On March 23, the citizens’ group Catskill Heritage Alliance (CHA) petitioned the State Supreme Court in Kingston to vacate the recent decision of the Shandanken Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) in favor of the proposed Belleayre Resort. The ZBA determined that the Shandanken Planning Board was justified in permitting construction of time-sharing lodges and duplexes as part of the project, despite a lack of clarity on the topic in the town’s zoning code.
Developer Crossroads Ventures has been working towards construction of the controversial Belleayre Resort for over 16 years. The project calls for two hotels, an 18-hole golf course, a spa, a conference center, and multiple lodges and duplexes to be built adjacent to Belleayre Ski Center in western Shandaken and eastern Middletown.
CHA alleges that the ZBA’s interpretation was incorrect, and the buildings would constitute a violation of the code. CHA chair Kathy Nolan stated, “If we let the ZBA’s decision stand, it would undermine Shandaken’s zoning law and in effect grant special spot zoning for the benefit of a single landowner. To build structures that don’t comply with the zoning code, anyone else would have to seek a zoning variance. Crossroads should have to abide by the same requirements as everyone else, otherwise the integrity of our zoning will suffer.”
A previous court decision agreed with CHA that the planning board had acted beyond its authority in permitting the allegedly nonconforming buildings, and the judge directed the ZBA to determine whether the structures met the zoning code. CHA claims that the ZBA’s discussion about definitions of terms such as “dwelling unit” and “transient occupancy” do not fulfill the court’s direction but constitute a reframing of zoning law, which is the role of the town board, not the ZBA.