Set­back for Bel­leayre Re­sort

State Supreme Court rules Shan­daken Plan­ning Board ex­ceeded au­thor­ity in ap­prov­ing por­tion of the project

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­tri­cia Doxsey pdoxsey@free­manon­line.com pat­ti­at­free­man on Twit­ter

KINGSTON >> A state Supreme Court jus­tice has dealt a blow to the pro­posed Bel­leayre Re­sort, say­ing the Shan­daken Plan­ning Board ex­ceeded its au­thor­ity in grant­ing ap­provals for a stand­alone lodge and du­plexes that are part of the project.

In a rul­ing dated Oct. 6, Supreme Court Jus­tice Richard Mott up­held the Plan­ning Board’s find­ing that con­fer­ence cen­ters and com­mu­nity meet­ing rooms pro-

posed as part of the re­sort are ac­ces­sory uses to the main ho­tel, but said the board erred in de­ter­min­ing the same for a lodge that would con­tain 27 time­share units, and eight other du­plex build­ings.

Mott said that be­cause those build­ings do not “fit the def­i­ni­tion of a ho­tel or mo­tel, grant­ing ap­proval for those fa­cil­i­ties “calls for an in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the zon­ing code that is beyond the Plan­ning

Board’s au­thor­ity.”

As a re­sult, Mott ruled the ap­provals granted for that por­tion of the project in­valid and or­dered the Plan­ning Board to seek a de­ter­mi­na­tion from the Zon­ing Board of Ap­peals as to whether those uses are per­mit­ted un­der the town’s zon­ing law.

The rul­ing is another set­back for Cross­road Ven­tures, which has been try­ing for the bet­ter part of two decades to de­velop a lux­ury re­sort strad­dling the Ul­ster and Delaware county bor­der near the state-owned Bel­leayre Moun­tain Ski Cen­ter

in High­mount.

In January, the plan­ning boards in the towns of Shan­daken and Mid­dle­town granted fi­nal ap­provals to the project, but con­struc­tion was de­layed when the Catskill Her­itage Al­liance filed law­suits chal­leng­ing the state De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion’s en­vi­ron­men­tal re­view of the project and the Shan­daken Plan­ning Board’s ap­proval of the project.

Kathy Nolan, chair­man of the Catskill Her­itage Al­liance, said Satur­day that the group was pleased the judge sided with the group over the

lodge and du­plex build­ings.

“That’s one of the el­e­ments of the project that we al­ways found prob­lem­atic,” said Nolan.

Nolan said the group be­lieves that a “fair read­ing” of the zon­ing law will con­clude that “the zon­ing code sim­ply doesn’t per­mit this and that would mean Cross­roads would have to re­design (the) project or ob­tain a vari­ance.”

She also said the group is con­sid­er­ing whether to ap­peal Mott’s de­ci­sion al­low­ing the ap­provals for the con­fer­ence cen­ter and com­mu­nity cen­ters to stand.

Nei­ther Gary Gailes,

the spokesman for Cross­road Ven­tures, nor Shan­daken Plan­ning Board Chair­man Don Brewer could be reached for com­ment Satur­day. The pro­posed re­sort project — ar­guably one of the most stud­ied projects in the re­gion’s his­tory — has been re­vised a num­ber of times since it was first pro­posed in 2000. As it cur­rently stands, the an­tic­i­pated $365 mil­lion de­vel­op­ment would be lo­cated on 740 acres and com­prise the High­mount Spa and Re­sort and the Wil­dacres Re­sort.

Wil­dacres, on about 250 acres, would have a 250room

ho­tel, 163 other lodg­ing units in multi-unit build­ings de­tached from the ho­tel and an 18-hole golf course. The High­mount por­tion of the project, on just un­der 240 acres, would have a 120-unit ho­tel with spa fa­cil­i­ties, 53 time share units in the ho­tel build­ing, a mul­ti­level lodge with 27 more time share units and 16 de­tached lodg­ing units in eight du­plex build­ings.

A law­suit chal­leng­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal re­view of the pro­posed project is still pend­ing. Nolan said oral ar­gu­ments in that law­suit were held a few weeks ago.

IM­AGE FROM BELLEAYRERESORT. COM

This is an artist’s ren­der­ing of the Wil­dacres Re­sort at the pro­posed Bel­leayre Re­sort at Catskill Park.

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