Irish center opponents ‘dishonest,’ lawyer says
An attorney for the proposed Irish Cultural Center on Abeel Street says opponents of the project are “dishonest” for repeatedly saying the project has been discredited by an administrative error about its size.
Lawyer Ronald Pordy said during Monday’s meeting of the Kingston Planning Board that the discrepancy should not be raised when discussing the application for the 16,129-square-foot building.
“Tonight we heard, once again, really a dishonest comment by the neighbors with respect to this insistence that this project was ever a 9,000-square-foot project,” Pordy said. “It never was. We have the minutes of meetings ... back in 2013 that clearly show that this project was al-
ways a 15,000-square-foot-plus project.”
Pordy said the project’s opponents are trying to “hoodwink this Planning Board with statements like that, especially when these particular speakers have
had numerous opportunities coming before this board prior to our ability to present plans.”
Opponents have pointed to Ulster County Planning Department documents that show the proposal called for a 9,000-square-foot building at 32 Abeel St. when reviewed in 2012. They also say a state Dormitory Authority grant application that year
stated the building would be a “9,042 sf 2-story structure plus full basement with terrace and balcony.”
The most recent renderings of the building show it would have three stories, but because it would built into a hillside, only the upper two floors would be visible from the Abeel Street side. The lowest floor would be visible only from the Rondout
Pordy said comments by opponents during Monday’s meeting were inappropriate because some had bought nearby property after the building size error was corrected in January 2013.
“The applicant should have a right to come before a board without be prejudice by dishonest comments,” he said.
Neighbor Hillary Harvey said the information provided to the county about square footage was misleading and that the center’s planned use was not clear when the project first was pitched four years ago.
“We found no evidence of it being 15,000 square feet at that time, and we [asked for] everything,” she said.
The developers contend
they have made concessions in response to objections about size, with the building being reduced by 3 feet, 2 inches in width and a footand-a-half in height.
The Irish Cultural Center is to include a theater, banquet hall, pub, arty studio, exhibition gallery, dance studio, recording facilities, social area and roof garden, among other things.