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Pridwin Phase 1 poised for approval by ZBA

If last week’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting is any indication, agreement from Pridwin owners Glenn and Gregg Petry to reroute traffic, buffer noise and lights could result in an agreement to issue permits needed for renovations and expansions.

The Petrys are aiming to be able to start work on Phase 1 of the project — renovations to the existing structure — this month. Zoning Board Chairman Doug Matz told the brothers at the Sept. 25 meeting that could happen if both sides reach agreement so the ZBA could structure its approval for a special permit.

The original date the Petrys sought to begin renovations was right after Columbus Day, which falls on Oct. 14 with the ZBA work session slated two days later. The aim of the Petrys is to get Phase 1 completed in time to reopen by Memorial Day weekend 2020.

Albert D’Agostino, attorney for Prospect Avenue property owner Jack Sahl, raised other issues about the ZBA approving the project with the Petrys’ attorney, John Bennett, arguing against various premises:

Mr. D’Agostino said The Pridwin is a nonconforming use in a residential district, but also in the Near Shore Overlay District, so designated because the area is considered environmentally sensitive. He maintained the overlay district is not specifically listed as a zone and a use variance would be required for the changes proposed, not a special permit.

Because of the heightened sensitivity, he maintained there would be a need for Type 1 environmental review on Phase 1 and Phase 2 — the expansion of the Pridwin — and said that had not been done on Phase 1.

He further charged that the there was an “improper segmentation of a single project” to make it appear the plans were less intense and would have a lesser impact on the surrounding community than he thought it would.

Mr. Bennett said there was a “fatal flaw in every one of Mr. D’Agostino’s arguments.”

He said the Near Shore Overlay District is within the zoning code and therefore the ZBA has authority to grant relief for his client. The special permit sought for the two-phase project is appropriate for a project that would otherwise be an area variance, not a use variance as Mr. D’Agostino had said.

“We’re not segmenting anything,” Mr. Bennett said.

Plans for both phases of the project were submitted together and an environmental study applies to both phases. As for the overall project having a greater impact on an environmentally sensitive area, he said a report from Sherman Engineering demonstrated how the full project would have less impact on water use than the current hotel structure has. The report shows there would be “a net benefit” to neighboring property, Mr. Bennett said.

Mr. D’Agostino countered that he was not objecting to the goal of upgrading the existing hotel and restaurant, but the second phase that includes an activities center to accommodate weddings and similar events represents “stretching the envelope.”

As for Phase 2 that would include building a second facility on the property to be used primarily as a site for weddings and other special events and an activities center for hotel guests at other times, Mr. Bennett briefly outlined those plans along with project manager Rob Coburn of Cape Advisors.

The public hearing on Phase 2 was kept open by the ZBA for continued testimony at its Oct. 23 meeting. But a decision on Mr. D’Agostino’s appeal regarding Phase 1 could well be rendered at the work session on Oct. 23 with vote taken that night or the following week.