Newsday: Northport Village approves zoning for hotels around Main Street

August 23, 2017

Northport Village Hall in Northport is seen on Dec. 27, 2014. Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark

By Valerie Bauman

Northport Village trustees approved zoning changes Tuesday night that will allow hotels to operate on and around Main Street.

The village previously had nothing in its code that would allow hotels.

Officials drafted the legislation after Kevin J. O’Neill and Richard T. Dolce, owners of the John W. Engeman Theater, on Main Street purchased a three-floor building across the street from the theater with the goal of converting it into an upscale inn.

The multimillion-dollar project faced a final round of opposition from residents concerned that the hotel — and its planned 200-seat restaurant — would worsen an already congested parking situation downtown.

“In Northport there is a lot of pain about parking, and it’s not a trivial matter,” business owner Carolyn Colwell said at Tuesday’s meeting in Village Hall. “It affects access to small business, civic services and even residents’ access to their homes.”

O’Neill and Dolce still need to obtain the standard permit and project approvals before they can break ground for the hotel.

Residents and Northport business owners had collected signatures on a petition that urged village trustees to address parking problems before allowing a hotel with a large restaurant to move into the village.

O’Neill has said he has a vested interest in making sure that parking runs smoothly because he is committed to making the community a better place to live. The hotel, like the theater, would offer valet parking, he said.

“There’s been a lot of due diligence done on this project,” O’Neill said. “My goal all the time is to make sure that we inconvenience those around us as little as possible with the hopes that we’ll bring something that will enhance the village. That was the hope with the theater, and that’s the hope with the hotel.”

O’Neill said the partners decided to pursue a hotel and restaurant as a way to diversify revenues and ensure financial stability for the theater in the future.

“We go as the show goes,” O’Neill said. “We can’t rely solely on ticket sales.”

Newsday: Northport trustees to vote on allowing hotel in village

July 13, 2017

Kevin J. O’Neill and Richard T. Dolce purchased a three-story building on Main Street in Northport, seen on March 23, 2017, with the goal of converting it into an upscale inn. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

 

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.

 

Read online: http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/northport-trustees-to-vote-on-allowing-hotel-in-village

Newsday: Northport considers zone changes allowing downtown hotels

May 17, 2017

By Valerie Bauman  valerie.bauman@newsday.com

A rendering of a hotel proposed for Main
A rendering of a hotel proposed for Main Street in Northport by the owners of the John W. Engeman Theater. More than 100 people packed Northport Village hall Tuesday night, May 16, 2017, at a hearing on proposed zoning changes that would allow the hotel on Main Street. Photo Credit: Hoffman Grayson Architects LLP

More than 100 people packed Northport Village hall Tuesday night, voicing overwhelming support for proposed zone changes that would allow hotels to operate on and around Main Street.

Officials drafted two proposals addressing the issue after Kevin J. O’Neill and Richard T. Dolce, owners of the John W. Engeman Theater, purchased a three-story building across the street from the venue with the goal of converting it into an upscale inn.

In order for O’Neill and Dolce’s project — or any hotel proposal — to move forward, village code would first need to be revised, Northport officials said.

Current village law does not include hotels in its list of permitted uses of commercial property downtown, Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin said Tuesday.

O’Neill said Tuesday night that it would be a “multimillion”-dollar project if the village changes the code, and he and his partner succeed in pushing their proposal through further regulatory procedures.

“The concept, in general, was very well-received because there’s no place to stay,” O’Neill said. “I think the area has been starved for lodging opportunities, and the residents are very, very excited about the prospects of that coming into the town.”

“I’m sure all of you have been in a situation where you have people come to visit and you don’t particularly want them to stay in your home,” Northport resident Jeff Barasch, 69, said. “You have to tell them, ‘You don’t have to leave, but you can’t stay.’ Now there’s an opportunity to stay.”

Barasch’s comments — and those from others supporting the new hotel — were met with applause. However, three residents spoke up with concerns about how a hotel could impact Northport’s already limited parking.

“There is no parking here at all,” JoAnne Hall said. “If you don’t think there’s going to be additional traffic on that street and noise with people coming up the hill, coming down the hill, there will be. It’s a reality. The idea is lovely . . . but not for here.”

Village officials said the current hotel proposal would provide one off-street parking space for each room at the inn The inn would have about two dozen rooms, proponents have said.

Village trustees adjourned the hearings without voting, but kept the hearings open for future comment.

Officials said they will send the two draft zoning resolutions to the village Planning Board and Suffolk County Zoning Commission for review.

 

Read online: http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/northport-considers-zone-changes-allowing-downtown-hotels/

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