New Warehouse Contested In New Windsor
By James McVey
The confusion that gripped the residents of the town of New Windsor concerning the possible construction of a 498,000 square foot warehouse center (comprised of 5 separate buildings) began before the meeting, in the parking lot. The parking lot was awash with cars turning around and flagging down neighboring vehicles just to get a glimpse of what was going on. Questions flew into the crisp evening air, such as: Where is the meeting? Why isn’t it at the Town Board? Did you hear about the last one? Is this your first town board meeting as well? The meeting slated for January 9th was announced in the Orange County Post, and through other means just a few days prior. There was a larger crowd than you would expect to find at a Town Board meeting, close to if not a hundred people were in attendance.The vast majority of which were not emitting a gruntled aura.
At 7:00pm the meeting began with Genero Argenio, Chairman of the Town Planning Board began to set things in motion. He welcomed the throng and stated that this would not be a public hearing. He then proceeded to say how they had had a public hearing back in September, there weren’t many people in attendance but that hearing gave way too many concerns and criticisms that have been taken under consideration. This meeting was for seeing what has changed and what remaining problems may be lingering with the project proposal. Concerns that may be held by the public, and especially by the residents who are neighboring the property.
There were complaints by many people in the crowd. Spoken from the heart and in a non-hostile way, these complains were shut down, silenced. The establishment of order was quickly lost as the crowd denied what was being said or contested the truthfulness of it. Statements such as, “Nobody knew, you purposely didn’t mail out letters to the affected”, “Seems sneaky to me”, and “Why have there been so many grievances over the past few months that have been given no redress?”, were heard during this peculiar phase of the meeting. The Board made a request for the police to intervene and restore order, which was quickly and effectively orchestrated by one cop with no resistance.Eventually it was settled, that the concerns will be listened to and replied to, if, they are put into written form and dropped off at the planning board during normal working hours. From both sides, Town Board and general public, there seemed to be problems that were rooted in miscommunication.
Chairman Argenio told the crowd, “Your town stands to get sued” if this meeting doesn’t proceed and this process is further delayed. A man in the crowd asked, “Don’t you mean our town?” There were more than just a handful of members at this board meeting, there was a community. Not everyone in attendance resided in New Windsor, one woman said, “I just want to make sure everything is okay with our neighbors and that nothing funny is going on.” A petition to defer this proposal has been created and signed by over 60 people, as of this writing. The biggest dispute it has with the proposal for the warehouse hinges on if the warehouse is “incidental” to the main purpose of the business. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “incidental”, as: occurring or liable to occur in fortuitous or subordinate conjunction with something else of which it forms no essential part; casual.
Questions concerning: operating hours, increased traffic, headlights, glare, and many more, all still need answers. This was not an easy meeting, and its effectiveness remains to be seen.
(Photos by James McVey)