Proposed Saugerties resort, including farm-to-table restaurant and cabins, sparks concerns

Architect’s rendering, looking northwest

Nearly 50 people turned out for a public hearing on a proposal to build a restaurant, an inn and cabins, along with horse-riding facilities, hiking trails and an art gallery on Liberty Street behind the Glasco firehouse. The project, proposed by Agawam Hospitality Company LLC and known as Wyldwyck River Camp, would occupy 86 acres, including frontage on the Hudson River.

The audience had a lot of questions. Concerns ranged from increased traffic to the proposal to use gravel roads within the project area. Residents expressed concern about increased traffic and water supply.

Lucy Stagic said she was concerned about the increased traffic going into Liberty Street. Engineer Bruce Utter said traffic studies showed peak-hour traffic would be 70 vehicles. “That’s a lot of vehicles,” Stagic responded.

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In response to another question, Utter said the roads would be gravel except for a paved section on Liberty Street, near the entry. The applicants “are going for a farm look,” he said.

“If the planning board lets this project proceed with gravel roads, will this be the start of future projects coming into the town also wanting gravel roads?” asked planning board member Mike Tiano, who is also a neighbor.

What would happen should there be a fire within the complex? Utter said he has been discussing the question with the fire department, “and this is one of their concerns, I won’t deny that.”

“The fire chief will respond first, and if he doesn’t deem it safe we will respond. If he does not, no fire trucks would go in there,” Tiano said. “The developer has been informed of this policy in writing.” Later, Tiano said the firefighters might have trouble getting to the firehouse. “If no one can get to the [fire] trucks, the trucks don’t leave,” he noted.

Jeff Cafaldo wanted to know whether the developer would be providing security in the development. “It’s a private property,” Utter replied. “There will be a restaurant that will be paying taxes like everybody else, so if something is happening at the restaurant they will make a phone call to the police department just like any restaurant in the area.”

Kevin Morrow asked about the effect of the proposed development on traffic, which he said was already heavy and dangerous. He asked about sewer and water supply, suggested an entry off Route 32 with a traffic light, and talked of energy sources for heating. If it was natural gas, could Central Hudson meet the demand? Finally, he wanted to know the number of employees at the proposed resort.

Utter said that in general the noise levels should be similar to the surrounding neighborhood. The presence of an event tent would increase the noise level. “We will have some screening, with trees,” he said. He said the board could add conditions in the permit regarding noise, hours of operation, amplified music and so on.

Gary Young said the road into the project also served his home and two others. He questioned the widening and shifting of the road, which would impact these houses and yards. Utter said the section of the road being widened was on the Wyldwyck River Camp property. The road must be widened to meet fire-engine specifications, and is being realigned to meet the road serving the resort property.

Several other speakers questioned the use of gravel roads, citing dust and snow plowing. Rose Secreto asked why the developer has not plowed and maintained the road serving her home and two others – the section Young had discussed. Utter said Agawan Hospitality Group is in contract to buy the land, but is not yet the owner.

Bruce Fabiano noted that the century-old road serving the homes near the project has been variously maintained by the town and the people living along it. This may mean that the ownership has passed to the people maintaining it, he said, and the developer may not have the right to alter it.

The roads should be checked by the town’s engineers, not the developer’s, Tiano said later. “You can’t have the fox guarding the henhouse.”

Fabiano also questioned whether the Glasco water supply, which already supplies a number of town developments, can provide enough water for the project. Utter said the water district and town have determined that the water supply is sufficient. The town board has already agreed that the development will be incorporated into the water district.

Utter said the plans call for 24 single-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom cabins.

The plans show a 14-foot road between Route 32 and the main feeder road within the proposed resort. This would be an emergency route only. Tiano said it should meet town road specifications, not be just 14 feet wide.

Tiano said having only one public access on Liberty Street was “going to be a catastrophe.” A second access off Route 32 would make sense, he added.

Tiano said Central Hudson would be happy to put in natural gas lines. He had a contact in the company, which he provided to Utter. Utter responded that the developers were not looking at the question of gas for heating at this point.

The Mid-Hudson Rebels want to use the baseball fields adjoining the firehouse property, Other sports groups use it, Tiano said, increasing the need for an alternative entrance to the development.

The public hearing will be kept open for comments at the board’s next meeting on December 19.

 

There are 2 comments

  1. Carol Grahm Smith

    The gravel roads issue is a good question and one that is very easily solved. First, to validate why gravel roads can be favorable – asphalt or concrete paved roads exponentially increase runoff and storm water problems – so folks worried about water quality need to keep that in mind.

    But, knowing gravel roads can generate lots of dust in the dry months, the developer can very easily work with aggregate materials that are essentiall ‘paved’ but are permeable, so when it rains, the runoff still flows down through the pavement vs. creating bursts of runoff.

    Similarly, there are literally dozens of road treatments today that involve open-core block, planted with high-traffic grasses or higher quality stone material implanted within, that again help reduce rainwater runoff but do also help to keep the dust down.

    In short, that is not an issue that would make either the developer pull out or harm the town in a negative way.

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