Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Case Study: Newburgh ZBA vs. Kaplan

Last week, the Zoning Board met. There was a quorum, so they proceeded to hear cases.
To the table steps the biggest philanthropist and developer in Newburgh, Mr. Bill Kaplan. If there were ever a more solid citizen of Newburgh, Mr Kaplan is the poster boy. He has donated millions to St. Lukes Cornwall, Mount St Mary, SUNY Orange and other civic organizations.
It was reported to me, that Mr. Kaplan came to the ZBA to ask for a variance for 160 parking spaces on his property. That parking was to accommodate the condominiums proposed to be built on his property around the Regal Bag Building. I understand that he will eventually turn that building into apartments.
I have no doubt that Mr. Kaplan made an excellent presentation. But the ZBA could not find it possible to approve this project because they did not have all the members present. So Mr. Kaplan will have to wait until next month to move forward with the project.
By the way, the property is now assessed to pay $160,000 in taxes. After improvements, the city will be compensated with nearly 2.5 million a year in taxes.
Now, I am suggesting that anyone should a get carte blanche treatment at a municipal board. But we should recognize and honor the local individuals who have a history of stellar work and propriety.
I hope project is approved next month without any fanfare and grand standing.