By Rebecca Martin
Kingston Meadows, a planned 60-unit senior citizens housing complex behind the Holiday Inn off Washington Avenue and located in a flood plain (Watch the video. One of the planning board members, who is an affordable housing developer, publicly stated that she had a parent in a senior housing project and wouldn’t want her parent situated in this project site. She was a no vote), went before the City of Kingston’s Planning Board on January 17. The proposal called for a three-story, 65,145-square-foot building comprising 58 one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units.
This is at least the third time that this project has appeared before the City of Kingston planning board. One of the benefits of doing advocacy work in Kingston for nearly 20 years is that I’ve got some institutional memory. I encourage residents to pay attention to this proposal. We don’t want our elders living in a new, profitable construction surrounded by an unintended moat. They deserve better.
This is what I recall.
In 2011, the Ulster County Planning board voiced significant concerns relating to the “public safety and the completeness of the information provided” read the three-page report at that time. Worries about “seasonal flooding, rail trail connections and site access” were raised by the Ulster County planning board’s review process. It was our understanding at that time that if there was a public subsidy request for the project, it went against the Ulster County Planning Board, the NYSDEC, and State Infrastructure Act funding, and could therefore not be approved.
Two years later in 2013, the Kingston Planning Board decided that the proposed senior citizen complex would not have significant impacts regardless of the Ulster County planning boards concerns. The project laid dormant.
Now, nearly ten years later, the proposal has emerged again and the City of Kingston planning board granted site plan approval to the project, once more overruling the Ulster County planning board’s referral that stated the project should not be approved.
The minutes to the Ulster County planning board for December and January are not yet available. But you can WATCH the Kingston Planning Board discussion from January 17, 2023.
1. Ulster County Planning Board recommendation letter from (2012): “The Ulster County Planning Board reviewed this proposal for site plan approval in January, 2011. As part of that review the Board recommended that the project be disapproved as the “UCPB has significant concerns as it relates to public safety and the completeness of the information provided to the extent that it believes the project should have a positive declaration under SEQRA.” This re-submittal answers some of the objections raised in 2011, but in the UCPB’s opinion, the project still has multiple issues that argue against its approval.”
2. City of Kingston Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) “The City of Kingston Conservation Advisory Commission has been following this proposed development project since 2012. The CAC is resubmitting comments made in 2012 and2016. This type of project, a valuable asset to our community with additional housing for the senior demographic, still presents issues with effects on Esopus Creek and flooding of the Creek.
The SEQR Negative Declaration should be reconsidered at this time.”