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Plans for Pollace’s to move forward

April 12, 2019 10:03 pm

CATSKILL — Town planners decided Tuesday to continue reviewing site plans for a local resort without an interpretation from the zoning board.

Pollace’s Family Resort, located at 71 Landon Ave., is under review by the board for use as an overnight camp for special needs children. The camp will serve the Hasidic Jewish community and include daily prayers and worship.

Town Attorney Michael Smith and Code Enforcement Officer Elliot Fishman disagreed about how to classify the use of the property when the board reviewed it in February.

Fishman considered it a resort, which was a permitted use, and Smith argued it was a camp, which would require a special-use permit and a public hearing.

The planning board decided to refer the project to the zoning board for an interpretation.

But the board reversed that decision Tuesday due to some new information.

“We are rescinding our request for an interpretation, based on a recommendation from our attorney,” Town of Catskill Planning Board Chairman Joseph Izzo said Thursday. “There was a decision made in the Third Appellate Court that supports what they want to do on the site.”

The applicant, Jacob Bar-Horin, will appear before the board at its next meeting, April 23, Izzo said.

In the case alluded to by Izzo, Yeshiva Talmud Torah Ohr Moshe v. The Zoning Board of Appeals of Wawarsing, the petitioner’s application to operate a religious camp for youth in a Neighborhood Settlement District was denied “because although a place of worship constitutes an allowable use, a camp or any type of occupancy that permits overnight residence of students, staff or families is not allowable.”

The court reversed the decision March 28.

Bar-Horin’s plans allow for 60 children, 60 staff and 50 miscellaneous guests such as family members, engineer Darrin Elsom said in February.

The camp will use existing buildings and no new construction will be necessary.

“We will only renovate if needed to bring things up to code or for maintenance,” Elsom said.

The transition is an emotional time for the resort, which has been in business for more than 70 years.

“The Pollace family would like to thank you for allowing our family to serve you for the past 72 years,” the Pollaces posted on the business Facebook page last month. “With a heavy heart, we have decided we will not be running Pollace’s as a resort this summer. As of March 2019, we are in contract with a buyer for the property. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your loyalty and for allowing our family to become a part of yours throughout all these wonderful years. We feel honored and privileged to have served you and spent all of our summers together. It was truly the best years of our lives.”

The resort will return all deposits, according to the post. If the sale was not complete by July, the business would operate only as a motel.