Ink on the Village of Saugerties’ planning board’s approval for Struzzieri Properties Inc.’s plans for the former Lynch’s Marina had barely dried when local attorney Lanny Walter filed a civil suit asking an Ulster County Supreme Court judge to overturn the approval.
Planners approved the resolution at their August 10 meeting, and Walter filed the suit two days later on behalf of John DeNicolo, Nancy DeNicolo, Susan J. Murphy, Peter Piccia, Mary Sarsheen, Rebecca Stoltzfus, Penelope Milford, Ruth J. Hirsch Steven J. Samuels, and Lee Haring.
Most of the parties to the suit are residents of Cantine Island on Ann Street just up the Esopus Creek from Struzzieri Properties Inc., owners of the Saugerties Steamboat Company, restaurant and marina, formerly known as Lynch’s Marina on Ferry Street.
Cantine Island, as described on its website is a 10-acre, co-housing community, where the homes are privately owned, but the land is commonly owned. There are 18-households on the island that is reached by a bridge on Ann Street.
As justification for its suit, residents claim that planning board members did not perform their due diligence in reviewing the project. They claim the planning board should have had a traffic study done on the roads adjacent to the Ferry Street location, roads they claim are too narrow to support the type of traffic that would be generated when a wedding is held at the site.
Struzzieri’s representatives have said that up to 300 people might attend a wedding at the site. Village law limits the attendees to a wedding in the building to 99, but that number could be up to 300 with guests in a tent erected on the premises for the wedding.
Plaintiffs also argue that a strict adherence to the village’s noise law that prohibits noise levels exceeding 50 decibels from leaving the site is not possible.
During the public hearing process, Walter and members of the community living near the Ferry Street site asked the planning board to require that all windows and doors at the venue be closed during a wedding so that noise, especially loud music, not move past the site’s boundaries.
And the plaintiffs believe the planning board did not do an adequate State Quality Environmental Review (SEQR) of the project.
And they also say that when the planning board reviewed the project it should have taken the site, which now has one restaurant, one large empty building, one house, and the marina, all as one project rather than segmenting off the restaurant and marina operations.
Plaintiffs are not asking for a monetary settlement, but only to have a judge vacate the approvals and order the planning board to begin the whole site plan process again, including the ZBA’s special use variance approval process, but this time do it using the requirements the plaintiffs believe should be followed.
No calls from any of the parties seeking comment were returned.