Story by Katie Krahulik
The Warwick Village Planning Board met on Thurs., Jun. 15 to discuss several elements of the proposed site plan on Elm St. with applicant John Christison, owner of Yesterdays, as well as his attorney John Cappello and engineer Ross Winglovitz. The issue at hand at the meeting was whether or not a traffic study ought to be conducted in preparation for the construction of a 3,600 sq. ft. restaurant.
Board member Jim Patterson felt that a traffic study be performed for that space. He said, “I think there is a tight turn coming out of there, and there is busy traffic.”
Other Board members agreed, based on the numerous comments from community members as well as parking concerns on Elm St.
“Our thoughts are, there isn’t a significant increase in the number of trips that are going to be on that road,” said Winglovitz.
He explained that the traffic peak would be in the evening and as that contrasts to other businesses in close vicinity, there would not be an overwhelming amount of traffic on Elm St.
“We just don’t think it rises to the level of acquiring a traffic study because of the timing of these trips and the capacity of Elm St. being significant versus the number of trips that are on that street right now,” said Winglovitz.
Cappello suggested other options for the sake of time and expenses. He said, “If the board is concerned, it would mean something less than going out there and doing traffic counts, but providing information…relating width, and relating to site distance, relating to the ITT and support for when we came up with that number. That’s certainly something we would not have a problem submitting and even having a discussion based upon that about when those trips would go and what the impact would be.”
Because a majority of the Board requested that the applicant conduct a traffic study and submit it to the Planning Board for review, Chairman George Aulen said, “At this point, since the Board wants to require a traffic study, I guess that’s the way it has to go. We will need some kind of traffic study.”
The requested areas of focus during the traffic study include site distance as far as parking on both sides between West and Elm Sts., the potential dangers posed at the intersection of West and Elm Sts. and the increase of flow in traffic on those streets.
The Board also said that the New York’s State Historic Preservation Office recommends that additional field investigation is needed in order to establish the presence or absence of the remains of the Lehigh and Hudson River Railway complex.
“We agree with that. That’s underway,” said Winglovitz.
The Board will not go over the Environment Assessment Form (EAF) to kick start the New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process until the applicant comes back with the traffic study information. A permit application for development and the flood hazard areas was previously filed by Christison, but the Board will not be reviewing that application until the SEQRA process is completed.