TOWN OF WALLKILL — A proposed change to a town code would allow the planning board more discretion over proposed residential overlay district projects.
The change stems from an idea, still in the "early stages,” brought to the town by the Tru by Hilton owner to build a hotel and apartment complex across the street at its recently purchased 50 Dunning Road property, where the old Rusty Nail restaurant used to sit before it burned down in 2018, according to Supervisor Edward Diana.
“We felt overall it would be better to change the code to allow the planning board some discretion on that,” Diana said.
Diana said the developer is looking to build about 42 apartments, with one to three bedrooms, and a hotel with an unspecified number of rooms on the six-acre property.
The way the town code is currently written, each use the property has would need five acres. The change to the code would allow the planning board to consider the mixed use of the property without the currently required 10 acres, Diana said.
At an informational public hearing held by the town’s planning board Wednesday night, none of the board members had reservations about the proposed change to the code. They sent the proposal to the town board with the planning board’s recommendation.
One meeting attendee spoke out at the public hearing. Frank DenDanto, who is running as a Democrat for the town supervisor job, took issue with the change to the code as being “developer-centric.”
“The language in this law is concerning to me,” DenDanto said.
Diana said the change to the code isn’t specifically for the Rusty Nail site but would "apply town-wide."
Not all town board members agree with the proposed change to the code.
Third Ward Councilman Neil Meyer said he doesn’t think the Mechanicstown area has a need for the proposed hotel and apartment complex, and he’s concerned the combination of apartments and hotel rooms could attract crime.
“When you start tampering with a code like this, there can be a lot of unintended consequences,” Meyer said.
The town board is expected to hold a public hearing on the proposed code change at its next meeting Thursday.