After a Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL) request was submitted by the Southern Ulster Times, the minutes of a September 26, 2019 meeting were released by the Town of Lloyd. This meeting was held at 2 p.m. at the Lloyd Town Hall on the proposed Views development project.
The developer has proposed two, 3 story buildings containing a total of 14,000 sq/ft of retail space, 3,000 sq/ft of office space and 44 residential apartments on a 3.6 acre parcel in the Highway Business District. The project is near the heavily trafficked intersections of Route 9W, Chapel Hill and South Chapel Hill Roads.
The September meeting was attended by Building Department Director Dave Barton, town engineer Andrew Learn, (then) Planning Board Chairman Fred Pizzuto, Edward Pine from the Ulster County Department of Public Works, Dennis Doyle Head of the Ulster County Planning Department, Brian Slack from the Ulster County Transportation Council, three members of the NYS Department of Transportation headed by Mary McCullough and consultants and engineers for the project led by Andrew Villari. The main focus of the meeting was on traffic issues surrounding the project.
Villari, of Stonefield Engineering & Design, is on record before the Lloyd Planning Board stating on December 5, 2019 that traffic generated by this project would be “insignificant and minor” when compared to the numerous other development projects that have been proposed in the southern side of town. He also stated that he came away from that September meeting feeling that the project was possible but a new conceptual traffic design plan would need to be done. He presented a new design at that December Planning Board meeting that calls for turning the existing one-way southbound South Chapel Hill Road between Chapel Hill Road and Mayer Drive into a two-way road. The design would use ‘neckdown’ and ‘horizontal deflection’ means to slow traffic on this short spur.
In December, neighbors in and around this proposed project were critical of the development, stating that it infringed upon their neighborhood and impacted their quality of life, it negatively affected their home values, would cause light and noise pollution and the developer is trying to make it work by suggesting the two-way road. Ultimately, the neighbors said traffic in and around this entire area and right up to and from the Mid Hudson Bridge would become a “nightmare”, not only from this one project but from the cumulative impact of all of the proposed developments in this area of town.
Highland Fire Chief Peter Miller weighed in with a written two-page report addressed to the Planning Board, dated December 5, 2019. He began by reminding the board that in the last five years there have been 57 vehicle accidents in the immediate area of Route 9W and Chapel Hill Road.
Miller pointed out that a number of motorists will be unable to judge the speed of oncoming cars coming to the S. Chapel Hill Road and Mayer Drive intersection because of the curvature and grade change of Route 9W into S. Chapel Hill Road.
“Placing ramp speed signs on the exit from Route 9W south will have little to no effect on the speed of approaching vehicles to the Mayer Drive intersection, even with the curbing changes and striping on the roadway,” Miller wrote.
Miller also noted that large vehicles traveling west on Chapel Hill Road that attempt to turn right into a new north direction portion of South Chapel Hill Road would likely cause significant traffic backups, “in almost all directions during high traffic volume times if a vehicle cannot make this turn.”
Miller also pointed out that this new plan is not a solution for delivery trucks getting onto the site.
“Unless truck traffic is restricted to only entering the site from Route 9W north, either into the Route 9W entrance to the site or by way of Mayer Drive, truck traffic will resort to using S. Gate Road and Mayer Drive through the neighborhood to enter the site,” he wrote.
Miller stated that this new proposed traffic plan, “makes a bad traffic situation worse and possibly places the public at more of a risk. Although we are not certified traffic experts, many years of experience on the highways and at accident scenes suggest this traffic plan is, at best, a marginal attempt to gain approval for the project in its entirety.”
Miller has other concerns about the traffic plan, “such as the access angle of the driveway approach off of Route 9W to the site and adequate space and turning radius for fire apparatus to safely enter and position on the site at an incident.”
On January 15, the Town Board approved a six-month moratorium on large scale development projects, which includes the Views proposal. The Southern Ulster Times obtained a copy of a FOIL request that was immediately filed by Alec Gladd, attorney for the Views project, seeking copies of, “any and all Comprehensive Planning Committee agendas, minutes, reports, proposed amendments to the zoning code or comprehensive plan, correspondence of the Committee and its members, including, but not limited to emails and any and all other documents/materials relating to the Comprehensive Planning Committee from June 2019 to the present.”