Her­itage panel seeks scaled-down Ir­ish cen­ter

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ariél Zangla azangla@free­manon­line.com ArielAtFree­man on Twit­ter

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-

ect.

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.

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