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What you need to know for 01/22/2018

Zoning change sought for planned Saratoga Springs hotel

Zoning change sought for planned Saratoga Springs hotel

The city is being asked to change zoning on five acres on South Broadway where the defunct Weatherva

The city is being asked to change zoning on five acres on South Broadway where the defunct Weathervane Restaurant stands, so that a 109-unit extended stay hotel can be built there.

Turf Hotels, with headquarters in Latham, is planning to purchase the property from Saratoga businessman Frank Parillo, tear down the Weathervane building, and erect a four-story Homewood Suites, an extended-stay hotel operated by Hilton.

The project cost is estimated at more than $10 million.

Matthew J. Jones, the Saratoga Springs attorney representing Turf Hotels, said the rezoning request will be presented to the City Council at tonight’s meeting in City Hall.

The hotel company wants the property rezoned from its current office-medical business district to the tourist-related business zone.

The City Council would refer the rezoning request to the city Planning Board and possibly the city Design Review Commission for recommendations prior to discussing it and setting a public hearing on it. The City Council would make the final determination on whether to rezone the parcel after a required public hearing.

Jones said the property in question, currently owned by Parillo Prime Properties LLC but under contract to be purchased by Turf Hotels, was once The Country Gentleman, a well-known and popular restaurant opened in the 1950s and closed in the late 1970s.

The Weathervane Restaurant, which specialized in seafood, opened in the same building in the early 1980s and was in business about 20 years until closing several years ago. The old 1950s-era building at 3368 S. Broadway would be demolished as part of the hotel project.

The five acres are across Route 9 from the state tree nursery. Murphy’s Driving Range is on the same side of Route 9 north of the parcel.

If the rezoning is approved in the coming months, the hotel developers would extend a sewer line, which now ends at South Broadway and Crescent Avenue, some 1,600 feet south along Route 9 to the hotel location.

Jones, in his presentation on the rezoning proposal, says the rezoning is consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan of 2001, which describes the area as Gateway Design District 1. The provisions for this district include establishing a series of site and construction standards and guidelines to encourage appropriate development while preserving and maintaining a rural “country” character of this gateway area to complement the natural conditions of the nearby Saratoga Spa State Park.

The City Council tonight will also consider hiring Digital Surveillance Solutions to design a downtown surveillance camera system.

Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen said Monday the company would charge the city $53,931 to design and install a system of six surveillance cameras that would show activity on certain city streets, including Broadway, Caroline, Division and Putnam streets, and the public parking garage at Phila and Spring streets.

Mathiesen said these cameras, which he hopes could be in use by midsummer, would record nearby activity.

He said the video cameras would not be monitored all the time but would record all activity and be available to police when needed.

City police would also use the video system to actively monitor the problems areas, such as Caroline Street late at night and early in the mornings on summer weekends.

Mathiesen said he understands that the video surveillance system installed in Congress Park some years ago by the city Department of Public Works, has been effective and useful.

“It’s a great deterrent [to crime],” he said about surveillance cameras.

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