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Public reviews golf course hotel

Charles Kuehn’s rendering of the Greens Suites Hotel in Catskill.
July 11, 2019 04:49 pm Updated: July 11, 2019 11:57 pm

CATSKILL — Community members voiced their concerns about a proposed hotel for the Catskill Golf Course at the town planning board meeting Tuesday night.

Green Suites Resort, proposed for construction on Brooks Lane in Jefferson Heights, is a four-story, 48-unit hotel.

The project was temporarily halted while golf course owner David Vipler, town planners and village officials discussed how to increase water pressure on Brooks Lane to handle the new building safely.

Vipler applied for a $8.2 million grant from Empire State Development but will pay the $179,500 out of pocket to put in 1,920 feet of new water lines if he does not receive the grant. The new water line will benefit 52 homes, Vipler said.

The resort will be partially hidden from many of the homes, Vipler said.

“The hotel will sit fairly close to the road so that we wouldn’t have to disturb any of the woodline that’s in back of the hotel,” he said.

There will be an event space in the hotel for weddings and conferences, Vipler said. Vipler’s development partner, Mark Salomon, said the rooms are designed as suites with full kitchens.

Rich Keil asked if the project involves any changes to the street, such as adding sidewalks.

Salomon said they would not be changing the street.

“The street is big enough for another 50 cars to be going down it all the time?” Keil said. “It’s a sleepy neighborhood as far as I’m concerned.”

Guests arriving at the hotel will be checking in late in the afternoon and leaving in the early morning, Salomon said.

“It’s really not going to affect traffic flow,” he said. “It’s a stay and play. They’re going to be playing through the entire day.”

Ann Marie Krieg asked how Vipler was going to manage parking for the guests.

Guests will primarily be parking behind the hotel, Vipler said.

“There’s not going to be a lot of traffic flow because these are permanent overnight guests that are going to be staying,” Vipler said.

Vipler estimates that with the decrease in the number of golfers, if the hotel is at 50% occupancy there will still be less traffic than there was 10 years ago.

Planning Board Chairman Joseph Izzo said the board did not anticipate any traffic issues because of the project.

The planning board will ask the town board to install No Parking signs along Brooks Lane, Izzo said.

Keil also expressed concern about the hotel’s long-term viability.

“In the event that this fails, is there any way to prevent from having Section 8 housing in there?” he said.

Salomon said he is confident in the business plan.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if we thought it would fail,” he said.

Salomon developed The Falls, a luxury apartment complex in Hudson. Voters named The Falls “Best Wedding Venue” in the 2019 Best of Columbia County Awards.

“Everybody said the same thing, that we were going to fail,” he said. One-hundred-percent occupied with a one-year waiting list.”

Resident John Wynne spoke in favor of the hotel.

“Catskill is changing and you have to accept that,” he said. “I think this is a nice solution to make a failing business successful.”

Former Doubles II co-owner Sam Aldi agreed.

“I’m happy you’re doing this investment and I think it’s going to be successful,” he said. “I have a lot of nurse friends who’d love to come up here but can’t find accommodations.”

Wynne asked how the hotel will be used in the off-season.

“We will be working in a partnership with Windham Mountain,” Salomon said. “We’re going to be purchasing a shuttle.”

The resort will offer visitors affordable lodging, expose them to Catskill businesses, all while still keeping them connected to the mountaintop attractions, Salomon said.

The resort may also offer cross country skiing on the golf course, Salomon said.

“It’s going to be an amenity hotel,” Vipler said. “And the amenity is not just golf. It’s going to be a pool, it’s going to be wiffle ball and possibly a tennis court.”

Visitors can also walk or bike on trails on the golf course, Vipler said.

Amy Rose expressed concern over golfers coming onto her property.

“They come over to get their balls,” she said. “I’m worried that with an increase in people staying and playing, it is going to be more of a problem.”

Vipler proposed to add signage to discourage golfers from trespassing.

Meryl Learnihan questioned why the hotel needed to be so large.

“We had options of doing it two ways: to encroach on the property by spreading it out or basically bringing it up,” Salomon said.

The developers also wanted to build something unique, Salomon said.

“If we build your typical motel, it is going to fail,” he said. “It has no pull to any of the clientele that we’re trying to bring in to the area.”

Vipler hopes to break ground on the project next spring, he said.

The project is a nearly $10 million investment, Vipler said.

The planning board ruled the project would not have an adverse effect on the environment and voted to close the public hearing. The board has 62 days to decide on the special-use permit.