DELMAR — Real McCoy’s plans to expand with a commercial kitchen grew more contentious than the dozens of letters supporting the venture suggested in its file on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Owners of the popular nano-craft brewery in Delmar’s Warehouse District fielded questions during a public hearing in front of the Bethlehem Zoning Board of Appeals. The letters of support they filed along with their proposal, including those from state Assemblywoman Pat Fahy and Senator Neil Breslin, urged the board to allow for a disconnected kitchen at the end of the Hallwood Road property. Opposition, however, came from property owners and residents next door.
The zoning board has asked for more information regarding the kitchen’s exhaust fan before proceeding with its decision.
Owner Michael Bellini wants to modify two, 40-foot shipping containers into a small, commercial kitchen. The renderings of the plan shows a continuation of the modern industrial look present in the town’s warehouse district of Hallwood Road.
Each of the “high-cube” containers stand 9-feet and 6-inches tall, measure 8-feet wide and 40-feet long. The metal containers, often seen on cargo ships and freight trains, would be cut and modified with large, glass doors accented by black lattice. The interior would appear to include dark wood flooring with a large, granite counter top for patrons facing an open kitchen complete with stainless steel appliances. In addition to indoor seating space, the plan includes a patio-like dining area with umbrellas, just outside of it.
At issue would be the placement of the kitchen, which is proposed to sit at the back end of the 20 Hallwood Road property, nosing a property line defined by pine trees, a stockade fence and a 10-foot retaining wall. The kitchen will stand as close as nearly 9 feet from the property line and just over 12 feet from its back neighbor’s closest structure.
Diana Skuza, whose family lives in the Delaware Avenue home behind Real McCoy, said she fears the kitchen’s exhaust fan will not only be noisy, but it will blow grease and protein particles in their backyard. When Bellini’s representative shared that the fan would be the same one used as a neighboring restaurant, she said you can see a “dirt spot” all around it. “So, thank you for that.”
The Winn family, who own and once occupied the rental property behind the brewery, also spoke against the prospect of added noise and debris. George Winn, who manages the property, said his tenant is no longer able to open their back windows on account of the noise presently there.
Town holds public hearing on moratorium
DELMAR — The Bethlehem Town Board hosted a public hearing on its pending 12-month moratorium on Tuesday, Nov. 23. Board members could vote it into law as early as next month.
The town is preparing a 12-month moratorium that will affect applications for residential development. The move, which is subject to the town first passing a local law, has the potential to impact two dozen proposals already on the table, involving more than 800 housing units.
Like in 2004, the town is preparing an overall plan to direct future development and growth. The town is preparing to update its comprehensive plan, a task not expected to be completed for nearly a year. A moratorium is expected to allow the town more time so that development proposals don’t overrun their efforts.
Once in place, none of the town boards will be allowed to review, hold a hearing, or render a decision on residential subdivision applications containing more than four units. This includes existing subdivisions proposing to expand. Also excluded are applications to establish a planned development district, and site plans containing units within residential care, nursing homes or senior citizen housing.
The intended threshold is to allow plans to proceed if they’ve already reached final approval. Other proposed plans still waiting for such approval would be held back through the duration of the moratorium. Whereas some proposals are cleared after a state environmental impact review, others such as a new subdivision still go through an additional plot review. Subdivisions still waiting upon a final plot approval won’t be able to proceed.