Lawsuit Filed to Reverse Action on the Mid-Broadway Site

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The development of Mid-Broadway lot is pivotal to the revitalization of Newburgh. This lot was not always empty. Many stable buildings were demolished in hopes of having SUNY Orange develop the site. When that hope failed Broadway was left with a gaping hole that does little to welcome visitors to the city. Last year various plans were presented to develop the lot using a supermarket on the first floor and office and residential space above. A large parking lot had been proposed that would involve razing the last remaining building that seems to still be in decent shape.

Two citizens, Stuart Sachs and Drew Kartiganer, have filed a lawsuit against the City. A recent Mid Hudson Times article covered the story. Among the controversial issues that surround the lot, citizens are most upset that this project was not approved by the planning board. It was approved by the City Council, none of which have planning or zoning experience, which makes this case very unusual. David Church, commissioner of planning for Orange County was quoted in the article from a letter he sent the city council in May as saying, “currently and historically all special use permits are awarded by the Planning Board in the City of Newburgh.” Other reasons Sachs and Kartiganer do not approve of the lot is because of 91 poverty housing units, approximately 100 parking spaces, and the developer will only pay less than 20% of the taxes they should pay for the next 50 years.

Stuart Sachs was quoted as saying the following:

“In this particular case, the City’s decision was so egregiously poor and so obviously opposite of best practices and good planning, and specifically opposite to the City’s Master Plan and Future Land Use Plan that we felt there was no overriding public interest in reversing the direction if such a thing were possible.

“The Mid Broadway site is one of the most important and prominent development sites that will guide the future of look, stature and stability of Newburgh, and it should not be wasted on a poorly planned non-conforming project whose only benefit seems to be the hefty profits of would-be developers who invest none of their own money, and considered none of the needs of the community, and saddle the City’s taxpayers with a hefty tax bill to subsidize forever as they ease off with millions in tow.”

Last February we posted a story regarding developers persistence for the supermarket. Many strong opinions were voiced in opposition to the supermarket while others thought it might be a good idea but questioned the type of supermarket that might be developed. One thing that is for certain is that Broadway is the gateway of Newburgh. Whatever is done with the lot will set a precedent for the rest of the development of the area.

For those of you interested in attended meetings that will discuss the Mid-Broadway Lot there will be a zoning board of appeals meeting on March 25 @7:30pm at 401 Washington Street.

24 Comment

  • With O.C.C.C. now taken ownership of three large properties, this issue may turn in favor of SUNY Orange… as planned all along. In either case, how to deal with the added traffic issue………?

  • A supermarket on Broadway? How awful!

  • What are the alternate proposals? Senior citizens home and center, adult community , artist studios etc all should be explored.

  • How about some high end stores? Let’s start attracting some money to the city?

  • Does Newburgh need new housing ?

  • That lot epitomizes the corruption, incompetence and disastrous pettiness of our city’s government. First of all that lot should not exist in the first place. Several of the buildings that were razed- and the one still standing- were occupied and in better condition than many buildings in our Historic District. At least one building was not owned by the developer when it was razed yet curiously both the listed owner and the bank that mortgaged it didn’t file charges. Also the city failed to do their due diligence in confirming ownership before approving the destruction. There’s much more. You can see my full recollection of that farce in my LTE in the Times Herald Record in 2002.

    There have been many great planning ideas for lower Broadway over the years and they’re all sitting on the shelves in our archives at City Hall gathering dust. One of the best was proposed in Andres Duany’s interactive charrette that took place in 2003. The idea was to develop public squares on Broadway. This empty lot creates the perfect opportunity to initiate that proposal. There are many others. We need to revisit all of them. These plans have cost our city millions of dollars. They were developed by experts with public input. We need to consider this investment seriously and stop entertaining stupidity- and acting as if we need to reinvent the wheel.

    Kudos to Mr. Sachs and Mr. Kartiganer for initiating and funding this action. In my opinion, this is one of the most important moves in taking power away from the clowns who fill City Hall, from our elected officials to our incompetent well-paid employees. They have rarely ever taken positive steps to develop our assets yet have been fast to support destructive development.

  • Whole Foods or Trader Joes PLEASE!!!!

  • There is a farmers market across the street perhaps the space could remain green and be turned into a local farm. I have had luck growing jalapeno peppers in Newburgh’s soil. So things can grow in Newburgh’s dirt. There is a sizeable Spanish population in Newburgh and many restaurants that have dishes that could use jalapenos. I’m sure there is other things that could grow also but why not some type of collective farm.

  • The Mid Broadway project was INITIALLY presented by the developers, Mill Street Partners, as mixed income/mixed use, one that would NOT require a PILOT (i.e. major tax incentives). That proposal was altered over time into one of smaller apartments confined to limited income residents and a supermarket in a small commercial space. Three larger sized grocery stores (Broadway Farm, Gerasci’s, and Paulita’s) already exist on or near Broadway. Already renovated commercial spaces up and down our main boulevard have yet to be rented.

    Why was the city council (it was the prior administration) willing to give over this valuable piece of real estate, on our MOST IMPORTANT commercial street, to low income housing?. The council even entered into a Memorandum of Understanding and moved to adopt a special zoning permit to accommodate the Mill St. Partners’ proposal.

    This project is dependent almost entirely on major state subsidies. It was also made a priority consideration for our own CITY CDBG funds, and CITY tax concessions that will create a greater burden on our already underfunded municipal services and our citizens. The Mid Broadway proposal has always been at odds with Newburgh’s own Sustainable Master Plan.

    The short-sighted conclusion that ANY project on the Mid Broadway lot would be “better than nothing,” would commit us for the long term to a development that does not demonstrate NET PUBLIC BENEFIT, the hallmark of excellent city planning.

    There are more than enough vacant properties in Newburgh. And certainly safer, less congested, areas to add residential housing. STOP.THINK. And use the well crafted ideas that have already been proposed numerous times.

    • Was it not the same members of the current administration with the addition of former councilman Curly Dillard , now the newly elected legislator who ran against Drew Kartiganer, and with the exception of the four members of the newly formed wards ? Has Mr. Dillard gone MIA while his home city is at a cross roads ?

  • What about whatever the city builds, they make it net zero…or better still, it returns power to the city. like that town in freiburg, germany… i have this perhaps initially contentious suggestion that i would like to make to council when i move there next week ( but seriously i will if given half a chance lol) – about how wouldn’t it be great if Newburgh became the model city of sustainability on the hudson…think about it, its another great way to put newburgh back on people’s radar and in the news in a positive way..And, wasn’t Newburgh the first city to get electricity? so cool if it was also the first to not need it! aesthetically i also love the idea of having stylish high-tech construction ( not like the SUny buildings!) worked in amongst all our wonderful historic buildings, like the pyramid outside the louvre..personally speaking, this appeals to me more than creating fake old buildings.

  • Enormous thanks to Cher Vick/Newburgh Restoration, Drew Kartiganer, Stuart Sachs and the well-informed commentators, below. Without you, many of us newbie Newburghers (in my case, six years of residency) would have no idea what is really going on in the City. Your commitment to Newburgh is a powerful reason to stay here and to become actively involved in changing the dynamics of The City–starting with the the zoning board appeals meeting TONIGHT, MARCH 25, AT 7:30 at 401 WASHINGTON ST.

  • Off topic, but along the same vein of staying informed; if one hasn’t already attended the school district budget workshop:
    There’s an elephant in the room that people are walking around to get to the latest revitalization effort…

  • Will it bring jobs for the people of newburgh from the ground breaking to the opening of the market. Or will it be the usual outside contractors bringing in outside workers shutting out the people who need jobs in the community?


  • What the hell they already ruined Newburgh when they tore down water street

  • Not a good plan. What about opening a small market that serves the community in the old Moo & Oink on Liberty? What happens if the housing units above the supermarket do not sell at market price? Then who rents them and how do they add to the tax base of our city?

    • The economics of supermarkets are all the same. They operate on razor thin margins and their profits come largely from cash payments from food manufacturers in the form of marketing and advertising allowances, or invoice deductions or special payment terms. The food manufacturers buy real estate in the store aisles with cash payments or through giving out “specials” on their products. No wonder, the priority of the food business and big food is shareholder value, not whether YOUR food is clean, safe, or nutritious for you and your family.This dynamic makes any supermarket chain store that comes into your community unlikely to be a provider of food items that are the best. local. seasonal, organic foods. Even natural food stores have this business plan–though some are better than others. If you are going to give away taxes in exchange for economic development, a better way would be to do so with a development for the use of an assortment of small store specialty retailers such as a butcher, a baker, and yes, (in Sugarloaf they have one) a candlestick maker. An old fashioned City Square of outfacing small specialty retailers such a Commodore Chocolates tyoe–owner operator with a strong quality focus on their brand of food–whether organic produce or savory pies or coffee roasting, or even a grass fed burger joint, would benefit the overall traditional style of City of Newburgh–I remember Larimer Square in Denver was this type of development–Alexandria, Va has this type of downtown.One which is attractive to the area for people to come to experience the specialness of City of Newburgh rather than dumb it down to a shabby version of its former glory. The food business itself has developed into CSA’s and Seasonal Indoor and Outdoor Markets. I would be happier to see the City of Newburgh not take a step back in time. Besides, there are already several small markets on Broadway already who would be impacted negatively by the arrival of a supermarket type business likely to stock similar items they already sell.

      • Absolutely. There is the NewburghFoodCo growing strong and offering thousands of food items (see today’s article in this blog!), there is the Newburgh CSA (community supported agriculture), that brings organic produce into Newburgh at reduced cost and right from the farm, and there are a smattering of Farmer’s Markets throughout the city. Quite a few community gardens, too! Many healthy food choices, and, at considerable savings.

        I have to agree with Noel, an Associated supermarket on Broadway is so….1999.

  • The ‘supermarket’ was pimped to the low income community, and readily accepted it seems by the latter, as a low cost alternative to the community based small markets you refer to. Apparently, cab fare makes patronizing the half dozen or so existing food retailers cost prohibitive. If it wasn’t for ‘consumer subsidies’, JP Morgan was making billions in the administration of them, many corporate low costs retailers would fold despite the allowances. I’m fortunate that I can to limit my consumption of GMOs, pesticides, fallout etc.; others are not. A critical perspective makes one suspect of the link between gubberment and ‘big food’ to the effect on the end consumer. More reason to consider participating in the Food Co-Op.

  • A very informative subject and this case highlights the many issues that Newburgh must overcome – sustainable development; increasing the tax base; and improving standard of living of those who are courageous enough to “put-their-money-where-their-mouth-is,” as investors and residents of Newburgh – enduring all the negative as well as positive aspects of being part of this community. Furthermore I strongly believe that the renter population should not be marginalized, but should be included in the evolution of Newburgh.

    I love NJP Thompson’s point about attracting high-quality, owner-operated specialty stores along Broadway to serve the current population as well as give outsiders more of a reason (beyond the corny waterfront) to come to (not THRU) the City.

    I don’t know too much about these things but it seems the City is not viable for medium-big businesses. Wasn’t Muddy Cup Coffee House supposed to open on Liberty Street a few years back? They bailed. The only hope it seems is small, owner-operated places. Commodore Chocolates is amazing, I should really go there more often. And it attracts people from outside Newburgh – I’m sure they would visit other high-quality establishments while they were here.

    The whole cab-fare issue that Walt brings up is also a HUGE issue to deal with. This is an urban area with horrendous public/alternative transportation. Broadway needs to be more walkable, with effective intersections, a green median, bike lanes, and so forth. Driving a cab all over town at five bucks a pop, creating so much traffic and pollution is not kosher.

    Ahh…so many issues and problems. We should just open another church and beauty salon on the mid-broadway site and be done with it!!!

  • The City is working, loosely termed, to develop a “Broadway Corridor” in co-operation with outside entities. Agree, ‘heard that before. Our interim City Manager’s expertise in planning is being misallocated in fulfilling the obligations of his current role. The City needs a Manager of ongoing day to day operations and a Planner with foresight that possesses the ability to articulate the that vision well, Mr. Slaughter may indeed be that latter person. Unfortunately, the residents may never find out as the City is living hand to mouth and cannot afford both positions on its pay roll or so it seems. It may indeed be affordable considering the dollars currently being expensed for outside consultants.
    Aside, I hear you Eddie, dust off the trolley cars and I’ll hop off at Commodore’s.