A Friends of Lynch’s Marina has been formed, and it has received similar criticism from village trustees that another recent such group got.
Saying she was a member of Friends of Lynch’s Marina, Robin Goss was the sole member spokesperson present at the May 2 village trustees’ meeting. She read a statement that said the group hoped village officials would not support an application by Tom Struzzieri, the new owner of the marina, for a special-use permit to convert one of two buildings on the Ferry Street property as a restaurant and banquet hall.
Village planning board members will begin discussions about the application at their May 11 meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the Saugerties Fire Department’s meeting hall at 43 Partition Street.
Struzzieri, owner of HITS and co-owner of Diamond Mill, purchased the marina last December with the intent of renovating the two existing buildings, repairing the bulkhead and docks, and making the marina property a viable commercial enterprise again. The marina fell into disrepair during the summer of superstorm Sandy, and storms Irene and Lee. The docks and bulkhead were severely damaged The property lies within the R-3/W zone, which permits residential use and waterfront development. A commercial use such as a restaurant or banquet hall requires a special-use permit from the village planning board.
In her statement Goss said her group believes that a wedding/banquet hall would create too much traffic and noise in the area, and that only a restaurant should be allowed. She added that her group has seen ads for the marina advertising that weddings of up to 300 people will be permitted at the site beginning June 1.
Mayor Bill Murphy, who said he met with Struzzieri and his representatives the previous week, said the developer wants to use one of the two buildings as a wedding hall for the first year, and then next year have a restaurant. “He has also repaired the bulkhead and the docks, and is following proper procedures” in trying to acquire the special-use permit, Murphy said.
“Where were the friends for the last 20 years when the buildings were dilapidated?” Murphy asked. “You are like the Friends of Clovelea [the Dragon Inn],” who threw so many obstacles in the way of the person who purchased the property that he has now walked away from the project, said the mayor, and “we are stuck with this eyesore.”
Eyal Saad, village code enforcement officer, recently said that the owner of the Dragon Inn boarded up the burnt-out wreckage of the Chinese restaurant to keep out vagrants and has now walked away from the project.
“Anytime someone comes here to do something positive,” Friends’ groups form to put hurdles in their way, Murphy complained.
Trustee Terry Parisian also accused Goss of “using innuendos and no facts,” when talking about the Lynch project. “You don’t even have your facts straight. It upsets me that every time someone wants to do something good,” this sort of group comes out, Parisian added.
After last week’s meeting between the mayor, Struzzieri’s representatives and Saad, Struzzieri said he would install a sprinkler system in the building to make it safe for large groups of people.
Alex Wade, former village code enforcement officer and now head of special projects for the village government, said that the Ferry Street side of the Esopus Creek was specifically set up for waterfront development. “If you want quiet, single-family homes, go to the other side of the creek,” Wade said. “Our major goal was and is having public access to the creek.”
Struzzieri has promised that a public boat launch will be built when the marina is developed, and “it will be a big boon for the economy,” Wade added.
Marina representatives met with the village Historic Review Board (HRB) on April 27 and were given permission to install new windows at one of the buildings. The HRB said the new windows will look historically accurate and gave their approval.
Windows in the building had been taken out because of their deteriorated condition without HRB permission. The marina lies within the historic district.