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Harbor Hotel gets variance needed for expansion

WATKINS GLEN—The Harbor Hotel got the setback variance it needed for expansion from the Watkins Glen zoning board of appeals, Thursday, July 2.
Norbert Hausner, with NH Architecture, once again explained the project, that would combine the hotel with the Seneca Market Building on Franklin Street, to a Watkins board. The expansion incorporates building a spa between the two buildings. Hausner explained the way the plans are currently, this would require a setback variance between the hotel property and Captain Bill’s. The zoning board approved a setback from 20 feet to three feet, with the understanding the project would make the two properties one with the building of the spa. Hausner explained it would, as Krog Corporation owns the Seneca Market Building, and Hart Hotels and Krog Corp. owns Harbor Hotel. He said a limited liability company (LLC) would be formed between the two.
A letter from the planning board giving its approval for the project was also read. The planning board heard from Hausner at their June 17 meeting. The zoning board discussed if the project could be down without the setback variance. It was their decision that the alternative would have the spa addition sticking out from the hotel and Seneca Market Building. It would not be a smooth connection.
“It’s not a feasible alternative. It wouldn’t be cost effective at all,” said Joe Orbin, zoning board member.
Karen Fragola, zoning board member, added the addition would not be going past the footprint of the other buildings. Orbin said both the hotel and the Seneca Market Building have the same setbacks as the future spa now does. Mark Stephany, zoning board member, said he wondered when the hotel was first built, why the two buildings were not connected.
Hausner also gave the zoning board some details about the project. He explained the project would mostly be done in the winter, so to keep the impact on traffic for the hotel and Captain Bill’s to a minimum. Hausner also said the project would be moving hotel’s exercise equipment to the spa expansion. The room where the equipment is now located will be turned into another suite. Work will also be done on the Watkins Glen International’s store and the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) offices in the Seneca Market Building.
The project will once again go before the planning board with a public hearing at the July 15 meeting.

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