WAWARSING – Frustrated by the seeming inability of the town to enforce decisions made by the planning board, Paul Lonstein, who was sitting in for John Constable as chair for this meeting, asked when the town was going to enforce laws and planning board decisions. He said it was time the town put "some teeth" into our laws.
The outburst came after two applicants in a row were told that public hearings on their applications would not receive any further attention from the board if they did not settle their escrow account deficits and pay the fees they had incurred.
On top of that source of annoyance came complaints from the public concerning the Birchos Shomayim of Kasho, who have repeatedly ignored the town and its rules. A continuation of the public hearing into their current application allowed for these comments to be heard, even though the applicants had departed, having been informed that there would be no action on their application until their bills were paid. Lonstein has previously criticized the applicants for not doing what their permits allowed them to do.
"A patio turned into a shul," said Dawn Wright, a neighbor on Wright Lane. "There are no repercussions. They’ve built a hotel there. They don’t have permits."
Birchos Shomayim of Kasho is a business from the Jewish community of Kiryas Kasho in Westchester. They have operated a camp on Geiger Road for several years now and have generated many complaints from their neighbors. The current application seeks permission to add ten foot additions to ten existing buildings. The board has previously expressed some unease about this application.
Wright added, "We don’t believe it. It won’t just be ten feet. So, will you stop it this time?"
Mary Lou Christiana, attorney for the planning board, explained that the planning board has limited powers. Enforcement is the job of the building department and ultimately lies with the town board.
Robin Coleman, the current code enforcement officer for the Town of Wawarsing, said that she would review the permits granted to Birchos Shomayim of Kasho, and for now had no comment to make.
Dunkin’ Plan A
Thomas Kentop, surveyor and engineer with Medenbach & Eggers, presented a sketch map of the proposed changes at the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise on Route 209 on the border between the town and the Village of Ellenville.
The franchisee seeks to purchase the property next door and use part of it to provide the Dunkin’ Donuts with a drive-through facility. The drive-through would be one way, with the current entrance as the way in and a new road cut to the north as the way out.
Kentop and the planning board concentrated much of this initial discussion on the difficulties experienced by Dunkin’ Donuts supply trucks. Tractor trailers back into the site, a supreme test of a truck drivers’ skills, and one that often creates a traffic situation on Route 209. Kentop accepted that there were still some problems with the plan. If a truck making deliveries is parked on the drive-through, then cars won’t be able to get around it and actually "drive through." Kentop also agreed there was a problem there. Coleman and Christiana asked whether more driveway space could be carved out of the property that is being bought to add to the site. Then a delivery truck could park out of the way while deliveries are made.
Don Schmalzle, board member, noted that the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) has a habit of "shallowing up" road cuts and that can create problems, as it has at the Mobil gas station across Route 209 from the Dunkin’ Donuts. That road cut has made entrance difficult for large trucks. Kentop said he was waiting for comments from the DOT.
Kentop said that there had not yet been decisions made at the corporate level. Christiana suggested that they might want to limit truck sizes.
The board concluded that there was insufficient information yet about the proposal for the board to take any action yet. The proposal will not be forwarded to the county. Christiana said "We need some decisions by corporate and then this can go forward."
Napanoch Day Habilitation
The New Horizons organization, which works with people with special needs and disabilities, appeared with an application for re-use of the currently empty portion of the building at 7600 Route 209. This building is across from the Walmart and was built as part of the Walmart site construction. There was formerly a Verizon store in the part of the building that New Horizons plans to use.
The plan is for twelve individuals to be brought to the building by vans. These will be minivans. The individuals will then take part in site-based activities. The building will be in use from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Friday. No changes will be made to the exterior other than an eventual sign. An eventual application on the sign will be made. Schmalzle wondered if the applicant even needed a new site plan, since no changes are envisaged to the building. The application will be on the agenda for next month.