The Kingston’s planning board’s second scheduled tour of the Hudson River waterfront site off North Street late this Monday afternoon provided a preview of plans to accommodate crowds of up to 3,500 people at the Hutton Brickyards on North Street this year. Up to 10 big weekend shows will be scheduled, and each will be permitted separately.
Hutton Brickyards has been cleaned up, and the results show. The landscaping celebrates the main product of the brickyard site. Tens of thousands of bricks that were strewn everywhere have been gathered, and many are now imprisoned by wire in gabion walls. Some of the remaining buildings have been carefully rehabilitated. Even SHIPO, the state historic preservation agency tasked with maintaining the character of potential sites for the state and national historical registers, was reported to be satisfied with the results.
The bare outlines of Butler-type iron industrial-era structures stand stark against the Hudson River coastline, ready to be converted into a concert setting as it was last summer for the Bob Dylan concerts. The spectacular events site is characterized by an unusually elemental quality worthy of its extractive past: bricks, wood and oxidated metal, earth, water and light.
Lessons learned from last year’s concerts have been incorporated. The site plan showed parking places for 1,000 cars, a site for 36 “glamping” tents for each event, a pathway to Kingston Point Beach, and access for emergency services and buses. A caretaker family is now living on the site 24/7.
Back in February, the applicant had submitted 10 thorough technical attachments that described various aspects of the preparations. But of course there’s nothing quite like an on-the-ground site visit.
Now the plan for the venue has been explained, the city government will take the show off the road. Next Monday, April 9, the Heritage Area Commission and the planning board will hold a joint meeting. The HAC must make what city planner Suzanne Cahill said was a “coastal consistency determination” before the project can move forward. If it does so, the planning board might add 200 North St. to the agenda of its regular monthly meeting on April 16. The applicant is seeking SEQR approval and a special permit.
Consultant Kevin McManus and landscape designer Tim Lynch explained the plans and answered the questions of the eleven people who showed up at the Monday afternoon planning meeting. Probably the most pressing planning issue has been how the traffic and large audiences can be safely accommodated at the brickyard. The applicant and the city government have been working together in anticipating possible problems. The general public will now have a chance to chime in.
MWest Holdings of Los Angeles owns the site. Company president Karl Slovin’s parents live across the river in Rhinebeck.