Rendering of the proposed ICCHV as it
KINGSTON – Kingston’s proposed Irish Cultural Center, slated to help revitalize Downtown, might eventually require a zoning amendment in order to win planning board approval. Details were disclosed at Monday’s city planning board session during an initial site plan presentation.
Ronald Pordy, attorney for the applicant, explained the neighborhood’s lack of parking, calling for a change to the city’s zoning. ICC Developers is seeking utilization of nearby off-site property to accommodate the parking requirements in addition to a waiver.
Only 18 parking spots exist at 32 Abeel Street, the vacant lot overlooking Rondout’s historic waterfront. ICC’s site plan constructs a 16,889 square foot facility, with a capacity for hundreds of guests, set back against the bluff, accessed by 18 car spaces fronting Abeel. Based upon the size of the building, 54 parking spaces are required. ICC’s solution is to divide the project into two phases. The first phase erects the facility with 18 on-site spots, requiring a 36-spot waiver from the planning board, plus a possible setback zoning board of appeals variance of three feet instead of six feet.
Phase two only happens if the city council changes the zoning law, to allow off-site parking. That opens up 24 more spots at another vacant lot, 33-39 Abeel Street, with nearby road cut access off West Union Street. Visitors would park there and walk to the ICC across Abeel Street. A waiver for the remaining 12 spots would still be necessary to comply, said Pordy.
“Our position is don’t stop a great development project; let’s find a way to address this issue, a dearth of parking, by having it be a permitted as-of-right use – separate parcels, rather than restricted to just an accessory use on the same site as the structure,” Pordy told the planning board. He noted that other cities make similar provisions, and suggested the amendment would help business growth.
Pordy added that the ICC’s main entrance is planned for Company Hill Path, a steep pedestrian walkway leading up the cliff from West Strand, on the waterfront side of the parcel. The city-owned Company Hill Path shortcut comes out on Abeel Street further south towards the suspension bridge, adjacent to the old brick Temple Building.
Architect Brad Will described an industrial masonry design featuring green building amenities, including rooftop deck gardens with solar parapets. A patio offers waterfront views.