By Nathan Mayberg
KIAMESHA LAKE June 9, 2006 Representatives of Concord Associates, led by developer Louis Cappelli, went over their massive plans to redevelop the Concord Hotel on Tuesday in front of the Town of Thompson Board.
They are requesting approval from the town board for a Planned Resort Development which will allow them to build their mega-development of homes, retail space, a casino, convention center and two new hotels.
The details involve a ten-year plan which includes a full renovation of the old hotel into a 1,500-room luxury hotel with 410,000 square feet of convention center and casino space. Three thousand units would be built throughout the 1,735-acre property owned by Cappelli. 600 acres of the site would be preserved for open space. The residential units would range from single-family homes to townhouses, apartments, villas and condominiums. Two-thirds would be seasonal.
Asked why so many homes were being proposed, Concord Manager Henry Zabatta replied that they would only be built if their plans for a casino were approved by the state.
At the Monster Golf Course and International Golf Course, a new hotel/spa and clubhouse would be built as part of the first phase of the construction plan. The four-story five star hotel would range between 125 and 200 rooms, and the spa would cover 20,000 square feet. A 63,000-square-foot clubhouse would replace the existing one, along with a new restaurant.
About 625,000 square feet of retail space has been proposed, including convenience stores and a strip mall.
The group has submitted a draft environmental impact statement to the planning board, which is available for public viewing at the Town of Thompson Hall in Kiamesha Lake.
Planning Consultant Robert Geneslaw has been hired to review the document. He is being paid by the applicant and has requested more information. The board has yet to act on the application.
In other town business, Jap Starr, a resident of Swinging Bridge, complained about his home continuing to be assessed at the level it was before the reservoir was nearly emptied due to the sinkhole discovered last year. He said the lack of water has prohibited anybody from selling their properties over the last year. In addition, the assessments were doubled two years ago.
Starr said he met with Town Assessor Nora Hughson but was told his assessment would not be lowered. She cited three home sales at Swinging Bridge, but Starr took issue with all of them. All three were made before the sinkhole was discovered, he said. They date back to November of 2004, April of 2005 and June of 2005. The one in June closed only because the buyer would have lost a down payment of $75,000, which he placed before the sinkhole was discovered in May, said Starr.
Starr filed a grievance with the Board of Assessment Review but was told his assessment would not be lowered.
Town Supervisor Anthony Cellini said he would meet with Hughson. The town engineer said he has met with contractors working at the reservoir for Mirant and said the work could be completed by August. After that time, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may allow the water to return to normal levels.
On another hot topic, local physician Abraham Garfinkel stood up for Catskill Regional Medical Center, which is currently in the midst of a heated feud with Crystal Run Healthcare. Garfinkel, who sits on the Executive Committee at the hospital and is the Town of Thompson Health Officer, gave a speech in which he told the board to trust CRMC and show its support for the health center.
Our hospital has come a long way, he said, citing significant technological upgrades over the years and a staff of 78 active physicians.
Cellini noted the board passed a resolution recently urging the two health centers to work together.