Irish Cultural Center decision nears
There is an outside chance that the city’s Planning Board will come to a conclusion this month on a matter in connection with the proposed Irish Cultural Center, according to two city officials.
City Planner Suzanne Cahill and Planning Board Chairman Wayne Platte say some sort of decision is possible at the Oct. 17 meeting of the Planning Board. The matter is listed on the Planning Board’s agenda for the 6 p.m. meeting at City Hall.
Cahill said it is possible, though far from definitive, that the Planning Board would make a determination on whether the project has any significant impact on the environment.
The Planning Board considers this factor under the State’s Environmental Quality Review Act, or SEQRA as it is commonly known.
The board is charged with deciding whether to give the project a “negative declaration,” which means it would not have a significant impact on the environment. It could issue a “positive declaration,” which means the project would have a significant impact on the environment.
If a positive declaration is given, the developer would need to take steps to mitigate the specific impacts.
The Planning Board also needs to grant site plan approval in order for the project to proceed. Still, Cahill and Platte say, a definitive answer on whether the Planning Board will make any decisions on Oct. 17 would wait until after Wednesday’s public hearing. That hearing is to be held at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 420 Broadway.
‘We have not yet had the public hearing which I anticipate will bring out several parties, both pro and con,” Cahill said Thursday.
Representatives of the Irish Cultural Center and its opponents are awaiting a decision from the Zoning Board of Appeals on an appeal filed by the opposition.
The legal challenge stems from a code enforcement opinion that uses outlined for the
proposed Irish Cultural Center are allowed at the Abeel Street property. It is unclear when that decision will be made but the Zoning
Board of Appeals meets next on Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
On Wednesday, 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.
The commission ultimately decided the project was consistent with the program, so long as modifications were made to reduce the proposed center’s scale.
The commission’s nonbinding finding will be forwarded as a recommendation to the city’s Planning Board. That board could also suggest a similar change and take no action.
The 0.44-acre parcel where the center is proposed to be built is bordered
on two sides by private properties and to the rear by Company Hill Path and a retaining wall.
The Irish Cultural Center proposal calls for construction of a 16,889-square-foot building overlooking the Rondout Creek. 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 150seat banquet facility, a roof garden area and a learning opportunity area.