An 86-unit hotel, as well as two other commercial buildings, are being proposed for a site near the historic Wynkoop House and behind a Sunoco gas station on Rt. 32.
The developers will buy some 10 acres from Winston Farm’s owners for the project, said engineer Richard Praetorius.
The project appears to be a scaled down version of an earlier plan that included renovation of the historic Wynkoop House as a restaurant along with the hotel and two buildings that could house businesses near the proposed hotel.
As presented to the board, its constituent parts seem to be designed more to secure approval for a range of possibilities than to present a vision for a final design.
“It’s one of those speculative endeavors, and they will market the site to several different commercial uses, to anything permitted in the zone,” Praetorius said.
While a hotel would be part of any project, the other buildings could be put to any number of uses. Praetorius said they were being listed as restaurants for the time being because restaurants have the greatest impact, and approval for them would mean approval for any use. He invited the board to specify details as to what they would want the buildings to look like, but said that at this point, detailed architectural renderings of the buildings “is an exercise that would not accomplish anything.”
The developers, listed as Saugerties, NY Limited Partnership, are working with the town and the village for provision of water and sewage services, Praetorius said. “We’re pretty sure that that is going to go through; however, if it does not, we have a plan for sewage treatment on site and discharge to the Beaver Kill.” However, “the public sewer is the best option for us.”
The village will provide water to the facility as an outside user, Praetorius said. “We’re not drilling wells, or that kind of thing.”
Praetorius has submitted a photo simulation of the site with a Holiday Inn Express on it. A traffic study has also been submitted.
While planning consultant Dan Shuster had suggested connecting to Augusta Savage Road, Praetorius said the combination of a large drainage easement owned by the state Department of Transportation and the fact that the Schaller family owns the property for access and does not want to see it developed means this would not be workable. He promised to submit the engineers’ reasoning to the board.
Planning Board member Carole Furman suggested that it may make sense to come back for site plan review of the two other buildings. However, Praetorius pointed out that the plan could not be segmented because it is subject to a review under the State Environmental Quality Review, which does not allow segmentation of the project. And, he said, without the approval of the two smaller buildings, it would be more difficult to market them.
Planning Board member Dan Weeks said Holiday Inn Express “has a cookie-cutter architecture and they want it to be very visible, and because it’s so visible, I have a hard time.”
The proposed hotel is within the town’s gateway district, and questions of appearance are appropriate, Shuster said.
The condition of Old Route 32, which now belongs to the town, is poor, Praetorius said. The developers are discussing an upgrade with the town Highway Department to improve it, with the developers providing the materials at the state bid price and the town supplying the labor.
Furman said the town has been looking at more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly roads in its future development. She asked whether the plans could include walking and bicycling possibilities.
“The answer is yes, where it makes sense,” Praetorius said. “We had pedestrian access when we did the festival, and there’s a bridge.”
As far as additional walking or bicycling paths, “you get the Army Corps of Engineers and the DEC to give us a permit to fill in the wetlands to make a pedestrian access across there, Carole, I’ll give it to you.”
The meeting was the beginning of a long process. Because of its proximity to the historic house, the plan would have to go through a vetting process under the SEQR rules, and there is yet a substantial amount of information still needed.
Following the meeting, Praetorius said there is a need for hotel space in Saugerties, especially during the HITS season and during music festivals at Winston Farm.