Catskills developer ordered to halt Hudson River hotel project

Site of the James Newbury Hotel with proposed rendering (Aaron Flach)

A historic New York village along the Hudson River has challenged a developer whose nearly completed hotel ended up blocking river views.

The village of Coxsackie issued a stop-work order on the five-story boutique hotel after officials said its construction sidestepped plans submitted by the developer, the Times-Union reported

The 46-room James Newbury Hotel and Wire Event Center was set to open this fall by local developer Aaron Flach, who had submitted plans for a four-story, riverfront hotel with a banquet hall big enough for 600 guests.

The village Planning Board had approved plans to add three stories to an existing structure on the Hudson River waterfront to create the four-story building. Instead, Flach demolished the original building and built a five-story hotel in its place, after he’d received more than $1 million in tax breaks. The mostly completed fifth floor exceeds local height restrictions and hinders river views.

After the Catskills town of 9,000 issued the order, it released a statement saying “some aspects of what has been built are not in compliance with the Village Code and/or the planning board approved site plan.”

The village said the developer will need to submit an updated site plan for the project for a new review by its planning board.

“Anyone who … had seen the initial renderings would have noticed that the plans had changed along the way,” said Village Trustee Katlyn Irwin. “And while modifications are to be expected, I think that with the addition of the looming top floor it became clear that this project had taken on a life of its own.”

The Greene County Industrial Development Agency granted the Newbury Hotel project $951,000 in property tax breaks and also exempted sales taxes for construction. Its executive director said it was aware of “any changes” to the project, and that any new plans wouldn’t impact the tax concessions.

The Newbury Hotel is the start of a larger Flach plan to redevelop the Coxsackie waterfront with a restaurant and an event center.

It’s unclear what will happen next, according to the newspaper. Flach sent a statement after declining to answer questions.

“While we believe the village building department was provided everything required of the project, we will be working with the village board and others to ensure full compliance,” he said. “We have completed many successful restoration and building projects in this area and will continue to make the community proud.”

[Times-Union] – Dana Bartholomew

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