Ir­ish cen­ter op­po­nents ‘dis­hon­est,’ lawyer says

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

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

Creek side.

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.

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