A developer has proposed building a restaurant, hotel and shops adjacent to Winston Farm.
Preliminary plans, presented to the Town of Saugerties Planning Board last week, include an 86-unit hotel, a 500-square-foot restaurant and two 2,800-square-foot free-standing shops. Engineer Richard Praetorius described the proposal at the Planning Board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, June 17. The buildings would be directly behind the Sunoco gas station and just northwest of the historic Wynkoop house.
The developer is listed as Saugerties NY Development LP; the corporation’s information filed with the attorney general does not include the names of the partners.
An earlier proposal from the same developers would have placed the restaurant in the Wynkoop House and the hotel, designed to fit in with the architectural style of the historic building, next door. That proposal has since lapsed.
The developers have an agreement with the Schaller family, Winston Farm’s owners, to buy 10 acres of the Winston Farm property for the project. However, “we don’t want to subdivide without site plan approval,” Praetorius said.
Praetorius told the board that the plan is preliminary, and that there are still details to be worked out. “I’m primarily here to see what we need to do so we can start doing it.”
Dan Shuster, the board’s planning consultant, said the proximity to the historic Wynkoop mansion means the developer would have to provide a long form environmental assessment, a more complete assessment than the shorter form generally required.
Planning Board member Ken Goldberg suggested that the developer should provide a traffic study, as “we already have heavy traffic in that area, and we can expect additional traffic with a hotel and restaurant.”
Board member Michael Tiano asked whether the project could affect the increasing number of festivals planned for Winston Farm. The development could actually benefit the festival, and the festival could benefit the complex, board member Carol Furman said, reasoning that having hotel accommodations and a restaurant nearby couldn’t hurt.
Praetorius said he had recently attended a concert at Bethel Woods, which has a highly developed infrastructure, including an amphitheater and stage. However, there are neither a restaurant nor a hotel on the grounds. On the other hand, while Winston Farm now has no permanent structures at the concert site, “there’s a lot of potential for development, including hotels and restaurants, but there is no plan now for a permanent structure for festivals.”
Among the difficulties with the plan is that the four-story hotel building is 63 feet tall, while Saugerties building codes allow a maximum height of 60 feet. “We’re working with the developer on this,” Praetorius said.
Shuster said that the complex is proposed for an area that is now heavily wooded and asked whether the developer has considered maintaining some of the screening. “Obviously the owner would like it to be visible, but we could work out a compromise,” Praetorius said.
The project is in the town’s “gateway” district, and the board would give it greater scrutiny than in other locations, board member Dan Weeks suggested. However, Praetorius said the building is 300 feet from the road, and thus less conspicuous.
Shuster asked that the board authorize him to draw up a list of the information the board would require of the developers as a first step in the review process. He also noted that copies of the plans should be forwarded to other interested agencies, such as the state Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Conservation.