Planned Garden Street Plaza expansion shrinks a bit

The proposed expansion of Garden Street Plaza, located behind Montgomery Row, has been scaled downward, Village of Rhinebeck planners were told at a public hearing Nov. 20.

“The initial proposal that we spent some time looking at with the planning board… after some months of looking at the pros and cons, the planning board really discouraged us from continuing to pursue any extension of the north building,” said Warren Temple Smith, the architect and representative for Northwoods Holding Group, the company that bought the property in July 2011.

The plan has been revised down to a single new building abutting the one currently housing a hair salon. The original proposal called for more than 2,400 feet of retail space with three additional apartments and a small office with additions to the north building housing the health food store.

According to Smith, the new location will provide 1,035 square feet of retail space with an apartment of similar size on the second floor.

The construction plan also calls for repairs to the plaza’s parking lot.

“It will be an entirely new parking lot because of the ongoing issues with storm water management,” Smith said. “The parking lot will be dug up, a new set of infiltrator trenches will be put under the area ,and then a new parking lot will be paved over that.”

During the public comment period, the owner of Puccini, one of the restaurant tenants in the complex, expressed concerns about the impact of the new building on her outdoor seating area.

“I’d like to know how much of my garden are you taking away?” Mary Million asked. “I make money through the summer with the garden open for the people who are dining at my restaurant.”

“The area where you have people seated is not out by the gate [on Garden St.], it’s back closer to the restaurant,” Smith replied, adding that the restaurant’s seating area would not be disturbed.

Million also expressed concern about whether patrons would still be able to access the restaurant from the Garden Street side and was told that, while not as obvious as before, there would still be a path for entry.

Piper Woods, the owner and manager of Montgomery Row, had a number of questions about the lighting, landscaping and signage, but in the end seemed satisfied by the plan. “I’m excited — I think it’s going to be a great addition,” she said.

Parking issues were also raised during the public hearing, and the board reiterated that the existing lot has more than enough spaces for the businesses it serves.

“We’ve been looking at parking all through this process,” said planner John Clarke. “That’s the main reason we discouraged the double expansion. The argument is that this [facility] is in the higher range of what the codes [require them] to provide.”

The planning board was closed and the project will return at a future meeting. If approved, the owners plan to break ground in the spring.

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