At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday evening, Tom DePietro, chair of the Planning Board, entertained a motion to open the public hearing about 260 State Street, the home more than a century ago of William F. Ball and his family, and the proposal to convert it from an apartment building into a boarding house/hotel called 3rd State. A minute later, at 6:31 p.m., DePietro called for a motion to close the public hearing. No one present wished to make a comment.
The regular meeting of the Planning Board was then called to order. Planning Board member Gene Shetsky reminded DePietro that in the original application two questions on the Short Environmental Assessment Form had not been answered: 3a. Total acreage of the site of the proposed action? and 5b. Is the proposed action consistent with the adopted comprehensive plan? The property owner provided the answers: 1.22 acres and yes. DePietro then led the board through Part 2 of the SEAF, suggesting no as the appropriate answer to each of the eleven questions. When DePietro asked the board to vote on making a negative declaration, Planning Board member Glenn Martin expressed his opposition, indicating that he thought the answer to question 3--Will the proposed action impair the character or quality of the existing community?--should be yes. He said he was not convinced that renting out rooms in the house would not have a negative impact on the neighborhood and expressed his fear that the building would become a "flop house."
The applicant and owner of the building, Kiley Thompson produced TripAdvisor reviews of 3rd State, explained that he required credit cards for security deposits, and assured the board that the rooming house had been working very well with him in residence and continued to work well with his mother-in-law as caretaker.
When the vote was taken to approve the site plan, five members (DePietro, Shetsky, Laura Margolis, Rob Bujan, and Cleveland Samuels) voted in favor; only Martin voted against.
Also of lodging interest, at Thursday's meeting, the Planning Board received a letter from the Common Council requesting a recommendation on the proposed zoning amendment that would create a new zoning subcategory--Residential/Special Commercial 2--in which a hotel would be a conditionally permitted use. The proposed new local law was placed on the aldermen's desks the previous Monday. It is expected that the Planning Board's response will be discussed at their next meeting on April 14.
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