Last week, the Kingstonian project development team that includes Michael Moriello (legal), Dennis Larios (engineering) and Scott Dutton (architect) joined the Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission’s (HLPC) monthly meeting to discuss the required Preservation Notice of Action and demolition permit that the developers will need to proceed.
HLPC chairman Mark Grunblatt outlined concerns raised in a letter dated 9/6/19 for the developers to prepare to address during their upcoming presentation and public hearing in January.
- Clarifying the boundaries of the Historic District and whether or not they cover Schwenk drive;
- A plan to preserve and properly handle any archeological artifacts found during demolition and construction by a certified archeologist professional;
- Addressing visual impacts to the historic district and surrounding area;
- Address potential damage to neighboring properties when demolition and construction begins.
City of Kingston Assistant Corporation Council Dan Gartenstein noted that the project’s State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) negative declaration decision had fully resolved several of the issues identified by the chairman that evening, and that the Preservation Notice of Action items would pertain to some items such as visual impacts and demolition.
Dutton said that the team is working to define their plans and that they were not making any dramatic changes, only refinements and improvements to the visual and facade, to take it to “another level”. Moriello added that there would be no dramatic moves, and that although SEQR had concluded, the applicant could continue on with visual impacts and analysis.
Gartenstein said that according to the City of Kingston’s code 405-49 (Building Permits), the project would require an application for a building permit for demolition, and that the building safety division would notify the commission, who would reply to the request for demolition. When asked if a demolition permit had yet been requested, the Kingstonian attorney answered that it had not.
As a side note, we would be remiss if we didn’t point out the irony that while the Friends of Historic Kingston (located only blocks away from the Kingstonian project) and others host exhibits mourning the demolition of the Kingston post office and urban removal, we continue to tear down buildings and this time, in the heart of Kingston’s historic district. “History teaches us that we learn nothing from history” is fitting here.
The Applicants’ attorneys will prepare information to present to the commission and members of the public regarding the necessity to demolish the building at the next HLPC meeting on December 2. Moriello pointed out that according to 405-65 (d), a public hearing will be required, suggesting that the presentation and public hearing could all be held on the same day. City of Kingston Planning Director Suzanne Cahill said that the city should hold off scheduling a public hearing until the materials were released, and that it would not be fair to the public to not have those materials in order to make comments in December.
A public hearing will likely be set in January, 2022. The Commission tabled the application until their next meeting on December 2.
ADDITIONAL SELECTED RESOURCES: by historic preservation specialist Marissa Marvelli
2/27/20: The State Preservation Office does about-face for Kingstonian project amid political pressure
11/15/19: Planning Board sees no potential impact on character of Stockade District by Kingstonian Project (with video)
9/26/19: The Kingstonian to be Jointly Reviewed Tonight; State Preservation Office Finds ‘Adverse Effects’ in its Evaluation of the Project; Confusion about Historic District Boundaries
7/28/19: Building on the past: the Stockade District’s tipping point (HV1)
9/1/18: GUEST EDITORIAL: Beyond ‘Streamlining’ – Improving Kingston’s Preservation and Heritage Programs