WAWARSING – Architects Colin Brice and Caleb Mulvena gave a presentation of their proposed 23-lot development on a 130-acre parcel of land on South Hill at the Wawarsing Planning Board meeting on November 21. The site is spectacularly beautiful, with some of the best views of the Shawangunks in the region which lie about ten miles to the east, close to the Ulster/Sullivan county border.
Should this development be built, at the full 22 proposed houses, (with a conservation lot left vacant), it would be the largest residential development in the town of Wawarsing in many years, and could bring a new, and affluent group of homeowners to the town.
Brice and Mulvena operate the MAPOS architectural firm in Manhattan, with an impressive array of tasteful, innovative projects mostly in New York, but also in Hong Kong and elsewhere. In a brief interview, Brice emphasized over and over that they were not your usual developers, were not out to make scads of money, and were mostly concerned with producing a development that will suit the landscape and be as unobtrusive as possible.
"We spent a lot of time walking the land," he said. "We wanted to designate the right spots to place houses, and we used GPS siting to do that and put them in the site plan. Then we started thinking how to access those sites."
Brice added that while they put forward a project with 22 possible houses, they are not firmly wedded to any numbers yet. Brice is very familiar with our area, he has had a house in Gardiner for the last ten years.
"Touching the land lightly, that’s where we want to go," he said. "We’re ‘greenies.’"
That said, they are completely aware of the need to have the sites be accessible to firefighting equipment, but they may also seek waivers on some of the Town of Wawarsing’s code requirements in pursuit of less impermeable surface and a very DEC friendly storm water plan.
"We believe that the water should stay on the land, where it falls, and only leave it via natural waterflows. So, we don’t want to redirect water, don’t want curbs and culverts, and we plan on having bio-swales on either side of our road.
Of the 22 houses currently envisaged for this project, nineteen would be hidden in woods and the remaining three would be at the top of the hill and out of view from the road below. The single road for the nineteen houses would stretch 3,800 feet.
Board President James Dolaway explained that the road would have to conform to NY fire codes, which require a 26-foot width for fire engines.
Up next, Brice and Mulvena will address comments from the board and the town engineers and will discuss these and other issues with the town board. Brice said they expect to be back on the agenda for December.
Tractor Supply Wants to Open
Larry Marshall of Mercurio, Norton, Tarolli & Marshall, engineers and surveyors based in Pine Bush, appeared on behalf of DMK Development, which is exploring the possibility of siting a Tractor Supply store on Old Route 209, on land backing to the sand and gravel mine behind the White Wolf restaurant. Marshall said the proposed store would be consistent in appearance with the store in Pine Bush and would be around 19,000 square foot in extent.
According to Marshall, the applicant would seek a waiver from the town parking requirements, noting that Tractor Supply stores rarely see more than 20 cars at one time, so having 70 parking spaces was excessive. The store would be in the Water District (Napanoch), and might access the private sewer line that was put in by White Wolf. There is also the possibility of an on-site sewer system. A preliminary application will be provided to the board in December.
Cano’s Recycling Stirs Opposition
The application to have a scrap metal recycling operation on the site of a former auto repair business in Ulster Heights brought more opponents to the continued public hearing. Greg Malewski, who owns a horse farm that abuts the site, said that this proposed use was "more intense" than what had gone before. It was also a commercial use in a residential area. He added that the site had been out of business for three years and so could not be used to "grandfather" in this new business. He was followed by Leonard Distel, supervisor of Wawarsing, who appeared as a resident of Ulster Heights. He said that before any other business went into that site, it should be surveyed by the EPA. There were once many automobiles and other junk cached on the site. He also said that the neighborhood is a very quiet one and that cutting up steel beams would impose an intolerable amount of noise.
The public hearing on this application will continue. Dolaway said the application will be reviewed by the county.