Hudson Valley News
1:47 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

The Public Comment Period Is Open For Belleayre Projects

Credit Crossroads Ventures, LLC

The public has about two months to submit comments on a modified proposal of the Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park; plans for the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center; and cumulative impacts of both.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has released the supplemental draft environmental impact statement for the Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park as well as a unit management plan and draft environmental impact statement for the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, which is now operated by the Olympic Regional Development Authority, but remains under the jurisdiction of the DEC. Then there’s a document analyzing cumulative impacts of both. Alan White is executive director of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development.

The Catskill Center is an environmental group that was part of a 2007 Agreement in Principle reached among various environmental groups, the state, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and Crossroads Ventures, the developers of the Belleayre Resort. The agreement under then-Governor Eliot Spitzer was to allow the Belleayre Resort project to move forward while assuring certain environmental protections. Daniel Ruzow is a partner of law firm Whiteman Osterman & Hanna and attorney for Crossroads Ventures.

He says Crossroads has done that, and the DEIS out for comment is essentially the modified proposal agreed upon in 2007. And here’s the Catskill Center’s Alan White.

The Resort is made up of two hotels, the five-star Highmount Spa Resort with 120 hotel units and a spa and the Wildacres Hotel, with 250 hotel units and conference center. The Wildacres Hotel would also include an 18-hole public golf course, which will be maintained using an organic regimen with no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. And both have additional lodging units. The modified Belleayre Resort uses less than one-half the acreage initially proposed some 14 years ago, though the development is still too big in the eyes of Catskill Heritage Alliance’s Kathy Nolan.

Yet Daniel Ruzow says steep slopes were taken into consideration.

Catskill Heritage Alliance’s Nolan says she is also concerned about the self-containment of the Highmount portion of the resort, and that it would keep visitors away from local businesses.

And Ruzow says that is not the case.

The DEC’s public comment period ends June 24.   DEC has scheduled a public hearing for May 29, in two sessions, one at 3, the other at 6, at the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center on Route 28 in Highmount.

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