The former Dragon Inn will house its new owner, Nina Schmidbaur, and several offices downstairs, Schmidbaur said at a public hearing before the Village of Saugerties Planning Board last week.
The Dragon Inn, also known as Clovelea, has had several owners, all of whom ended up selling the building after discovering the difficulty and cost of renovating it. Schmidbaur bought the building in May 2021 and began removing the debris on the property.
The meeting on Wednesday, May 11 drew only one couple, who had recently purchased the property next door and wanted to know more about Schmidbaur’s plans. Alberto and Mariela Galeano said they had not come to the meeting to comment on the plan, only to find out more about it.
“The first floor will be the commercial part of the plan,’ Schmidbaur said. “It’s going to be a psychotherapy practice. I’m a psychotherapist for children and adults and there will be a few other offices for other mental health professionals. On the first floor there will be about five different psychotherapy practices. These are people who see people on a one-on-one basis.”
The plan calls for two parking spaces for each office, one for the therapist and one for a patient, Schmidbaur said. The parking lot lighting will be designed to avoid light spilling over into neighboring properties, including the adjacent carriage house where the neighbors will be living.
The second floor is where Schmidbaur plans to live with her family, she said. “That’s the part we will be renovating, hopefully within the next few months. In the beginning, you’ll just see two cars there.” She indicated the area that would immediately be used for parking, then the areas that would be developed for future parking.
In addition, the plan includes a bed and breakfast facility on the first floor and eventually an apartment to be rented out, Schmidbaur said. “That part of the plan is probably two or three years away,” she said.
Schmidbaur explained the plan should not add significant traffic to Route 9W. Some other factors include noise. “These are practitioners who need it to be really quiet,” she said. “Hours of operation would generally be regular 9 to 5 working hours; the bed and breakfast “would not be one of these loud party type B&B’s because we’ll be living there and we don’t want that kind of noise.”
The Village Planning Board members are still waiting for a response from the Ulster County Planning Board because the project is on a state road, said Planning Board chairman Michael Karashay. The board voted to keep the public hearing open.
Following the meeting, Mariela Galeano said she was glad she had come to the meeting to see what is planned. “It has been abandoned for so long, and they want to make it look new again,” she said.
Planning Board minutes indicate that development is planned to proceed in phases, with the first phase the living space for Schmidbaur and her family on the second floor of the building. Phase two would include four offices and an air B&B on the ground floor, and the third phase would be a rental apartment.
Schmidbaur explained that the impact on traffic along Route 9W would be minimal and fencing would prevent car lights from impacting the neighbors. Lighting would be “dark sky” compliant, meaning it would not shine into neighboring property.
A special use permit would be required for the office spaces, as the area is zoned residential. The Planning Board voted to distribute copies of the application to other agencies that might be interested in acting as the lead agency for environmental review.