The potential for a multi-building major development in the heart of the hamlet of Wallkill has been a dream for local builders for more than a decade, and the Gardiner-based Professional Commercial Group is the latest company to take a crack at bringing the project to fruition. Developer Keith Liebolt appeared before the Shawangunk Planning Board during its July 5 meeting to go over his firm’s latest proposal for the site on Park Avenue, a plan which includes four buildings that would contain 38 residential units and four commercial spaces located behind the Shawangunk Town Hall.
The proposed development, which was first envisioned by Stewart Crowell and was subsequently pursued by his wife Carolyn after Crowell passed away in 2014, is still in the design phase. It would have to clear multiple hurdles before anything is built. “It’s all still pending,” Planning Board Chairman Mark Watkins said. “There’s nothing. Basically what we’re doing is looking at designs of buildings and trying to figure how it fits in the hamlet. We’re trying to figure out how many buildings it would be and if the buildings they’ve proposed are to zoning. So we’re just still in the work stage.”
Under the current proposal, there would be one three-story residential building included in the development that would be comparable in height to the town hall. Watkins told the developers during Wednesday’s meeting that he would prefer that the proposed three-story structure be sliced down to two floors, which could make it more palatable to the residents of the hamlet. “But I’m only one vote,” Watkins noted. The project would also include townhouses and storage units.
The board explained to Liebolt during the session that they’d like to see the complex be more compact, and the developer was open to shifting the buildings around on the proposed map to fit the council’s wishes. Liebolt also asked the members to send his team photographs of the type of exterior designs that would blend well in the hamlet. Watkins explained that the board would come to a consensus and get back to the developers about what kinds of designs and construction materials the group would be comfortable with.
For the commercial portion of the project, Liebolt noted that the firm would like to attract a bank, laundromat/dry cleaner and a coffee shop to the proposed complex. The latter establishment could possibly feature a drive-through window if the development is ever realized. “They’re proposing a coffee shop there, but that’s still up in the air,” Watkins said. “Like a Dunkin’ Donuts or something like that possibly.” While the company has received a letter from Carolyn Crowell allowing the developers to represent the project in front of the town, the board asked the Professional Commercial Group to obtain a signed letter from Crowell withdrawing the family’s original application for the project before the company’s new application could move further along.
Earlier in last week’s meeting, the board unanimously granted conditional final approval to Leonette Property Management for a proposed five-lot subdivision on 98.9 acres off Grandview Terrace. The developers had previously appeared before the Town Board to obtain approval for a drainage district. The Planning Board also granted an extension until the group’s Oct. 3 meeting to Joseph Knoth for the conditional final approval of a 24-lot sectioned partial cluster subdivision that would be situated on 61.3 acres on River Road.
By Ted Remsnyder