By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO November 21, 2003 On Tuesday, November 18, the Town of Thompson Board and the Planning Board held a joint meeting to listen to the latest in the plans for the Concord Hotel from Cappelli Associates.
Company officials gave an overview of the project, saying they want to create a new kind of zoning called a Planned Resort Development Zone. This would enable them to complete their project on 1,700 acres of land.
The plan itself is still being developed, but an overview was offered. First and foremost would be the Concord Hotel and Convention Center, a 1,500-room hotel with 3,000 housing units (a combination of apartments, single-family houses, and condominiums).
There would be a village center that would have shops and restaurants, in addition to a 500-room spa and lodge on-site. They might also add a 450,000-square-feet Indian gaming casino that would be attached to the hotel.
Town Supervisor Tony Cellini told the representatives that two other major housing projects were also being talked about in the general vicinity. Cellini wanted to know their position on it.
We have no specific position, replied project attorney Michael Kaplan. However, we do have an issue with the Heatherwood project. It is not zoned for housing. It is highway-commercial. It should be used as such.
We will not have the 800-pound gorilla come in and dictate to us what we do with other projects, Cellini retorted. I am quite disturbed that the 800-pound gorilla would object to a zone change.
Kaplan stated the zone change was up to the town. They just wanted to work with the boards and make the best project possible.
Between the hotel, the spa, the casino, and the housing, concerns were raised if there was enough sewage. At the moment there is, Kaplan stated, but with a casino, it would have to be revised.
What is your timeline? asked Town Board member Stewart Peppy Satenstein. It sounds like you will need a 60-year time plan.
If we got approval tonight and a shovel went in the ground tomorrow, it would be five to ten years, Kaplan replied. We would do the hotel and casino first. We do want to study the impacts. We have it planned as the same size as Foxwoods.
Town Engineer Richard McGoey raised several concerns, including if creating the new zone was spot zoning. According to the zone criteria, there is no other project that would qualify.
McGoeys next concern was if the property was subdivided and there were multiple owners. These issues and others will be addressed in the future, said officials.
At one time, Cappelli planned a monorail that would go from the Concord to other destinations in the town such as Holiday Mountain and the other casinos. Cellini asked if it was still in the plans.
It is not off the radar, Kaplan replied. However, it is not in our immediate plans.
The representatives pledged to move forward with or without gambling. Further discussion is expected at the Tuesday, December 2 meeting.