Planning Board says Sportsmen’s group failed to provide data
GHENT–The Kinderhook Sportsmen’s Club’s application for a variance to permit already completed expansions is now in limbo after the site plan review was dismissed by the Town of Ghent Planning Board. Ghent Town Attorney Ted Guterman told the Town Board last week that the club has “failed after repeated requests to present an adequate site plan and also to respond to the requests of the town engineer to provide certain information.”
Despite its name, the Kinderhook Sportsmen’s Club is located in Ghent on Fowler Lake Road. Over several years it has added or expanded various structures on its property. Since the club is a prior nonconforming use as defined by town zoning law, it can expand up to 50%. But those expansions require variances from town Zoning Board of Appeals and site plan approval from the Planning Board.
Last October, town Zoning Enforcement Officer Gil Raab sent the club a letter stating that several of the club’s structures were in violation of town code due to lack of proper permits and that the club needed to obtain a variance from the ZBA and site plan approval from the Planning Board for the already completed expansions.
Neighbors of the club, who hired attorney Mitch Khosrova to represent them, say the club’s increase in activities has resulted in more noise and raised concerns for their safety. For example, a skeet range added in 2008 was only 300 feet from the neighboring property, though the NRA recommends a distance of 900 feet.
The Zoning and Planning boards began their review processes earlier this year, and in May told the club that an $8,000 escrow payment would be required in order for the town to move forward with the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR). That escrow was reduced to $3,000 after the club agreed to shut down the skeet range.
Earlier this month, the Planning Board dismissed the application for site plan review after the club was unable to present the requested materials for the application and the SEQR process.
“They didn’t deliver what we asked for,” said Planning Board Chairman Jonathan Walters during a phone call last week.
Mr. Guterman said during a phone call earlier this week that the club also could not provide information needed by the town engineer to complete the SEQR form.
“The applicant, after several different requests and over a period of three months, just basically neglected and refused to provide that information,” he said.
Though the Planning Board has denied the site plan review, the ZBA is still responsible for ruling on the variance for the expansions. That board is scheduled to meet October 9. But Mr. Guterman believes the ZBA will follow the Planning Board’s path in dismissing the application, since the environmental review cannot be completed.
“Because the applicant hasn’t submitted what they’re supposed to submit, my sense is the Zoning Board probably has no alternative but to do the same thing,” the town’s attorney said. “The Zoning Board can’t make any decisions without completion of SEQR.”
Paul Trapanese, a neighbor of the club, asked the Town Board last week to put a stop to the activities at the club’s expanded areas. “The club continues to operate with the building that has an extension on it with no certificate of occupancy,” he said. “Now that the application has been dismissed, we’d like you to enforce a cease-and-desist order against them.”
A call made to club President David Newkirk seeking comment was not returned.
Also at the September 19 Town Board meeting the board:
•Approved the hiring of law firm Greenberg & Greenberg as trial counsel to represent the town in connection to the Public Service Commission’s review of the proposed transmission line by NYSEG
*Learned from Mr. Guterman that the state Department of Environmental Conservation has closed its case on the TCI site in West Ghent. He said the town received a letter from DEC stating the agency is satisfied with the efforts under its direction to clean up the site, and that they deem no further action necessary.
Mr. Guterman also told the board that he and Mr. Raab inspected the site last week and confirmed that there is nothing new going on there. TCI is using an office building, but other than that, Mr. Guterman said, “It’s a dormant site.”
•Authorized Highway Superintendent Mike Losa to put two dump trucks not being used by the town up for auction using Auctions International, an online auction company.