Kingston planning board asks for pedestrian access, outreach from housing project developers – The Daily Freeman

KINGSTON, N.Y. — The developers of the proposed workforce and senior housing project planned at the site of the old Ulster County Jail have been asked to consider adding pedestrian access to the site and to begin public outreach efforts.

City Planner Suzanne Cahill told the developers during a Planning Board meeting on Monday that Kingston is looking at pedestrian connectivity issues. She said the site of the proposed development on Golden Hill Drive is surrounded by a nursing and rehabilitation home, medical offices, and other facilities. The Empire State Trail also runs nearby, Cahill said.

“I think that creating pedestrian connections to those sites would be appropriate, as well as bringing a sidewalk up to this project site,” Cahill said.

Cahill also told the developers they should begin public outreach efforts, such as working with the Kingston City School District to determine how the project would affect the school system. She said the developers should also reach out to the city water department for feedback.

Additionally, City Engineer John Schultheis will review a traffic analysis submitted by the project developers, Cahill said. She said, though, Schultheis wants to hire an independent outside traffic expert to assist him with a review of the analysis.

“Traffic is one of the hot-button issues with this project,” Cahill said. She said she expected the Planning Board to receive a lot of public comments about the traffic impacts.

At Cahill’s request, the Planning Board adopted a resolution requiring the developers to place $7,500 into an escrow account to pay for the city’s independent traffic analysis. The board also adopted a separate resolution declaring itself the lead agency in the environmental review of the project.

The workforce and senior housing project is being developed by Pennrose, a Pennsylvania-based company that was selected by Ulster County to redevelop the former jail site.

Wil D’Avella, the project manager for Pennrose, previously said the project is aimed at creating an intergenerational and mixed-income community with a wide range of affordability and housing for special needs populations. He said the proposal is to create 160 units of housing and a community building. The housing would be located in six buildings, with one that would include 80 units of senior housing, D’Avella said. He said there is also family housing proposed in townhouses and a “family building.”

Cahill said the city planning staff have already started putting together comments about the proposed project for members of the Planning Board to consider. She said, though, it was too early in the review process to schedule a public hearing on the project. Cahill said it would be better to hold off for another month while the project site plans are further developed.

In August 2020, the county Legislature voted to declare the former jail site off of Golden Hill Drive in Kingston surplus property and transferred ownership to the Ulster County Housing Development Corp. for sale to a private developer. In November 2020, the Housing Development Corp. picked Pennrose from a field of five applicants to develop the workforce and senior housing project.

Pennrose has said it expects the project to be ready for occupancy in 2024.