ACCORD – An application for a "special use permit – resort" for redevelopment of the Rondout Golf Course and Country Club returned to the Rochester planning board this past Monday, July 10. On hand were Nadine Carey, of Peak Engineering in Stone Ridge, and developer Taavo Somer.
The proposal is to expand the golf course's main building into a 12-room hotel, and add a new restaurant building and barn for outdoor events. In addition, twelve 450 square foot one-bedroom cabins would be constructed, as well as a new swimming pool and tennis courts. There would also be an expansion of the parking area.
The proposal has some changes from its first appearance at the planning board in February. The previous plan envisioned completely closing the golf course and selling as many as 12 homes from a residential subdivision. That part of the plan is now gone. At least 9 holes of golf will be retained for the new resort.
Construction would proceed in several phases with the first phase seeing a relocation of the golf pro-shop and parking for the golf course. And it should be noted that whatever happens, next year — 2018 — will see a full season of 18-hole golf on the course. All these changes will come somewhat further down the line.
Discussion of the proposed hotel centered on its height and whether three stories were contemplated. If so, a variance would be needed, although planning board chair Mike Baden said that the applicant could continue the review process with the planning board while seeking that variance.
Baden also suggested a noise study would be required for any outdoor events. He also noted that the road would need to be widened for fire vehicles and added that, "personally, I feel this is a fabulous expansion of this property."
Also on Monday, a large crowd filled the community center for the climax of the application process for Project Cat, a cat shelter established on Lucas Turnpike. Most of the crowd opposed the shelter because of the policy of Gail Mihocko, who operates Project Cat, when it comes to euthanizing feral and sick cats. However, as Baden noted several times, the public hearing had been closed and this session was only for the board members to make comments and vote.
Rick Jones, one of the new members of the board, read a prepared list of comments. He had researched the issues raised and found they did not affect any zoning questions regarding Project Cat. In fact, he noted that many of the letters opposing the application were form letters and most came from beyond the borders of the Town of Rochester.
Notable in the front row of opponents was Len Bernardo, who expects to run for town supervisor this fall.
The board unanimously approved the application and a draft resolution on it. Baden cut Mihocko's final statement short when it drifted into commentary on the opposition. The crowd moved outside and continued a long and active discussion of their complaints.
Finally, a long-standing application by Crystal Creek Equestrian center on Route 44-55 just past the junction with Granite Road, returned. A previously proposed 9800 square foot indoor riding arena has been abandoned in favor of an outdoor riding ring. Also, two of the existing six apartments will be repurposed, one as an office and one as a classroom.
The application will be referred to the county and the state Department of Transportation. A public hearing was scheduled for August.