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Ulster town officials bracing for Zena Homes project review







PUBLISHED: June 24, 2024 at 10:03 a.m. | UPDATED: June 24, 2024 at 6:15 p.m.


TOWN OF ULSTER, N.Y. – Officials are bracing for another packed room on July 9 when developers of the Zena Homes project are expected to seek town Planning Board approval for a housing development of up to 52 units that has faced strong opposition.


Supervisor James Quigley provided the alert Thursday during a Town Board meeting.


“The town cannot refuse to accept a Planning Board application so … Zena Development is in the process of (updating) their application,” he said. “I would say if you have an interest in that project, please be here so that you can observe the comings and goings of that meeting.”


The session comes three months after 80 people filled Ulster Town Hall for an initial presentation on the project that would be in town but have access through what is currently a private drive in Woodstock.


Zena Development LLC submitted an application to the town of Ulster on March 25 that was determined to be incomplete based on missing supporting documents and an absence of a $20,000 deposit to cover town expenses for engineering and legal fees.


Developers have touted the project for the “development of 30 new single-family residential lots” on the 106.6-acres property. However, embedded in the project narrative is a reference to how many units can ultimately fit on the site.


“For analysis purposes and to provide the most conservative analysis possible, this report assumes that 22 of the 30 new residential lots in the town of Ulster could accommodate a two-family duplex dwelling as permitted by right under the town of Ulster code,” developers wrote.


Officials have also told developers that the access road from Eastwoods Drive, a private road, in the town of Woodstock, would need to have approval from that municipality’s Planning Board, with the standards set at the same level that would be required if the roads were in the town of Ulster.


In a May 24 code enforcement determination from Woodstock, developers were told that a full site plan review is needed to have the 4,089-foot-long section of Eastwoods Drive and the 1,423-foot driveway that crosses into the town of Ulster.


The code enforcement notice advises developers that the roads must be up to the same standards that would be used if the project were entirely in Woodstock.


“The applicant’s attorney argued that site plan approval should not be required for the construction and improvement of the road because the road is not a use delineated in Woodstock Zoning Law Table of Uses,” Code Enforcement Officer Francis Hoffman wrote. “However, the language of Zoning Law…makes clear that need for site plan approval is not triggered by the nature of the use but by the fact that building permit is required.”


Hoffman added that developers downplayed the use in seeking the exemption based on a single one-family or two-family home.


“The applicant’s project includes not just the 30 new dwellings but an accessory community recreation area on a 3.14-acre lot that will include a tennis court, two pickleball courts, and a 2,400-square-foot recreation and fitness facility,” Hoffman wrote.


There will also be wetlands that need to be addressed during the Eastwoods Drive site plan review.


“The widening of Eastwoods Drive is a regulated activity that will require the applicant to obtain a town of Woodstock Zoning Law Wetland and Watercourse permit,” Hoffman wrote.


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