July 13, 2017
By Valerie Bauman
Northport officials could vote as soon as Tuesday on a resolution to allow a proposed hotel project to move forward in the village, officials said.
Trustees will hold a second public hearing that day on proposed zoning changes to make hotels a permitted use within village limits. The current code does not include language for hotels in Northport.
Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin said trustees could vote after the hearing Tuesday or hold the issue for further consideration, depending on public feedback and board discussion about the proposal.
“The area definitely needs a hotel,” Mayor George Doll said. “People stay out on the turnpike down in Melville when they’re here visiting.”
Kevin J. O’Neill and Richard T. Dolce, owners of the John W. Engeman Theater, purchased a three-story building across Main Street from the venue with the goal of converting it into an upscale inn.
The first public hearing in May showed overwhelming public support for the project, with many residents saying a new hotel would fill an unmet need in Northport.
If village officials pass the zoning changes, O’Neill and Dolce would still need to go through standard permit and project approvals before they could break ground. The project would include a restaurant on the street level, about 24 rooms on the upper two floors and a 54-space parking lot.
O’Neill said the partners have spent $150,000 on planning, design and legal costs for the proposed hotel. He said if all necessary approvals are obtained, work could start this fall and be completed in 12 to 14 months.
He said their goal is to work with the community on any concerns — including parking, which was the biggest issue raised among a few opponents at the initial public hearing.
“It’s important to know we’re a neighbor in this town,” he said. “We have every interest in improving the quality of life in the residential and business communities … I start getting agita when we’re doing anything that’s disruptive to the village around us.”
Tuesday’s public hearing will be at 6:00 p.m. in Village Hall, 224 Main St.