Developer Bilal Ahmad is proposing to build a 91-room four-story hotel on a 2.41-acre site in the town of Cortlandt. Attorney David Steinmetz of the White Plains-based law firm Zarin & Steinmetz introduced the application at a meeting of the Cortlandt Planning Board.
The property is located in the town’s Designed Commercial (CD) District, which permits as-of-right the proposed hotel use but allows only three-story buildings. The property abuts U.S. Route 6 and is adjacent to an on-and off-ramp for the Bear Mountain Parkway. The property currently has two drive accesses from Jacob’s Hill Road.
Steinmetz said that the property is an ideal location for a hotel.
“It is easily accessible to travelers while avoiding an increase in traffic through Cortlandt’s commercial corridor,” Steinmetz said. “In addition, the property’s close proximity to the town’s already developed commercial district along East Main Street will allow the town’s businesses to benefit from increased foot traffic.”
Steinmetz said that the applicant intends to brand the hotel as a Courtyard by Marriott. It would feature an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, professional conference center, and a full bar and grill. There would be 101 outdoor parking spaces.
“We fully understand that this project would require a few variances; we’ve known that from the outset,” Steinmetz said. “In order to make this economically viable and to attract a quality ‘flag’ or ‘brand’ we needed to achieve 91 rooms. In order to achieve 91 rooms we needed to bring the site to a point of four stories.”
Variances also will be sought from the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals for what Steinmetz described as technical requirements such as setbacks and landscape buffers in addition to the fourth story.
The East Syracuse architecture and landscape firm Keplinger Freeman Associates prepared the plans for the project and dealt with steep slopes on the site by terracing the terrain to make grade changes work in a gentle fashion.
“There are several characteristics of the site that make this development challenging,” Edward Keplinger said. “These include a majority of slopes on site being greater than 10%, the relative shallow depth to bedrock and evidence of rock outcroppings, aligning the proposed access drive onsite with access across Jacob’s Hill Road, and property’s … shape resulting in a limited location for adequate building envelope.”
Steinmetz said the applicant has “affirmatively reached out” to neighbors in the area and expects comments from them as the project review moves forward.
Steinmetz said that when the town reviewed applications for two gas stations to be built in the area where the hotel would be located it received a wealth of traffic data, which he believes will be useful in reviewing the hotel application.
Christopher Kehoe, the town’s planning director, said that the town would hire its own traffic consultant to review the traffic report submitted by the developer’s traffic consultant.
“It’s a hotel; it’s not a high-volume vehicular movement use,” Steinmetz said. “There are other uses that are permitted that could be far more intense.”
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