Cucina applies to the planning board for Special Use Permit

The complex case involving Cucina Restaurant is again in the midst of the Woodstock planning process. It is currently set for a rehearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, May 24. It will then move on to the Woodstock Planning Board for a “sketch review” portion of a longer Special Use Permit review process, which has yet to be scheduled but is anticipated to occur on Thursday, June 7.

Cucina, which renovated the old Riseley Barn next to its popular eatery in Woodstock’s Gateway District after getting a go-ahead from the Woodstock Zoning Enforcement Officer Ellen Casciaro, saw its building permit negated by a ZBA ruling last month. The ZBA and Planning Board claimed that the review process had not been followed correctly for such a business in the gateway district. All this took place after a $125,000 investment in what was to be a catering hall adjunct, according to Cucina’s owners.

Howard Harris, Chairman of the Woodstock ZBA, said that Cucina came before his board last Thursday, May 10, to request a rehearing on behalf of the restaurant site’s owner, Cyrus Adler.

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“It was just a request,” Harris said, noting that the granting of rehearings “is not automatic…Cucina is also going to the planning board once they clean up everything with us.”

Planning Board Secretary Therese Fernandez said on Wednesday, May 16 that an application from Cucina “just came in…for a special use permit allowing a cultural hosting facility as an accessory use to the existing Cucina Restaurant.”

In the past, various restaurants on the Cucina site, including the famous Deanie’s, used to provide a culinary and “hosting” tie-in to the neighboring Woodstock Playhouse, which started back as an active repertory theater last summer, following extensive renovations.

Fernandez said there was always a walkway between the cultural establishment and restaurant site.

“Ellen made the referral,” she said, referring to the town Zoning Enforcement Officer, Ellen Casciaro. “This won’t be a technical site plan review, but will include many of its elements, including looks at parking and other matters. But before the planning board starts anything we have to wait for the ZBA to do its business.”++

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