A proposed expansion of Garden Street Plaza, located behind Montgomery Row, was presented to Village of Rhinebeck planners July 17.
The project “calls for 2,443 square feet of additional first floor retail space in anywhere from two to four units, three additional apartments on the upper floor and a small office for the owners’ use,” according to Rhinebeck architect Warren Smith who is involved with the project. The plaza currently covers 6,165 square feet and has three apartments.
The property was purchased by Northwoods Holding Group, LLC for $1.45 million in July 2011. Maish Freedman, an owner and representative of the group, appeared before the planning board with Smith.
Among the key issues of concern is access to Garden Street and adequate parking in the plaza if new shops and apartments are added.
“It’s not just the parking, it’s that the whole logistics of that area are horrendous,” said Planning Board Chair David Miller. “One way in to a dead-end and then back out again. Twice a week, the health food store gets a delivery from a tractor trailer that blocks the parking lot.”
Smith noted that the parking lot is often full, but the cars were not just those of patrons of the shops, and residents of the existing apartments. People use the lot as general municipal parking and walk into the village to shop, eat or work, he said.
“One of [the commercial tenants] called [Freedman] not long after the last meeting of this board and said that when he had come in to open up, none of the businesses were open, yet the parking lot was full,” said Smith. “This is apparently a fairly frequent occurrence out there.”
Freedman mentioned that he has considered — and rejected — having a guard post like the one used by Rhinebeck Bank in the lot in town. He suggested that additional signage stating that parking was for on-premise businesses and residents could help.
” I don’t know if putting a sign up that you’re not supposed to park there… might reduce it by 30-40%….” Freedman added. “I’m not looking to be a sheriff and I’m not looking to throw people out. I would like to make everybody happy and make the town a better place.”
The planning board agreed there should be an independent parking and traffic study to determine the needs of the existing site and the proposed expansion, to confirm whether there was enough parking and to find any other related issues.
The applicants have also proposed significant improvement to the drainage system. They said the existing system, while it may have been adequate at one time, was not properly maintained and is full of silt. Their drainage plan has been sent to the village engineer for review.
The project will return again to the planning board for further discussion.