Heritage panel seeks scaled-down Irish center
Members of the city’s Heritage Area Commission expressed concern with the scale of the proposed Irish Cultural Center on Abeel Street while reviewing whether the project was consistent with Kingston’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.
During its meeting Wednesday, the commission individually reviewed each of the policies that make up the revitalization program to determine whether the Irish Cultural Center was consistent. The commission ultimately decided the project was consistent, so long as modifications were made to reduce the proposed center’s scale.
The commission’s finding will be forwarded as a recommendation to the city’s Planning Board, which has final say over the proj-
The purpose of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program is to promote economic development and revitalization of the city’s waterfront while protecting coastal resources.
“This is just an advisory opinion,” Ronald Pordy, attorney for the Irish Cultural Center, said after the meeting. He said it would be up to the Planning Board to determine whether the project’s scale is appropriate.
The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the project at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Common Council chamber at City Hall, 420 Broadway.
Heritage Area Commission Vice Chairwoman Giovanna Righini said she had questions about the scale of the center after seeing the lot where it would be built at 32 Abeel St.
“When I look at pictures of how it’s being portrayed, the scale of it is quite large compared to the character of the area and what it’s surrounding, based on what we are supposed to be judging this by,” Righini said. Other commission members concurred.
The Irish Cultural Center proposal calls for construction of a 16,889-square-foot building overlooking the Rondout Creek on a 0.44-acre parcel. The land is bordered on two sides by private properties and to the rear by Company Hill Path and a retaining wall.
The center is to include a 185-seat theater, a film and music program, an art studio and exhibition gallery, a dance studio, recording facilities, a multipurpose social area, a pub and tea room, a 150-seat banquet facility, a roof garden area and a learning opportunity area. There would be 18 parking spaces on site.
The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals is reviewing a challenge made by neighbors of the site who question whether the proposed uses of the center are allowed in that area.