The Clarkstown Planning Board met with Simon Property Group, Inc. Wednesday night to discuss the transformation of the Nanuet Mall into ‘The Shops at Nanuet’
After amending and approving the preliminary plans at Wednesday's meeting, the plans and maps will be updated by Simon before being sent over to County, who has 30 days to respond. After County replies, the plans go back to Clarkstown Planning who will review the county's comments before scheduling a public hearing.
Representatives that spoke about The Shops at Nanuet:
- Chuck Schneider, senior civil engineer for Simon
- Ira Emanuel of the Law Office of Ira M. Emanuel, P.C. in New City
- Sam Fattah, vice president of project management for Simon
Clarkstown Consultants at the meeting who are working on the plans with Simon are:
- Jose C. Simoes- Town Planner
- James Creighton - Assistant Town Planner
- Charles Maneri - Clarkstown Building Plans Examiner
- Dennis Letson, Clarkstown - Deputy Director of Environmental Control
- Daniel Kraushaar – Deputy Town Attorney
Simon plans to change the Nanuet Mall into The Shops at Nanuet, an open air Main Street concept. “We’re trying to replicate a downtown experience … in a contained space,” said Tom Schneider, executive vice president of development for Simon.
At the Jan. 18 meeting, Simon requested the planning board to override several comments made by the county planning department.
At last night’s meeting, six overrides were granted by the board. Here are the major overrides that were discussed:
One of the comments the Clarkstown Planning Board was asked to override was the comment regarding traffic concerns dealing with diagonal parking along the ‘Main Street’ of the Shops at Nanuet.
“One of the things I was told that Simon Property would insert was Mr. Schneider’s experience with Main Street,” said Shirley J. Thormann, chairperson of the Planning Board, adding that there would also be statistics provided by Simon.
Emanuel said that the traffic studies and incident reports were provided of shopping centers with similar layouts.
“Most of them(accident reports), not all of them did not occur in the diagonal parking,” said Emanuel. “Most of them occur in the parking fields (around the shops).”
Emanuel said he would provide a written statement from Simon addressing this concern upon the board’s request.
“With regard to the (bus shelter) canopy, we pulled it from the original override because we were uncomfortable with it,” said Mara Blumenthal, Planning Board Member.
“It was to be determined later,” said Thormann
“It’s my understanding that the board had not come to a conclusion with respect to the continuous canopy,” said Emanuel. “There was a discussion about moving the bus shelter so that they were not spread out over the entire length of the center aisle so that they would be skewed a little more toward the building.”
Emanual asked for an override so the planning process could continue and not be held up while Simon representatives further spoke to public transportation officials on how best to deal with the bus shelters.
“If you don’t act on it, it becomes a condition, but if you override it, it will probably be something that can be revisited prior to final approval,” said Simoes.
The Board agreed to override this issue with the right to revisit it later.
“The back-up generator should be provided for the proposed grocery store,” said Thomas A. Trevor, planning board member. “How I read that was that the developer (Simon) had to provide the generator.”
“The county said they have to have a generator. The override that we talked about that night was that we were going to have on the site plan where a generator would go,” said Gilbert J. Heim, Jr., planning board member. The override would also determine if the tenant had buy a generator.
“It’s really up to the tenant to pay for (a generator),” said Trevor.
“When the county made that (comment), I think they made it based on the safety of food,” said Thormann.
“But whether or not they (the tenant or grocery store) put it in is up to them,” said Peter E. Streitman, planning board member.
Mary Jane O'Connor asked if the Department of Health could tell the tenant to put it in to which the answer was ‘no.’ Another member asked if the tenant’s insurance carrier could enforce it.
“A business could decide to forgo the expense of a generator and take a chance of losing that merchandise (from a power outage),” said Streitman.
In the end, the override was accepted that the tenant had the choice of having a generator and that Simon would include space on the site plan for a possible generator.
“The tenant approval goes before the building department and they do not require a generator,” said Trevor.
The number of trees required by law is to be set by the town board,” said Emanuel.
“There needs to be a statement to include whatever the cost of the tree is at that time,” said Thormann.
Simoes began the meeting with several received memos:
- An updated memo from the fire inspector who changed his prior comment to say that the 24-foot aisle width is acceptable and that mulch may be used in the parking lot, regarding his prior comment that only non-combustible items could up against the building.
- A memo from Fire district on which traffic light signals opticom signals would be placed. He specified that three on Route 59 needed to be added and the two existing ones on Middletown Road need to be updated. The ones on Middletown Road are two- or three-way directional. He’s looking for them to be upgraded so that they would be four-way directional.
- Peter Beary, A memo from the building inspector on the timing of the subdivision with the site plan approval.
“We have that discussion whether you can handle the site plan before the subdivision,” said Thormann. “I think we need an explanation of a unified major retail shopping center.”
“There is no definition of a unified major retail shopping center (in the code),” said Maneri. “It means you look at the site as a unified site … that you might have multiple lots, but it’s all considered one property when you look at MRS zoning.”
“It actually only applies two sites: Palisades Center and this one,” said Rudolph J.Yacyshyn, Planning Board Vice Chairman.
Maneri said that those are the only two sites that are considered a “unified major retail shopping center” because of the acreage of the property. Thormann added that the definition needed to be updated.
To read more details about the plans for the Shops at Nanuet, check out this four-part series from October 2011:
Check back with Patch for more follow-up articles on last night's meeting