The Woodstock Way-related business everyone wanted to see processed at the July 26 Woodstock zoning board of appeals meeting took under a minute to complete and was over and done with long before any of the audience that came to see it occur arrived at town offices at the Comeau property.
After gaveling the Thursday evening session to a start, ZBA chair Maria Mendoza read a statement in which she announced a motion requesting that Ryan Giuliani and Jesse Halliburton of Tannery Brook Real Estate LLC, Woodstock Way’s developers, pay $3000 to an escrow account to cover the board’s legal costs for its review of the developers’ recent variance requests.
She then asked for a new public hearing on two requested variances, including one tied to the hotel complex’s building seven where the developers are seeking to put in a café with alcohol sales, to be scheduled once legal advertising requirements were met.
Both matters passed without discussion after which town attorney Rod Futerfas, who had strongly noted that any request for a bar on the Woodstock Way premises would require a new site plan review, meeting state environmental quality review act (SEQRA) requirements, before town planners, left the meeting.
Giuliani and Halliburton both left the room immediately after Futerfas’ departure.
ZBA secretary Michele Sehwerert later noted that the “rehearing” of the Woodstock Way variance request would take place at the board’s next meeting on August 9, with a focus on only two items: a parking variance shift where “a miscommunication” with the developers attorney Ron Pordy meant a previously-okayed 143 foot variance was supposed to actually be 145 feet; and a clarification hearing regarding the developers’ request to serve alcohol in building seven, where the original variances and site plan approvals were made for the sale of sundries.
Local neighbors of the new 26-room hotel complex, which overlooks the Tannery Brook waterfall, showed up after the developers and Futerfas had left the room wearing t-shirts emblazoned with a logo, “Stick to the plan,” and a simple hieroglyphic design consisting of a toothbrush, a crossed-out equals sign, and a cocktail glass. All listened quietly as the zoning board of appeals went through the rest of their agenda, which included three public hearings and several quick discussions on pending items, then assembled to discuss the evening outside.
At their July 12 session, Futerfas responded to Pordy’s request for a clarification on the alcohol sales matter, couched in terms of the “hotel’s right” to a private cafe/bar on premises, by noting emphatically that such a matter was outside the ZBA’s purview, and would require a new site plan and SEQRA process. Woodstock planning board chair John Lavalle reiterated that position last week.
Following three other public hearings, which included requested variances for a new pool and accessory shed, ZBA members voted to close a recessed hearing on Bob Whitcomb’s proposal to replace two signs at his expanded Sunflower Market business with one larger sign, and then granted the variance request.
During discussion of Paul Fleischmann’s variance requests involving his plans to rebuild the old Lake Hill store at the corner of Route 212 and Mink Hollow Road on an existing footprint, board members noted that while the developer was staying within the footprint, plans for a store, restaurant and two apartments accommodated by building up instead of out seemed “too much on one piece of property that size.” The ZBA voted to recess their review process longer.
Discussion of Doug Ballinger’s variance requests involving already-built fences at his rising bagel café and wine bar on Mill Hill Road noted proposed changes that included drops in the fences’ heights, but did not touch on any other issues that arose in previous discussion of changes from an approved site plan at the site. The matter was also recessed until the ZBA’s next meeting.
In other discussion, another matter involving new building on an older footprint had to be recessed when it was noted that the town had made a mistake on its application for ZBA review involving footage lengths. The problem had to do with legalities, it was noted, even if the problem stemmed from he town.