Via Highlands Current
By Leonard Sparks, Senior Editor, July 16, 2021
Parsonage would be demolished for new hotel
Parking, traffic and the demolition of a structure dating to the mid-1800s.
Those are some of the concerns facing a team of investors who want to renovate the historic Reformed Church of Beacon into an event space with a capacity of 500 and demolish the church’s parsonage and replace it with a 30-room hotel.
Prophecy Theater LLC faced pushback on Tuesday (July 13), when they introduced their project to Beacon’s Planning Board. Gavin Hecker, one of Prophecy Theater’s owners, said the group considers the parsonage beyond repair and said a previous study determined it had no historical significance.
On July 20th, 2021, the Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing to review a significant variance request from the developers of the 248 Tioronda project on Fishkill creek (Tioronda Ave, south of Route 9d/Wolcott Ave.)
The application was submitted to the building department first and was rejected by the building inspector, David Buckley. Mr. Buckley directed the developers to apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
In 2017, the Beacon City Council updated the zoning requirements for the Fishkill Creek, and required that each new development include at least 25% dedicated to commercial uses.
The project at 248 Tioronda was approved by the Planning Board in April 2020 after a multi year process. It includes 64 residential units and 25,400 SF of office space. The residential units will be two buildings with 32 apartments each, and the office space will be in a third building.
Developers Bernard (Berry) Kohn and Michael Silberberg of 248 Beacon Holdings LLC are asking for a variance from the regulation that requires non residential space be built before or concurrently with the residential development of the property.
The variance application includes a letter from The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), tapped by the developers to finance the project. Michael Kroog, Vice President Mortgage Officer at CPC indicates that they are only able to finance the residential portion of the project.
The Community Preservation Corporation is described on its website as providing "construction and permanent financing for multi-family properties"
If the developers genuinely wanted to finance the commercial portion of the project they should have pursued financing with an appropriate lender. Furthermore, one rejection letter from a lender that does not deal with commercial projects is not sufficient to demonstrate inability to finance the commercial portion of the project.
Also of concern - if the variance is approved, and the residential portion is built first, it is unclear how the city will be able to enforce the building of the commercial portion as required.
The public is encouraged to attend the Zoning Board of Appeals July 20th meeting and express their opposition to this dubious variance request.