Plans to build a 799-car parking garage, 200 residential apartments and 22,000 square feet of commercial space at the site of the proposed Orange Train Station got the go ahead from the Town’s Plan & Zoning Commission (TPZC) last week. The project, submitted by Ed Crowley on behalf of the Orange Land Development LLC, will be constructed on 8.091 acres located beyond the eastern end of Salemme Lane in the town’s Transit Oriented District (TOD). Crowley said he and his development team worked for nearly a year to submit a proposal that adhered to all the TOD regulations outlined by the town. “The TPZC had the foresight to begin zoning a TOD in 2009” he said. “The application was a complicated issue from a zoning perspective and we firmly believe they got it right. Now it becomes a reality.”
Not quite, says TPZ commissioner Ozzie Parente who points out that while the applicant has all the approvals he needs from the town to move forward, the project is contingent on the state’s Department of Transportation building a Metro North Train Station at the site. “If there’s no train station, there’s no project,” Parente said. Yet TPZC members and Crowley are optimistic as the plan is indeed chugging along at the state level. According to DOT Commissioner James Redeker, the Orange Train Station project is on schedule. “We are currently involved with the environmental component of the plan and will be selecting a platform designer,” Redeker said.
Once the platform is constructed, construction can begin on the 186,000 square foot parking garage. “The platform becomes the catalyst for the rest of the project,” Crowley said. He envisions commercial development on the site, located on either side of Salemme Lane, which may include a coffee shop, deli, dry cleaners and/or other businesses that cater to commuters. One and two-bedroom apartments will be built above the commercial space. After construction, a portion of the parking garage will become a state-owned facility. In keeping with the TOD, walkways will connect adjoining properties to minimize traffic flow.
By Laura Fantarella – Orange Town News Correspondent