Resort issue awaits zoning board action
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.