The Woodstock Zoning Board of Appeals, on Thursday, August 23, revoked a temporary Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) granted to Cyrus Adler, owner of the Mill Hill Properties for a catering facility that the owners of Cucina restaurant, Lois Freedman Gianni Scappin, hope to establish in the former Riseley’s red barn on the same property as the restaurant, at the intersection of Routes 212 and 375.
The Temporary C of O had been granted Adler on June 19 by Woodstock Zoning Enforcement Officer Ellen Casciaro for a 90 day period, pending completion of the planning board review process. The ZBA action arose when a neighbor of the Cucina property, Nancy Schauffler, asked for a reconsideration of Casciaro’s action regarding 105 and 109 Mill Hill Road based on the legitimacy of the temporary certificate of occupancy and the specifics of the temporary C of O and whether it was specifically for renovations.
Earlier this summer, Cucina was mentioned at a town board meeting after it held a catered event under the temporary C of O in the barn structure. Among complaints were noise, and accusations that Cucina allowed parking on property it did not own, and was asked to keep cars off of.
Last Spring, Schauffler brought a similar interpretation request before the ZBA regarding Casciaro’s granting of a building permit to Adler for the Cucina renovation, which was eventually rescinded when the ZBA found her process faulty. The board later heard an appeal from Cucina owners and agreed to let them, and Adler, start again and go before the Woodstock Planning Board for a special use permit review. That process was started on June 7, but hasn’t been followed up on since.
“They should have done what we asked for and gone through the planning board process,” ZBA Chairman Howard Harris said of his decision this week.
Cucina has estimated their renovation costs to date at around $125,000.
At the time when the ZBA agreed to let Cucina try going through the approval process for its catering hall again, via the Planning Board, an attorney for the restaurant noted how Cucina was going to be working through more formal channels and processes so no determination was needed regarding the inevitable legality of the original building permit, beyond the ZBA’s decision.
The ZBA determined, this past week, that the Temporary C of O granted Cucina, and Adler, was invalid for any uses beyond building, and hence had been misused.
Harris said this week that Adler and Cucina could file an Article 78 lawsuit in state court to have the ZBA’s decision reversed.
It remains to be determined whether they can continue with, or re-start, any of their planning permits process.
Calls to Cucina and Adler resulted in both parties stating they had no comments to make at this time.
Last Spring, Adler referred to the whole situation as being like “a dog chasing its own tail,” and “baffling” to him given that he’d thought the town would embrace his site renovation ideas.