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Rye City Council Takes First Step to Adding Hotel

RYE, N.Y. — The Rye City Council took the first step toward bringing a hotel to the city on Wednesday by referring a zoning amendment petition allowing hotels to the City Planning Board.

The City Council made the recommendation after hearing presentations by Seth Mandelbaum, attorney for the property owner, and Jeffrey Wyszinksi, an architect for Tecton Architects. The presentations were supplemented by commentary from City Planner Christian Miller.

The plan would transform the three-story, 75,000-square-foot office building at 120 Old Boston Post Road, which is largely vacant, into a three-story, 150-room hotel. Mandelbaum said the plan calls for a "non-extended-stay hotel," meaning that there would be no bar, restaurant or banquet facility.

According to preliminary diagrams presented to the board, the existing building will be modified to include a courtyard and a three-story addition in the rear. The plan also looks to increase the environmental sustainability of the property through the addition of rain gardens and the enhancement of existing vegetation buffer zones.

The hotel would provide increased tax revenue for both the city and the school district. According to John Saccardi of VHB Engineering, the school district would recieve a $235,000-a-year bump in property tax revenue, while the city would recieve $65,000. In addition, the city would recieve $184,000 in hotel-occupancy taxes.

While the wheels have been set in motion, the city has a long way to go before the first guest checks in.

"This really is again the start of the process," Miller said. "You're really just setting the table. You have a pretty good idea what the meal is going to be and what the proportions are, but exactly how it's cooked? That will come at a subsequent stage. The City Council will set that table."

After the Planning Commission renders an advisory recommendation, the City Council will call a public hearing that could stay open for months. If, at that juncture, the City Council rules to amend the zoning, the real leg work will begin and the city will conduct a more in-depth review of the site plan. The city is also required to refer the petition to the County Planning Department.

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