and relief at PAC plans
By CHRIS CONROY
BETHEL — The original
Woodstock site is staying, more or less, as is. The performing arts
center (PAC) is still coming. Is this the fulfillment of everyone’s
After the June 12 presentation by Gerry Foundation
(GF) officials to a crowd of nearly 200 at the White Lake Firehouse,
the public feedback has been positive.
“This is a great thing for the town,” said Town
of Bethel Supervisor Allan Scott. Over the years that he has been
supervisor, Scott frequently dealt with issues regarding the 37.5-acre
plot of land once owned by Max Yasgur. Most notably was the drawn-
out battle that occurred around 1994 when Scott faced off against
Sid Bernstein and other developers’ plans to stage a large- scale
concert in commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the 1969 concert.
Ultimately, although that concert plan fell through, people still
gathered at the site for impromptu events. Now, with GF’s project
moving ahead, Scott reiterates that this project is the right one
for the site and the community.
The Woodstock Preservation Alliance (WPA), a grass-roots
watchdog group that formed soon after GF first hinted at its development
plans in August of 2000, is also happy with the announced master
plan. In a released statement by the WPA, board member Carolyn Madsen
said the group feels that “overall, their plan is a good one for
everyone involved.” The WPA’s major concern has always been that
the original site remain in the purest
possible state. With all proposed development except a permanent
stage going on in surrounding fields, that concern has been tremendously
Browsing through the WPA’s online message board
(www.TheWoodstockSpirit.org), content indicates the group will continue
to keep an eye on the project. Concerns about future development
and possible plans to reconstruct or add to the monument that sits
on one corner of the original site are still being discussed.
Other public concerns include the fate of the current
Hurd Road, the impact traffic will have on the local population
and how the eventual building of a “retail village” on the site
will affect local businesses and GF’s long term plans for the site.
Herm Bressler, Chairman of the Town of Bethel Planning
Board, is waiting to see the plans pan out. “I’m looking forward
to this,” Bressler said when asked about his feelings on the project.
Bressler and the planning board will be dealing
heavily with the potential impacts of the development, as will the
Bethel Town Board. The two boards are serving as joint lead agencies
in the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process. Every
large-scale project must undergo SEQR evaluation before it can proceed.
Currently, it has been determined that the PAC project will have
an impact on the local environment. More details of that impact
will be discussed at a public scoping session scheduled to take
place on July 10 at the White Lake Fire House.