KINDERHOOK–The Village Planning Board held two public hearings last week on applications for special use permits for two new businesses on Broad Street/Route 9. At the June 6 sessions the board had a debate over a bed-and-breakfast proposed for 5 Board Street. The other project, The Three Sisters Tavern LLC/Dutch Inn, a restaurant, received positive comments from the community and support from the board.
The Village Planning Board had to table approval of the special use permit for the Three Sisters Tavern LLC, which is on the site of what was the Dutch Inn on Broad Street, though board members said they supported the application. The site plan for the restaurant in the basement and first floor of the building have to be reviewed by the county Planning Board before the Village Planning Board can act on it. The county Planning Board will be meet later this month, according to Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons, and then the Village Planning Board can have a special meeting to approve the permit so construction can start.
Jennifer Ose-MacDonald, one of the applicants for the tavern, told the board that this is phase one of the project to open the restaurant and a 10-room hotel in the building. The application for the lodging space has not yet been submitted. She said it was all one project in two phases.
She and co-applicant Jake Samascott came to the meeting with detailed plans for the restaurant and several people at the public hearing said they supported the Dutch Inn opening again. One resident and business owner in the village, Barry Herbold, said that “the demise” of the village commercial district “is due in large part to the Dutch Inn” closing several years ago.
Mayor Jim Dunham said at the meeting that part of the issue when the Dutch Inn closed was that the village did not have a sewer system. In 2012 the village received state and federal grants and loans to connect the business district along Route 9 to the Valatie sewer system. Mayor Dunham pointed out that part of the grant required that the project create 37 new jobs in the village, which the Village Board at the time assumed would be at the Dutch Inn when it reopened. He said the jobs were found in other businesses opening in the village and now there is sewer line the Dutch Inn property can connect to.
He also said that the board was planning to change the law on hotels having off-street parking. Currently in village law, businesses in the business district are not required to have off-street parking for employees and customers, but the law does not mention hotels and bed-and-breakfast establishments. The Village Board plans to change the law so that when those types of businesses open in the village they too will not have to find parking on their property.
One resident, who said she has lived in the village for 40 years, told the public hearing that when the Dutch Inn was open, patrons blocked her driveway. She said she supported the business opening, but “parking will be a concern.”
Village Planning Board member Bruce Charbonneau asked the meeting audience of more than 40 people to raise their hands if they supported the Three Sisters/Dutch Inn application; the vast majority of the room did so.
The other application that the board discussed without reaching a consensus was submitted by Paul Calcagno for a bed-and-breakfast (B&B) across the street from the Dutch Inn. Mr. Calcagno’s property is in a residential zone, though he pointed out that having a B&B is a permitted use in that area. Mr. Herbold said he supported it.
After the public hearings were closed, Planning Board chair Abram Van Alstyne read a letter from neighbors of the property who did not support the application, saying that the house was a private home before Mr. Calcagno planned to put a business in the space and that because Broad Street Bagels, owned by Mr. Calcagno’s family members, is next door to the property, there is “commercial trespass” into the residential zone. The letter says they have concerns about picnic tables meant for the B&B that are being used by customers at the bagel shop, which the letter said was not consistent with the residential area. The letter also claimed that cooking for the proposed B&B was going to be done at the bagel shop, which is not part of the state requirements for a B&B. Opponents also took issue with the parking at the site.
The letter said there is a law saying that if 20% of the adjacent property owners object to a special use permit, the permit cannot be granted.
The Planning Board discussed the site plan with Mr. Calcagno, asking him to move the tables and create a setback on the property. Planning Board members also asked if he had any comments on the letter.
“All of it is not true,” Mr. Calcagno said. He criticized the proposed setbacks and removing the tables, saying that he could put the tables where we wanted on his property. “There is no law against seating in the village,” he said.
Attorney Fitzsimmons said the Planning Board had the right to review the site plan and make suggestions since it was a commercial business.
Mr. Calcagno said the board had no problems with the site plan before the public hearing. He said the B&B has “nothing to do with the bagel store.”
Asked by the board if he was withdrawing his application, Mr. Calcagno said no.
Mr. Charbonneau moved to decline the special use permit. He and Mr. Van Alstyne voted yes to declining the permit but board member Susan Patterson voted no. She said she felt the issue needed to go to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Two board members were absent from the meeting so the motion failed and the application is still up in the air.
In other business at the June 6 meeting, a representative from Stewart’s Shops showed the company’s plans to replace the gas tanks by moving them all to one side of the property, replacing the lighting with LED bulbs, and adding an outdoor seating area with a picnic tables and a bike rack for the part of the company’s property that is on the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail, a state trail that is currently under construction and will be completed by 2020.
The next Village Planning Board meeting will be Tuesday, July 2 at 7 p.m.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email