The developers of the proposed Bradley Hotel on lower Main Street have presented scaled-down plans. There will be a public hearing on the matter on Feb. 13 at town hall.
The developers of the proposed new Bradley Hotel on lower Main Street have gone back to the drawing board, literally and figuratively. In a recent meeting with the Port Washington News, the principals shared their new scaled-down plans, which take into consideration the input that they have received during the public hearing and in other meetings with community leaders.
Responding to residents' concerns about the scope of the hotel, they have reduced the number of hotel rooms from 52 to 46. The meeting space capacity has been reduced from 2,200 square feet. Rob Salvatico of the Wingate Hotels, who will operate the hotel if it is built, estimates that the two meeting rooms will hold 60 people each, or 120 if the rooms are combined. The developers have also reduced the size of the footprint from over 11,000 square feet to just over 10,000 by eliminating the swimming pool that was previously part of the plans. In response to comments about the design, they have "softened" the parapet roofline feature. According to Joe D'Alonzo of Cow Bay Contracting, one of the principals, "The gazebo is the same size, but the shape has changed--the old design is more pointy. The rooftop parapets are reduced in height." D'Alonzo said that the "buffer zone" at the back of the hotel that separates the commercial strip from the residential area has been doubled in size-from 5 feet to 10 feet. In addition, there will be a sound-dampening fence at the rear of the property. D'Alonzo commented, "We tried to soften the impact."
The main opposition to the hotel, as expressed at the public hearing and in letters and advertisement in the Port News, has been the fear that the hotel will exacerbate the existing problems of traffic on Main Street. D'Alonzo and Matt Daguanno of CPC Pools, another principal, are both longtime Port Washington residents and acknowledged the problem. They denied, however, that the hotel will have a major impact on that traffic. "A hotel is the least intensive permissible use," said D'Alonzo. At the end of the day, there will be some three-story commercial building there." He added, "I think we've been a lightening rod for an already existing situation. It's like a drop of water in a great river, but we add to the situation. We have offered to be a part of the solution." Based on his experience with similar hotels, Salvatico estimated that the 46 rooms would generate about 20 cars. He said, "People will come by train, boat and taxi. Most don't want to use their cars. They like to walk downtown and eat in local restaurants, which will be great for business." The hotel plans to offer a jitney to go up and down Main Street, which will further ameliorate traffic problems.
Independent of whatever commercial building will occupy that space, the Town of North Hempstead is taking steps to address the traffic issues. They are proposing to purchase the property at the southwest corner of Main Street and Jackson Avenue in order to provide a left-hand-turn lane onto Shore Road. There was a recent public hearing on that proposal, which is described in detail in the January 11 Port Washington News.
In a recent letter to the Port News, the General Council of Homeowner Associations has taken a position in favor of the revised plans for the Bradley Hotel. James Ansel, president of the General Council, wrote, in part, "We are of opinion that the proposed Bradley Hotel will add needed vitality to both Main Street and greater Port Washington." A number of Main Street business owners with whom we spoke were also in favor, but did not want to speak on the record because of the risk of offending good customers who may feel differently.
A public hearing is planned for Feb. 13 at 7:30 at town hall to consider the new proposal and the request for variances. Neither Council member Fred Pollack nor Supervisor Jon Kaiman has yet taken a position on the hotel proposal. Pollack said, "I continue to keep an open mind, and am awaiting the public hearing to get more community input." Kaiman commented, "The town is continuing to gather information on the subject, and will entertain any and all comments from the community as we review this matter and bring it before the public."