearly 600 residents.
Large signs have also sprouted up all over southern Ulster County with the message: “Stop Huge Trucking Warehouse.”
An application for the warehouse to the Town of Plattekill Planning Board was first submitted on March 13, 2023 by Modena Developers, LLC of Chester, N.Y. The so-called “mega warehouse” is supposed to be located on a 50-acre parcel on Route 44/55 in Modena, between Routes 208 and 32, near the border of the Town of Gardiner.
The site plan for the proposed 451,050 square-foot building at 2021 Route 44/55 will include 116 parking spaces and 75 tractor/trailer loading docks. Under the plan, the company will employ 115 people. The applicant estimated that about 32 acres of the 50-acre site will be used and an existing pond will be filled in.
The owner of the property is listed as Ranch Land Corporation, 600 State Route 44/55, Highland, the same address as the Rocking Horse Ranch Resort. Rocking Horse Ranch Resort owner Steve Turk didn’t return a message from the Wallkill Valley Times seeking comment.
Following the December 12, 2023 public hearing on the proposed warehouse, the Town of Plattekill Planning Board voted to extend the public hearing with written comments for 30 days. That deadline was subsequently extended to January 25. Emailed comments should be sent to Plattekillplan@yahoo.com and to the Ulster County Planning Department at Planning@co.ulster.ny.us.
The developers of the warehouse project were not on the agenda for the January 23 town planning board meeting.
The biggest concern voiced by local residents is the traffic congestion that tractor-trailers going in and out of the site could produce on Route 44/45. The entrance/exit to the facility is located on a hilly stretch of the road with limited sight distances, according to residents who oppose the project.
Rich Meyer, a Gardiner resident whose property borders the proposed warehouse, said opposition to the project isn’t limited to Town of Plattekill residents.
“I attended the New Paltz Town Board meeting last night and asked them about the mega-warehouse,” Meyer said on Friday. “They had a vote not to let it go through. And the town of Gardiner is going against it big time.”
Meyer said the second week of December last year all those close to the project received certified letters notifying them of the planned warehouse.
“That was the first we ever heard of it,” Meyer said. “It’s going to be humongous. That’s the first thing. No. 2 is the trucks that will be going up and down the road. Traffic safety is a big concern of mine. The impact to the environment is another issue. The whole thing is on wetlands. It’s much more than they’re letting it on to be in their application. They want to fill in a pond. It’s ludicrous. If anyone else wanted to do that, it wouldn’t even be entertained.”
Town of Plattekill Supervisor Dean DePew Sr. said following the Jan. 17 Town Board meeting that many constituents had contacted him about the proposed warehouse.
“Many people have voiced their concerns,” DePew said. “There’s pros and cons as there is to every project that would come to the community. At this time, it’s not before the Town Board. But I think the board is keeping their ears open trying to get a head start to learn everything we can.”
At the December 12 town planning board meeting, Gardiner resident Patrick Cotter, who started the petition opposing the warehouse, asked if the site was once proposed as a dinosaur theme park. In 2004, Turk and partner Robert Feldman of New Paltz appeared before the Plattekill planning board in 2004 seeking approval for the project.
Concerns about noise, traffic and water were raised by roughly 50 people and the project was eventually rejected by town planners.
“The dinosaur park came in front of us and was turned down,” Planning Board chairman Richard Gorres said at the December 12 public hearing on the warehouse project. “The applicant hired someone who didn’t represent him well. I thought it was OK. There was enough room and water. It would have created traffic also, but it would have been cars. I know you all would like to see it stay vacant.”