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Board approves hotel

WATKINS GLEN--The Watkins Glen Planning Board gave their approval to the proposed new Franklin St. boutique hotel on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
Final site review was granted to The Glen Resort,to be located at 214 N. Franklin St. The property is owned by Jim Guild and located above the current chamber of commerce offices.
Previously, the village had recommended the new hotel needed to resolve parking concerns before the village would give final approval for the proposed 17 guest room facility. While current code requires a parking space for each guest when a new hotel is constructed, The Glen Resort will be contained within an existing building and is therefore grandfathered from that parking requirement. The hotel requested the state Department of Transportation for permission to load and unload guests at their Franklin St. entrance (which is also State Route 14). The DOT responded that the decision was at the discretion of the village. The hotel is expected to open in 2018.
Additional business from the planning board included:
Another project requiring a public hearing was the subdivision of the property located at 215 Third St. that had prior site review from the board. This concerns a double village lot with one existing home. The owners want to split the lot and build another single family home. The board unanimously approved the request. There was no public comment.
With the public hearing closed, the board heard from Kurt Charland of the Rochester firm, Bergman Associates. He presented a plan for a franchise chain restaurant on the northwest corner of West Eighth Street and North Franklin Street. Board member Brian Elsinger expressed he was pleased about a possible new business on the vacant lot, but noted the next step would be for the group to go before the zoning board of appeals because there are at least three variances required for the project to continue, and possibly more. Those variances include size of the restaurant, egress from the drive thru window and distance from the pavement to the building. Charland indicated that he feels the challenges can be met, but if they aren't, the project will not attempt to move forward. His client, Kashyap Shah, has not purchased the property at this point. The board approved the preliminary site plan. Charland will follow up with the zoning board of appeals at their next meeting, which is scheduled by appointment.
Another preliminary site review concerned a kayak launch on the southeast corner of Seneca Lake adjacent to State Route 414 known locally as "Tank Beach." Chris Bond, a vice president from Hunt Engineers, presented images of the final plan and said he hoped for construction to begin by Memorial Day of this year. He assured the board the launch would be accessible for disabled people. Board Chairman Joe Fazarry, noted, "this is the best plan that the board has seen in some time." The preliminary site plan was unanimously approved. A motion for a public hearing to complete the project will be held March 15.
The board next heard from Andy Sprague of Studio Mosaic Architecture, who is representing the proposed Atlas Pizza location at 304 North Franklin St. They had requested a new facade review and it was approved. Sprague said at this point the facade facing both Franklin Street and Third Street would stay much the same and the new restaurant would follow a design quite like their Corning location. He said an awning would be installed and signage would include a window decal facing Franklin Street, and replacement of an already existing sign facing Third Street. Code Officer Greg Lenard said the signage meets all local code and zoning laws. When asked when they will open, Sprague said that a NYSEG gas meter problem that required them to "tear up some sidewalk" has slowed them down, but they still hope to open in March.
After the acceptance of the Jan. 18 minutes, the meeting was adjourned. The board will meet again Wednesday, March 15.

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