STONE RIDGE – Originally it was to be called the "Clocktower Shoppes," with a faux clock tower on a central building to provide a new and different look to the entry to Stone Ridge, the Rondout Valley's most upscale community. Sited just south of the Emmanuel's shopping center on Route 209, the project was bound to attract scrutiny from the town planning board... and it did.
It has been before the Marbletown planning board for almost two years now. Last September, applicants George and Stacy Fakiris of Apollon Building asked the board to just let them know what they could plan on being allowed to build. The board majority, in reply, made it clear that it was up to the applicants to craft a proposal that could be accepted, and not the board's job.
Now, after much consultation and discussion between town and planning boards, engineers, architect and various consultants, the Fakiris' proposal will return to the Town of Marbletown planning board next Wednesday, June 21. It is now named "The Stone Ridge Shoppes," and the clock tower concept is gone. The plan is for 17,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space to be built. A central building will be two stories, the rest of the complex will be single story, and all roofs will be peak style, with no flat roofs.
At earlier meetings of the planning board the applicants struggled with the board's strict interpretation of guidelines and zoning requirements. Representing the applicants, attorney Michael Moriello suggested that there was some flexibility allowed; however, planning board chair Richard Lanzarone remained adamant that things comply with existing guidelines.
At a September 2016 meeting, Lanzarone said that while some waivers could be discussed, the site was "a crucial one for the town" and because of the required number of parking spaces, the proposed buildings would have to be smaller.
Nadine Carney of Peak Engineering, who has been working on the application throughout, recently said, "I don't know if there will be conditional final approval at this next meeting, but that shouldn't hold up SEQR."
Once the project gets a negative declaration under the state environmental laws, its progress will be more certain. Carney noted that the two story building in the center of the development will have office space on the second floor, and there is talk now of a community space, too.
"One space is designed for a restaurant," she said, adding that the majority of one story spaces will be for retail outlets.
This month's meeting will have a public hearing on the proposal, which if approved will change the look and character of the gateway to Stone Ridge, as well as the entire Rondout Valley.
Tim Sweeney, who sits on the town board and owns both the wine store in Emmanuel's plaza and Nutshell Realty, in the smaller professional office plaza at the junction with Route 213 to the south, said, "As an owner of two local businesses I'm very excited at the prospect of additional services being available to our patrons. And I applaud the tenacity and determination of the applicants, the Fakiris. In addition we have to also note the hard work of our planning board members. I believe this will be a great addition to our community."
We'll let you know how things transpire on the 21st.