Residents gather in opposition to Modena warehouse proposal

By Ella Connors
Posted 6/5/24

Residents of Gardiner, Plattekill and surrounding neighborhoods gathered Thursday evening for their second public meeting to oppose the building of a 75-bay trucking warehouse on State Route 44/55 …

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Residents gather in opposition to Modena warehouse proposal


Residents of Gardiner, Plattekill and surrounding neighborhoods gathered Thursday evening for their second public meeting to oppose the building of a 75-bay trucking warehouse on State Route 44/55 between Routes 32 and 20.

The development is reportedly being proposed by Modena Developers, LLC and calls for the construction of a 451,000 square-foot building, a size equivalent to 7.8 football fields on 50 acres of Modena land on the Gardiner border. On January 23 of this year, the Gardiner Town Board submitted a set of comments contending the project to the Plattekill Planning Board. The property was purchased by the developers in February.

Michael Hartner, a town council member in the Town of Gardiner, emphasized that though he is not connected with the “Stop the Modena Mega Warehouse” group, he was asked to come to the meeting to share the information he knows.

“Not only is it the wrong location, it’s the wrong setting,” Hartner said. “It’s in the middle of a rural housing and agricultural area. So you’re going to have this 50 foot gigantic building that is going to stick out like a sore thumb.”

The Q&A session began the meeting at the Gardiner Town Hall, where attendees were given the opportunity to ask questions or voice concerns surrounding the warehouse and the potential adverse effects of its presence in the community. The group compiled a list of their main objections to the proposed project, including concerns about environmental issues, traffic and safety, the district’s history, infrastructure and storage. Individuals then split into five sub-committees to serve in the battle to contest the project with teams focusing on government and legal, events, fundraising, communication and research.

A spokesperson from each sub-committee then presented to the larger body of people at the conclusion of the meeting about their ideas for future advocacy and projects. Those inclined to could also sign up to be a part of the steering committee, the group overseeing the entire opposition effort.

Debra Clinton, county legislator for district 16 containing all of Gardiner and a portion of Plattekill, said she travels that road at least twice a day, enabling her to recognize the concerns of those in the local area. Kevin Roberts, who Clinton said has also signed on with concerns regarding this development, represents the other portion of Plattekill.

“There are so many things to investigate,” Clinton said. “We are still unclear on what they really want to do with this warehouse. So I think it is really important to see the community mobilize together and really raise the concerns and raise attention to it so that way we can stop the further development in an area where I don’t think it fits.”

As the meeting drew toward an end, the subcommittees presented some key ideas moving forward. The events group outlined plans to hold protests or demonstrations and table at town gatherings. The fundraising group addressed the possibilities of setting up a Go Fund Me page or going door to door, while the legal team had conversations about getting an attorney to join forces.

The communications team proposed crafting a 3D rendering of the warehouse in order to more effectively warn others about its dangers, while members of the research committee suggested delving into the specifics of potential environmental impacts, especially involving the flora and fauna present in the area.

“All we want to do is move forward, inform the public and have people understand what a project of this type, the negative implications it could mean for our community,” said Tim Hunter, who will be a member of the steering committee. “Because that goes into government decision making at all levels. And I think if the public is informed, they will put pressure on their elected representatives.”

This meeting is just part of the political tug of war that has been taking place over the course of the last many months. Members of the nearby rural neighborhoods have been vocal about their concerns for the proposed warehouse, and the project has drawn attention from local political figures as well as concerned citizens. The group’s first meeting was initially held on May 22.

Harry Wilks, who has a home in Plattekill, added that although the warehouse might bring in some jobs, they would be low paying ones that take away other jobs in the local tourism industry.

“I don’t want to live in a town that allows a giant warehouse,” Wilks said. “It would ruin the quality of life — of rural life.”