Con­tro­ver­sial projects on Plan­ning Board’s agenda

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Kirby [email protected]­manon­line.com

Re­view of the pro­posed Ir­ish Cul­tural Cen­ter and a West Chest­nut Street board­ing house will con­tinue this month.

City plan­ners will con­tinue their re­view of two con­tro­ver­sial projects later this month.

Ac­cord­ing to the Plan­ning Board agenda for Tuesday, Jan. 22, the pro­posed Ir­ish Cul­tural Cen­ter and a board­ing house on West Chest­nut Street are to re­ceive scru­tiny at the board’s monthly meet­ing, which starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 420 Broad­way.

In Oc­to­ber, the Kingston Zon­ing Board of Ap­peals voted unan­i­mously to issue a vari­ance to Joseph Sangi to op­er­ate the board­ing house at 106 W. Chest­nut St. The vari­ance cleared the the way for the board­ing house use, even though the house is in a sin­gle-fam­ily res­i­den­tial zon­ing dis­trict.

Un­der the City Code, board­ing houses are per­mit­ted only in two-fam­ily res­i­den­tial dis­tricts and with a spe­cial-use per­mit from the Plan­ning Board.

The zon­ing board’s res­o­lu­tion al­lows the Plan­ning Board, in the course of its site plan re­view of the project, to pro­vide waivers, if it sees fit, to any of the strict re­quire­ments for a board­ing house in a two-fam­ily res­i­den­tial dis­trict.

Those re­quire­ments, in part, limit the num­ber of board­ers to 12 and the num­ber of rooms to 10, and pro­hibit more than two peo­ple from shar­ing a room. The code also states that all board­ing houses are sub­ject to in­spec­tions at rea­son­able hours by au­tho­rized rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the city.

There also is a re­quire­ment that the man­ager of a board­ing house keep a regis­ter of all the board­ers’ names and room num­bers and pro­vide that in­for­ma­tion to po­lice, fire of­fi­cials and city build­ing safety of­fi­cers on re­quest.

The zon­ing board’s decision also stip­u­lated that per­mis­sion for the West Chest­nut Street build­ing to be op­er­ated as a “bou­tique ho­tel” could not be granted be­cause it did not meet the re­quire­ments for such use.

In the other mat­ter, the Kingston Plan­ning Board has re­ferred plans for the pro­posed Ir­ish Cul­tural Cen­ter on Abeel Street to the Ul­ster County Plan­ning Board for its rec­om­men­da­tion, ac­cord­ing to the city Plan­ning Of­fice.

The Kingston Plan­ning Board re­ferred the Ir­ish Cul­tural Cen­ter plan to the county board on Dec. 17, 2018.

The pro­posal is un­der­go­ing a second re­view be­cause its orig­i­nal site plan ap­proval ex­pired with­out the de­vel­oper se­cur­ing a build­ing per­mit.

Ex­ca­va­tion at the hal­facre site, which over­looks the Ron­d­out Creek, be­gan ear­lier this year, and neigh­bors com­plained the work was caus­ing ex­ces­sive noise and dam­age to sur­round­ing prop­er­ties, in­clud­ing the city-owned Com­pany Hill Path.

The planned site for the cen­ter, at 32 Abeel St., has pri­vate homes on ei­ther side.

In Au­gust, the de­vel­oper was cited by the city en­gi­neer for vi­o­la­tions at the site, but those vi­o­la­tions have been cor­rected since, ac­cord­ing to city of­fi­cials.

In re­sponse to com­plaints about the ex­ca­va­tion, the Com­mon Council adopted changes to the City Code in­tended to pro­vide more over­sight and reg­u­la­tion of such work when it takes place on pri­vate prop­erty.

The pro­posed 16,213-square-foot Ir­ish Cul­tural Cen­ter is to in­clude a 171-seat theater on its ground floor, which would be built into the hill­side fac­ing West Strand and Com­pany Hill Path; and a restau­rant with a pub space, among other ameni­ties.

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