Jewish community center receives zoning approval

After a site visit by members of the Village of Rhinebeck Zoning Board of Appeals, the zoning board approved an application on Sept. 20 to allow the Rhinebeck Jewish Center, a project of Chabad Dutchess, to construct a building within 15 feet of the back of its lot at 102 Montgomery St. rather than the usual 25 feet.

The shortened setback, according to the applicant, Rabbi Hecht, and his neighbors, will save a number of trees that would otherwise need to be removed for construction. Board members agreed that the location was acceptable and unique to the area since the lot is bordered to the southwest, south and east by parking lots.

Some residents of The Woods, a nearby condominium complex, attended the meeting but were unable to speak since the public hearing had already been closed. However, their concerns may be addressed by the Village of Rhinebeck planning board at future meetings.

The plan now returns to the planning board for further discussion.

Garden St. Plaza expansion faces same questions
Maish Freedman from Northwoods Holding Group returned to the Village of Rhinebeck planning board to continue discussions about a planned expansion to the Garden St. shopping plaza, which would include three apartments, a small office and retail space.

Discussion again centered on parking after the applicant submitted a traffic study that had been requested by the board at their August meeting. According to the study, the lot is completely full only during peak weekend restaurant hours in the village on Friday and Saturday evenings. The board agreed that it was likely as a result of overflow parking for the nearby restaurants and theater.

Members of the planning board have said that the location of the property, at the end of Garden St., and the lack of nearby overflow parking are serious concerns. Other significant concerns raised by the board included the planned location of a dumpster and ensuring drivers are able to turn around safely in the parking lot when it is full.

The project will return again to the planning board for further discussion.

Large barn proposed at 54 Mill Road
The Town of Rhinebeck ZBA accepted an application on Sept. 19 from Beverly Kane to build a new barn, 50 percent larger than allowed, on her farm lot adjacent to her home at 54 Mill Road. The two-story barn would be 2,304 square feet, compared to the 1,500 square feet allowed under the law, and would be 32 feet from the property line at the closest point, when 100 feet is the minimum allowed.

Kane said the location of the barn would place it on an existing farm road instead of requiring them to put it on active farmland. The farm property is 6.2 acres, and Kane said they currently produce maple syrup, raise chickens and bees and grow garlic and various vegetables.

The zoning board will research the required steps and the application will be scheduled for a future meeting.

Backlit Emery Webb sign requested
A representative from the sign company hired by Emery Webb appeared again before the Town of Rhinebeck ZBA on Sept. 19 to discuss a backlit 17.25 square foot sign to replace the existing sign on the insurance company’s property at 344-346 Old Post Road, across from CJ’s Restaurant. Any sign larger than 12 square feet would require a variance from the ZBA.

At the last meeting, the board was concerned about the backlit lighting for the sign after a representative of the sign company described it as “push-through letters and reverse channel letters” and whether it should be considered internal or external illumination. According to the representative, the letters on the sign would be raised with blue LEDs behind them to create a “halo effect.” However, with additional material submitted by the applicant and a close examination of the zoning law, the board indicated that the new design was not in violation and thus the request for a larger-than-allowed sign could be considered.

A vote on the application will be considered at the next ZBA meeting.

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