The Kingston Planning Board concluded that a plan to add additional luxury cabins at Hutton Brickyards would have no significant environmental impacts, paving the way for owners to open the site with additional capacity for the tourist season.
Specifically, the board’s decision on March 30 concerned the impact (or lack thereof) of proposed amendments and a special use permit. The review of the proposal is ongoing, although the planning board voted to close the public hearing after last night’s meeting.
During the meeting, planners reviewed the environmental impact report submitted by developers. Although there were some boxes checked off as having a moderate impact, like the “proposed action may result in the loss of a current or future recreational resource” and that “a projected traffic increase may exceed capacity of existing road network,” the board still determined that the overall impact was not significant.
Three public speakers kicked off the meeting, expressing concerns regarding public access to the Hudson River waterfront.
“As I looked at the site plan, I did not see any such public access,” said Tom Polk. “I understand that North Street itself has been put forward as meeting the public access requirement. I would strongly urge the planning board not to accept such an assertion, for at least two reasons. First, North Street is not the property of the owner. They have no right to dedicate its use for any purpose. That is for the Common Council to determine. Second, as I have argued previously, the gate on North Street prevents meaningful and permanent public access.”
The developer’s public access plan public access plan offers the following: a public restaurant that will open in the spring, improvements to the existing Empire State Trail segment from Kingston Point Beach to North Street that would be complete by summer 2022, a new trail at the northern property line of 200 North Street that will have public seating, and a public boat dock.
Over 30 additional public comments were submitted in writing.
Amendments to the overall proposal include bathroom trailers, a driveway path to Lindsley Avenue, a crushed stone parking area on Lindsley Avenue and a reconfiguration of the cabins on the site.
The new plan calls for at least 31 luxury cabins on the 72-acre site. The plan began with a partnership between Salt Hotels, founded by David Bowd and Kevin O’Shea, and the owner of the Hutton Brickyards property, Karl Slovin, who purchased the property seven years ago.
Salt Hotels’ website states that the “urban boutique hotel,” which consists of separate cabins, will be open in April of this year and is already taking reservations. For a one-night stay, the prices range from $375 to $495.
The hotel will be “thoughtfully designed to optimize privacy and water views” according to promotional materials, which also state that, “outdoor recreation and indoor luxury are conveyed through casually elegant surroundings, with nostalgic touches and a timeless upstate attitude.”
“I feel like this process is being rushed a lot for the convenience of the developers, who are already taking reservations for their site, even though they don’t have site plan approval yet,” said Sarah Wenk, speaking during the public comment period. “I hope the committees, commissions and boards involved will take their time and make sure that this project serves the public.”
Before the hotel came to this location, the site was used for weddings, corporate events, concerts and weekend markets. The website says in the future the site will also host writing and film workshops, movie nights, pop-up recording studios, culinary instruction and themed weekends for learning and entertainment.
Planned on-site amenities include an archery range, a croquet lawn and fire pits.
Salt Hotels also has locations in New Jersey and Massachusetts.