Saugerties town planning board member Mike Tiano had 15 questions for the developers of a proposed restaurant with cabins off Liberty Street in Glasco. While the questions were mainly critical of details, Tiano, speaking at a board meeting on Tuesday, October 17, stressed that he supported the company’s proposal. He just wanted to make sure it was done right.
The Agawam Hospitality Group is proposing to develop the 86-acre area, which abuts the Glasco Fire Company’s headquarters and the Hudson River, with a restaurant, 36 cabins and a garden area where food would be grown for the restaurant. The complex would be called Wyldwyck River Camp.
Many of Tiano’s concerns centered on whether firefighters could effectively deal with fires in the proposed development. He reiterated his contention that the development was not within the Glasco water district. The concerns included adequacy of water mains and roadways.
In presenting his list of issues, Tiano said he hoped they could be addressed. If they cannot be resolved, however, “then we will have a problem.”
Tiano questioned whether a six-inch water line would be adequate to fight fires on the property. He was concerned that the cabins would be heated with propane rather than natural gas. Propane poses a greater fire risk than natural gas because it is stored in tanks that can catch fire, or feed a fire, according to several web sites discussing the issue.
The water table along Liberty Street is high, and the houses all have drainage systems that flow to an existing pond. The developers’ proposal to shift Liberty Street would disrupt these systems. Would Agawam be prepared to pay for the work?
The project incorporates stone driveways. “A fire truck doesn’t go on stone driveways,” he said. “If you pave to the main buildings, if you pave to Route 32 – that’s not a lot to ask – we have access to get in there,” Tiano said.
A short gated connector road to Route 32, which the Department of Transportation has said had to be kept locked, to be used only in emergencies, was another sticking point. Tiano said it was too narrow to handle the larger fire trucks, and the placement of the gate did not allow a fire truck to pull out of the traffic flow while the door is being unlocked.
Tiano asked whether the cabins would have sprinkler systems. “I don’t know whether the cabins are required to be sprinklered. I’m waiting for the architects to tell me,” engineer Bruce Utter responded. “We sized the water line large enough so that if they need to be sprinklered they can be sprinklered.”
While the estimated increase in traffic was limited, Tiano pointed out that the exit onto Liberty Street will take traffic onto one of the intersections with the highest accident rates in Glasco. The conclusion that the increase was modest didn’t take into account that St. Joseph’s Church and nearby Little League fields contribute a good deal of traffic to the streets already.
Noise levels from an events tent shown in the plans should be mitigated by surrounding the tent with vegetation to absorb the noise, Tiano said.
Tiano acknowledged that his list of changes or adjustments was long. “Nobody in our community is against this project,” he assured the audience. “The last project went in half heartedly; we don’t want to see that again.”
Utter responded that that there was no litigation for a water district. “We met with the town supervisor,” he said. “We met with the town engineer the attorney, and they said that to clarify everything we’ll put the whole property within the district.”
Utter said the intention was to maintain the drainage from Liberty Street as it is.
As there was no natural-gas line on the property, Utter said, the buildings would be heated with propane. He asserted that the buildings would be sprinklered as needed. “This was always what the developers promised,” he said. There was enough water supply for sprinkler systems if they were needed.
Utter noted that the Department of Transportation limited the entry to 12 or 14 feet, and required the emergency gate to be placed as close as possible to Route 32 to prevent people from pulling off and parking in the entry. Tiano said he would be calling to let the DOT know that the design hampered efforts to fight possible fires in the development.