Quiet meeting, big results
BETHEL, NY — There was no yelling,
no controversy, and no abrupt ending, just decisions
that impact the future of the town.
At their December 12 meeting, the Bethel
Town Board completed their part in the approval process
for the proposed Gerry Foundation performing arts
center at the original Woodstock site by creating
a provision in the town laws for a performing arts
The new district, encompassing about
thirty lots, including those of the roughly 37 acres
of the Woodstock site, was conceptualized to “encourage
and permit an orderly and planned development”
of a performing arts center.
All development that happens within
the new district will still be reviewed town’s
planning board for site plan approval.
The review process for the performing
arts center project began nearly 18 months ago. Since
that time, the joint lead agency for the project,
consisting of the town and planning boards, have reviewed
over 1,000 pages of documentation and public comment.
State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) documents,
required by state law to examine the impacts of a
project, comprised the bulk of the documentation.
The SEQR documentation contained analysis
and plans from traffic flow to the history of the
Woodstock site. These plans will serve as the basis
for development within the district. The final version
of the environmental impact statement was approved
Long-term plans call for numerous performance
venues, including outdoor and indoor stages with seating
capacities in the thousands, a retail-oriented area,
and eventually, a performing arts college.
There has been no announcement of a
definite building schedule, but Bethel supervisor
Alan Scott said he suspects ground will be broken
in the spring of 2003.
Gerry Foundation Executive Director
Jonathan Drapkin thanked the board for their work
on the project. “Eighteen months certainly seems
a long time,” he said.
Now that the general project plan and
zoning change have been approved, the foundation will
deal directly with the planning board in implementing
the different phases of the building project.
Many details of the performing arts
center project still need to be determined. The announcement
of an architectural and design firm to replace Richard
Meier, the well known architect initially attached
to the project, has yet to be made. Also missing from
the currently available documentation is an actual
name for the performing arts center.
Scott said he feels secure in the benefits
the performing arts center will bring to the town.
“This is the kind of project we want here,”
At the meeting, the board also:
- Held a moment of silence for
tax collector Maureen E. Whitney who died on December
- Thanked Jens Meyer and students
from BOCES for repainting the senior center;
- Announced that a settlement
was made regarding a contested Itzkovich property
assessment. The property was originally assessed
at $491,800. A compromise was reached and the
final assessment has been reduced to $410,000;
- Set the town’s re-organizational
meeting date for January 2. This meeting will
take the place of the regularly scheduled meeting
that would have taken place on January 9;
- Appointed members of the town
board, zoning board of appeals and planning board
to a five-person review committee that will oversee
the creation of the town’s new comprehensive plan;
- Announced that there will be
no meeting on December 26. The year-end meeting,
if needed, will take place on December 30.