Bethel has developments in the works
By Dan Hust
WHITE LAKE January 11 The lookalike hotel and conference center proposed to replace White Lake’s Mansion House took a major step forward Tuesday, earning site plan approval.
But that was only one of three notable projects Bethel’s planning board discussed at its regular meeting.
Building a new Mansion House
Responding to public concerns aired at a hearing in October, engineer Jess Sudol speaking on behalf of the Rochester firm Globe Developers, which has spent the past three years developing the project said the new hotel will match the design of the circa-1848 Mansion House as much as possible.
He also indicated Globe Developers will agree to only tear down the original hotel when the new one is going up.
Indeed, that’s a condition of the site plan approval granted Tuesday. Planning Board Chair Dan Gettel said a “developer’s agreement” will be required, which in part will also stipulate that the Mansion House replica be the first of the hotel/spa’s three buildings to obtain a certificate of occupancy.
Additionally in response to public comments from October, the planning board is requiring Globe to furnish two performance bonds: a $162,000 one for site stabilization, and a $23,000 one for landscaping.
The site plan approval is also conditioned upon Globe paying all town fees and securing the necessary state and federal permits.
“You’re talking another good year here before they break ground,” Code Enforcement Officer BJ Gettel told the Democrat after the meeting.
Still, with the site plan approval, special use permit, and negative SEQRA declaration in hand, Globe Developers President Pawel Efraimov (who was in attendance) is well along in his $22 million effort to return the site to its hospitality roots.
Some of the original building’s furnishings including the front doors may be incorporated into the new structure, as the Mansion House though long unoccupied is the oldest still-standing hotel in Sullivan County.
Habitat for Humanity, however, has put in a request for the windows, which are vinyl replacements installed less than a decade ago, according to the planning board.
Dollar General back
An aborted Dollar General project returned to the planning board Tuesday, now proposed for the corner of Royce Road and 17B, rather than the initial location slightly closer to White Lake.
Representatives said percolation tests were happening this week on the two-acre lot which will host the 9,000-square-foot store. They discussed minor lighting and landscaping issues with the board, promising to resolve any remaining issues by next month.
As a result, the planning board unanimously agreed to set a public hearing on the project for February 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Camping during Woodstock
What could have been an impasse turned into cooperation Tuesday.
Bethel resident Jeryl Abramson told the planning board that her engineer had reviewed the town engineer’s comments on her and husband Roy Howard’s plans for a temporary campground and determined the town engineer’s requests would cost the couple an extra $61,000.
“Our engineer’s response was that, for a three-day event, these requests are not feasible,” she explained. “So I think we need to come to a more reasonable expectation.”
As in the past, the couple hopes to host Woodstock anniversary celebrants at their Route 17B property, the former Max Yasgur homestead.
But unlike in the past, this time they found a township interested in flexibly accommodating their plans.
In fact, Chairman Gettel indicated he disagreed with some of the town engineer’s requests, chalking it up to the engineer’s possible unfamiliarity with the property.
Gettel specifically felt that requirements to improve Yasgur Road and create a far more detailed topographic survey for the site plan were unnecessary and probably constituted the bulk of that extra estimated $61,000, garnering agreement from Abramson.
He deemed the rest of the requests relatively minor and suggested Abramson’s engineer and the town engineer have a meeting to resolve the issues.
“Some of these are just changes on paper,” Gettel pointed out.
Abramson indicated she’ll ensure that meeting happens, and she plans to be back at next month’s planning board meeting to proceed with a plan to set up 214 campsites for this August’s Woodstock anniversary.
“I’m trying to comply,” she noted.
“And we’re trying to be cooperative,” affirmed Gettel.