Site of the proposed Bradley Hotel. The property was rezoned by the Town Board, but with restrictions. A for sale sign is on the property.
After numerous public meetings, two postponements, and a great deal of public controversy, the Town of North Hempstead (TONH) board last week unanimously approved a rezoning for the site of the proposed Bradley Hotel on lower Main Street, but with restrictions. The most significant restriction is the prohibition of underground parking. That part of the resolution reads as follows: "All accessory parking, drop-off and receiving shall be on-grade. There shall be no underground parking or loading areas." In order to comply with the TONH requirements for parking spaces vis-à-vis the number of rooms, the originally submitted plans called for an underground garage with valet parking.
Other restrictions include a prohibition against "rooftop activities" (the current plans include a roof garden) and a requirement that the first floor lounge be for the exclusive use of hotel patrons and guests. Also prohibited is any bar, grill or pub catering to outside customers. The original plans never included a restaurant or food service in the hotel, but they did include a small bar-lounge for hotel guests.
The rezoning involves a change of zone from Residence-C (R-C) to Business (B-B) of an approximately 8300-square-foot portion of the property in question. The strip abuts a residential community on Jackson and Covert Streets. Should the developers fail to adhere to any of the listed conditions; the zoning will revert back to Residence-C. In addition, the resolution restricts the change of zone only for use as a "hotel, lodge, inn, or bed and breakfast"-type establishment. If the property is sold for any other use, the new owner would need to apply for a rezoning if desired.
In his public statement, Council member Fred Pollack commented, "When this issue was last before us...the intensity of the debate may well have masked the fact that we all agreed on what we wanted to accomplish: We would all like to see this proposal for a hotel in Port Washington become a reality. We also agreed, however, that the plan for underground parking, as submitted, does not and cannot work. The environmental and design issues which it presents cannot be successfully addressed on this site." He went on to say that the board wanted to "encourage the developers to move forward while finding an alternative way to handle off-street parking."
Pollack went on to say, "I recognize that those who oppose this hotel entirely will not be satisfied; neither will those who believe that we should approve the hotel under any circumstances." Pollack and Supervisor Jon Kaiman reiterated at this and the previous board meeting that they believe that a hotel in Port Washington is essential for the revitalization of the downtown areas. Both, however, said that they wanted to be sure that any hotel that is approved is appropriate to the site on which it is built and meets the needs of the community. Both thanked the community for their active participation. Pollack said that he was pleased with the board's decision. "I think we accomplished our goals," he said.
Joseph D'Alonzo, a lifelong Port Washington resident and one of the principal developers, said that the partners are now considering their options in the light of the board's decision. One option is to scale back the scope of the hotel, which may not be economically feasible. The current plan calls for 46 rooms (down from 52) and two conference rooms that are also smaller than those that were originally proposed. Another option is to acquire additional property, which, according to D'Alonzo, may be possible. D'Alonzo and Matt Daguanno, one of the other partners, said that the partners are also seriously considering cutting their losses and selling the property. They said that they have at least one interested buyer, a 7-11 store. There is currently a "For Sale" sign posted on the property with a contact number.
The property, on lower Main Street across from the town dock and next to the tire store, is currently zoned for a three-story commercial building. Another owner could construct as of right, providing that they built to code.
In an effort to improve traffic flow, whether or not the hotel is built, the TONH board voted to acquire the property on the southwest corner of Main and Jackson to provide a left hand turn lane and additional parking spaces for the merchants who will lose on-street parking in front of their stores.
Should the hotel developers decide to proceed, the next step is to submit their revised plans to the building department. If there are any zoning variances required, they must be approved by the Board of Zoning and Appeals (BZA). The next step is site plan review, which is performed by the town board.