Re­sort is­sue awaits zon­ing board ac­tion

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Jay Bra­man Jr. news@free­manon­

Ad­her­ing to a re­cent court rul­ing, the Shandaken Plan­ning Board has re­ferred to the town Zon­ing Board of Ap­peals the ques­tion of whether some of the build­ings at the pro­posed Bel­leayre Re­sort at Catskill Park should be al­lowed.

The rul­ing, is­sued last month by state Supreme Court Jus­tice Richard Mott, said the Plan­ning Board ex­ceeded its au­thor­ity in grant­ing ap­provals for a stand-alone lodge and eight du­plex build­ings that are to be part of the re­sort project, which would be in the High­mount sec­tion of Shandaken, next to the Bel­leayre Moun­tain Ski Cen­ter.

Mott said the Plan­ning Board erred when it de­ter­mined the build­ings were only ac­ces­sory struc­tures to the main part of the re­sort, and he or­dered the Plan­ning Board to send the mat­ter to the Zon­ing Board of Ap­peals for re­view. The Plan­ning Board’s vote on Mon­day to do just that was unan­i­mous.

If the zon­ing board rules the build­ing are al­lowed, the Plan­ning Board will have 30 days to de­cide whether to grant a spe­cialuse per­mit to re­sort de­vel­oper Cross­roads Ven­tures LLC.

The zon­ing board is to meet Wed­nes­day evening. It was not im­me­di­ately clear whether the re­sort is­sue would be on its agenda.

Mon­day’s meet­ing of the Plan­ning Board was at­tended by sev­eral rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the de­vel­oper as well as Kathy Nolan, chair­woman of the Catskill Her­itage Al­liance, which filed the law­suit against the Plan­ning Board that re­sulted in Mott’s rul­ing.

Nolan asked the Plan­ning Board sev­eral ques­tions about the res­o­lu­tion to re­fer the mat­ter to the zon­ing board and about an ac­com­pa­ny­ing let­ter from one board to the other.

Plan­ning Board Chair­man Don Brewer said both the let­ter and the res­o­lu­tion were drafted by the town’s at­tor­ney and that the Plan­ning Board was act­ing on the at­tor­ney’s in­struc­tions.

“Your lawyer should call our lawyer,” Brewer said to Nolan.

The re­sort — ar­guably one of the most stud­ied projects in the re­gion’s his­tory — has been re­vised a num­ber of times since it first was pro­posed in 2000. As it cur­rently stands, the an­tic­i­pated $365 mil­lion de­vel­op­ment would be on 740 acres and com­prise the High­mount Spa and Re­sort and the Wil­dacres Re­sort.

Wil­dacres, on about 250 acres, would have a 250-room ho­tel, 163 other lodg­ing units in mul­tiu­nit 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 120unit ho­tel with spa fa­cil­i­ties, 53 time share units in the ho­tel build­ing, a multi-level lodge with 27 more time share units and 16 de­tached lodg­ing units in eight du­plex build­ings.

The re­sort had re­ceived all nec­es­sary ap­provals at the lo­cal and state lev­els, but Mott’s rul­ing put the brakes on the project get­ting un­der­way.

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