A busy and controversial time for Woodstock planners

While the town awaits the Woodstock Zoning Board of Appeals’ pending decisions on variances regarding the request for a bar/café at the new Woodstock Way lodgings in the center of town, fences and other already-built changes at the bagel café and wine bar going up on Mill Hill Road, and the advent of a new restaurant and store in Lake Hill – all possibly coming this Thursday evening, July 26 — Woodstock has also been dealing with a host of other growing land use battles and proposals.

And according to some, a proverbial line in the sand may already have been crossed.

With contracted town planner Matthew Rudikoff in attendance at the July 19 session, the town planning board held a second sketch plan review for Site Plan Review and Special Use Permit applications to replace an old gas station at the corner of Route 28 and Reservoir/Mill Basin Roads for a renovated and enlarged store being proposed by a major owner of such entities in Westchester, Rockland, Orange and Putnam counties. According to planning board chair John Lavalle, the project’s being simultaneously reviewed by the Ulster County planning board, state and county boards of transportation and other entities, “and seems to be moving along well.” As for when the new gas station might make it through such reviews, begin construction and eventually open, Lavalle added that “the applicants always want it sooner than later. It will happen when it happens.”


Also up for a first sketch plan review were plans for a completely new Wittenberg Sportsman Club clubhouse with associated septic, well, and parking at 87 Montoma Lane in Wittenberg, which LaValle said didn’t seem to have any controversial elements tied to it.

Twisted Gypsy, the new working name for the old Gypsy Wolf property on Tinker Street in Bearsville being developed by Michael Cioffi of Phoenicia Diner fame, received its final site plan review for a complete replacement of the building, which once served as home to a poolside bar, and next stage review of a new design with the same number of seats and parking spaces.

Also, a public hearing on changes at Bradley Meadows on Mill Hill Road, which will see the incoming Bank of Greene County take only half the space previously used by Bank of America and other financial institutions, faced an event-less public hearing.

Lodge, Sunfrost, Woodstock Way 

In a separate conversation, Woodstock supervisor Bill McKenna answered questions about other local land use issues raised by audience members after a recent ZBA meeting on Woodstock Way.

He said that he’d received a letter from an attorney representing a neighbor of The Lodge, the hotel and restaurant/bar located behind the Woodstock Elementary School, to which the town had not yet replied, “although we’ve had conversations.”

McKenna added that town building inspector Ellen Casciaro had meanwhile issued a stop work order to owners of The Lodge in regards to several issues that McKenna said “were moving back towards the planning board.”

In regards to possible zoning violations at Sunfrost, on Tinker Street, the supervisor noted having heard “complaints from neighbors” that town board member Laura Ricci, a former planning board member, was looking into in terms of the site’s original approved and amended site plans.

“Laura and Ellen have had a conversation,” McKenna added. “Ellen has reached out to Matthew [Ballister, owner of Sunfrost] and he’ll be coming in to discuss his site plan.”

Touching back with Lavalle, the planning board chair and former town supervisor noted that he and fellow planning board members weren’t surprised that The Lodge would be returning for review, given how its plans were taken from such review after Casciaro had determined they could proceed without them.

“It took a neighbor and attorney to sharpen the pencils on that,” he said.

As for Woodstock Way, which had been on the agenda at last week’s planning board meeting in the form of various letters from attorneys pushing against the applicants bar/restaurant application, developer Tannery Brook Real Estate LLC’s attorney Ron Pordy countering those letters, Lavalle was curt.

“Until the ZBA makes a decision, they’re not even on our agenda,” he said. “They have a final site plan. It’s been approved. What [town attorney] Rod Futerfas said last week holds: The law is very simple. If they want a bar/restaurant, it’s a new site plan, a new SEQRA review. Rod is correct on that.”

Lavalle paused.

“What’s approved is approved.”

Talk about a new line…