Apartments proposed for former St. Pat’s school

The former St. Patrick’s Academy on Woodland Avenue. The village planning board reviewed plans to convert the school into apartments. Sarah Trafton/Columbia-Greene Media

CATSKILL — The village planning board is reviewing a proposal to convert the former St. Patrick’s Academy on Woodland Avenue into apartments.

Unauthorized construction on the property in early 2019 earned scrutiny from village residents, as new owner Dennis Frascello attempted to convert the academic building into rental apartments.

Village President Vincent Seeley said he saw two completed apartments and one under construction during a site visit in late January 2019.

“My recommendation was, stop what you’re doing because this needs to be rezoned,” Seeley said.

The property lies in an R1, or residential 1, zone, which means it would have to be rezoned for multiple dwellings.

Planning Board Chairman Patrick McCulloch agreed the property is not zoned for apartments.

Frascello can request the village board to rezone the property or go to the zoning board of appeals seeking a variance, McCulloch said.

“It’s in their hands as to what direction they want to go,” McCulloch said.

The number of apartments Frascello wants to build was not specified in the proposal, McCulloch said.

Another part of the plan includes renovating the former gym at the school and renting the building to the county for storage of records, McCulloch said.

McCulloch said it has not yet been determined whether Frascello will need a use variance for the gym.

Thursday’s meeting was to review the village’s zoning laws in accordance with the new comprehensive plan, which the village board adopted in February.

“Because of all the attention around St. Pat’s for years, we decided to allow them to present at the beginning of our meeting,” McCulloch said.

About 40 people were in attendance, McCulloch said, adding that a phone line had been set up so residents had the option of listening in.

Members of the Frascello family and their attorney presented to the board but no decisions on the project were made and there was no public comment portion, McCulloch said.

Several future meetings will be held with either the zoning board or village board, depending on which route the Frascellos take, before the project comes back to the planning board, and these meetings will give the public ample opportunity to comment, McCulloch said.

Other upcoming projects include Gas Land, proposed for Route 9W, and the former Agway on West Bridge Street, McCulloch said, adding that the board has not received plans from the new owners.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

(1) comment

Deb Johnson

What a waste for the gym at St. Pat's. A facility such as that could be a great benefit to our community. Why couldn't the Community Center move to the gym or move the Library there where there is parking and space to get in an out for Seniors and families.

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