TOWN OF KINGSTON, N.Y. — A hot asphalt mix plant proposed on the municipal line with the town of Ulster on state Route 28 has Supervisor James Quigley and small business owners wondering if Kingston town officials are turning the so-called “Gateway to the Catskills” into an industrial complex.
Under an application discussed Monday during a Kingston town Planning Board hearing, Route 28 Materials is seeking to construct a facility on 17.8 acres of an 85.1-acre property at 530 Route 28
Route 28 Materials owners said the location in the town’s MU-1 District will be significant to the corridor that the state Department of Environmental Conservation has touted as the beginning of a scenic highway.
“Its purpose is to provide for a wide variety of highway-oriented commercial uses consistent with its function as a regional gateway to the Catskill Park,” they wrote.
Quigley said allowing an asphalt plant, combined with the storage of skyscraper latticework by U.S. Crane at nearby 850 Route 28 is counter to what is intended for the popular tourist route.
“Let’s tell everybody they’re entering a state park and immediately what they’re going to see is a stretch of industrial uses,” he said.
Other concerns about the application came from the owners of Wiedy’s Furniture, which has its showroom adjacent to the 530 Route 28 site. Managing partner Sharlene Martin said complaints about existing quarry activity on the property have not been taken seriously because her family’s business is immediately outside of the Kingston town line. She added that she doesn’t expect cooperation to be any better regarding concerns about an asphalt manufacturing plant.
“There has never been a notification when they blast,” she said. “They use our property for their trucks … (and) they don’t notify us, and they are causing some significant damage to our building. I can’t even imagine with the proximity to our building, (where) we sell furniture, what this odor, this smell, and this residue would do to our business.”
Route 28 Car Wash owner Dan Ortlieb was equally concerned that odor and residue from the proposed asphalt plant would be a problem for customers who would be outside trying to clean their vehicles.
In the application, Route 28 Materials state that the operations will have “diesel exhaust” and “particulate” from operations of an “open-air” process.
Developers also contend the project, which will be adjacent to the Bluestone Wild Forest Preserve, won’t have an effect on hunting, trapping or fishing allowed on the recreational property because the asphalt plant would be a “continuation of commercial/industrial operations.”
Other concerns about an asphalt plant involved an unknown amount of truck traffic that comes in to deliver material for processing as well as the potential for different vehicles that arrive for the purchase of finished material. A traffic study was not included with the documents available online, with Quigley concerned that Planning Board members did not discuss those effects.
Quigley has frequently stated that supervisors should not comment on projects in neighboring municipalities but added that the dismissive attitude from Kingston town officials toward concerns of Ulster town residents and business owners has left him angry. He said that when asked by a Kingston Town Board member why he had not previously commented on the U.S. Crane use of 850 Route 28 it seemed like an invitation to join that discussion as well.
“They made a specific point of asking me why I’m concerned about this project and not 850,” he said. “I looked at and said, ‘You want me to raise my voice about 850?’. … Here they are impacting citizens who are directly on the border and my constituents don’t feel like they are being properly represented by the elected officials over there.”