RYE BROOK, N.Y. – A proposed four-rink ice arena at 1100 King St. in Rye Brook got the stamp of approval Thursday night from the Rye Brook Planning Board.
The Rye Brook Planning Board voted to recommend the project to the Board of Trustees by a slim vote of four to two. During a lengthy discussion and dissection of reports on noise, air quality, traffic, parking, soil and erosion control, lighting and more, Planning Board Chair Gary Zuckerman noted, “Ultimately it is the board of trustees that must be satisfied.”
William Null, an attorney representing the applicant, Reckson LLP, which owns Reckson Executive Park at 1100 King St., previously asked the Board of Trustees to fast-track the project’s approval process, citing a hope to open by Sept. 1 – in time for the start of next year’s hockey season.
If the Board of Trustees approves the project, QMC Group LLC of Stamford, Conn., would build and operate the facility. It would be completed in about eight months.
The 140,000 square-foot recreation center would be built on the site of a 280,000-square-foot office building within a previously approved site plan for 1,052 parking spaces in the corporate park. The facility would include four rinks, locker rooms, space for a Zamboni, a heated mezzanine with bleacher seating for 1,230 and an open seating area for another 320.
Following the board’s meeting last month, Planning Board member Dan Tartaglia found Reckson was initially misleading in its comments that the facility would be unique to the area, arguing that there are no four-rink facilities of National Hockey League calibar between Boston and Philadelphia. “There is one in Hackensack, N.J. called The Ice House,” said Tartaglia, adding that during tournament weekends there is an enormous amount of traffic.
He suggested, along with the rest of the board, that Reckson take a look at The Ice House and other similar multi-rink regional facilities to analyze parking utilization and any traffic issues before meeting with the Board of Trustees.
However, not everyone is satisfied with the proposed project. Rye Brook resident Rosemary A. Schlank wrote a letter to the board opposing the facility, sighting concerns about road capacities, traffic, out-of-town visitors, impacting costs to taxpayers and the village, safety, the airport, evolution of the facility, as well as “risks of setting bad precedent” and cultural conflicts between hockey fans and “upscale residential communities like the ones along King Street.”
Additional feedback came from Nathaniel J. Parish, an engineering and planning consultant, who was hired by Playland Ice Casino LLC to review the proposed plan and make his recommendations to the board. The Ice Casino at Playland Park closed for the season following an unprecedented level of damage from Hurricane Sandy.
“While there might be a regional market for a Tri-state ice arena, it is a use which should not be placed in a quiet corporate park surrounded and proximate to substantial residential neighborhoods,” wrote Parish in his letter to the village. “It belongs in a downtown area, in a shopping plaza, in a commercial strip area, in an amusement park, but not at this site.”
In addition, Parish, like the board, suggested visiting similar multi-rink facilities out of the area for a more accurate comparison.
The Rye Brook Board of Trustees will meet on Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Rye Brook Village Hall, 938 King St., Rye Brook.