Boss Hokanson’s Crossroads endeavor hits a roadblock

Short or convenient memories will not recall that the Crossroads project was enthusiastically embraced by town supervisor Boss Hokanson. One might expect that said enthusiasm is now out the back door and down the memory hole as culture conscious New Paltzers rise up to resist the poorly conceived and badly placed project.

At last night’s village board meeting, where the issue came up at the urging of local groups asking the village government to weigh in, trustee and deputy mayor Michael Zierler focused in detail on the project’s environmental statement and found it superficial and evasive.

The developer has asked for what is essentially a spot zoning variance disguised as a “planned unit development” designation, an approach encouraged by Boss Hokanson. The site, which adjoins the New York State Thruway toll plaza, is actually zoned for light industry, which is precisely what that area is suited for.

What’s being proposed is a 250-unit apartment complex, with an attending large commercial center to service it, that appears to be targeted at the exurb housing market in the Big City. But who knows what it would eventually turn itself into. It has bad written all over it. Sandwiched in between the Thruway plaza and the Ohioville intersection it’s the sort of thing appropriate to Route 17 in the Paramus, NJ area.

I’d rather see a stinking fish cannery at that site, or a soot-belching brakeshoe plant. They would do less harm and offer jobs. But those sorts of industrial gems are hard to come by, these days. Maybe, though, a warehouse complex and shipping center would fill the bill, something that would take advantage of the immediate Thruway access and the trucking industry but would not produce umpteen thousands of gallons of sewage a day or create an instant new exurban village overnight.

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