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Pridwin ‘Phase 1’ skating through ZBA

The Pridwin Hotel owners want to renovate the property.

The so-called “Phase I” of the Pridwin Hotel project looks likely to gain approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals, but still has hurdles to surmount, including necessary permits from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services and the Town Board.

ZBA members at their August 21 work session agreed that Phase I of the project was, in the words of member Phil DiOrio, “pretty straightforward” with respect to its securing a special permit for the first major renovation undertaken in 25 years.

A reduction of restaurant seating by 100 pleased the ZBA and Mr. DiOrio said he wants to ensure that no matter what happens with “Phase II” of the project, guest sleeping rooms will not exceed 49.

Even if action on the second phase is not completed in a timely way, Town Attorney Bob DeStefano Jr. advised members they should still require the planned upgrade to an “I/A” nitrogen-reducing septic system for Phase I.

The proposed use would actually decrease intensity, ZBA Chairman Doug Matz said.

The one vocal objector to the overall plan, Jack Sahl, had hired attorney Albert D’Agostino who had submitted a number of questions about the project to the ZBA that forwarded the queries to Pridwin co-owner Glenn Petry.

Mr. Petry submitted answers, indicating:

• The basic footprint of the hotel will change  less than 10% even with the addition of a new covered entryway.

• Use of the property will remain the same and there’s no increase in guest rooms or change in intensity of use.

Many of the questions in Mr. D’Agostino’s  letter to the ZBA are issues for the Town Board or Suffolk Country Department of Health Services, according to Mr. Matz.

The Town Board will assess whether the project gets a wetlands permit and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services will assess plans for septics and well placement. If Phase I gets a go-ahead from the Town Board and County Health Department, construction could begin after Columbus Day in October. Then Glenn and Gregg Petry want Phase I completed prior to Memorial Day in 2020 so they can open the hotel for their summer guests as usual.

“Phase II ” proposes changes to cottages, the parking area and an “activities center.” The latter could be open to more scrutiny, although Glenn Petry said last month that plans did not call for any intensity of use, because at times when the Pridwin held weddings or other events at the activities center, he didn’t envision the hotel operating at full tilt.

If, after more meetings, the ZBA, Town Board and County Health Department were to render a positive decision on Phase II, the Petrys propose to start work on that part of the project after Columbus Day in 2020 and to conclude it prior to Memorial Day 2021.

The ZBA has closed the hearing on Phase I and could render its decision as early as this evening, Wednesday, August 28, at its regular meeting, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

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