Lantern festival listed online in Catskill still needs approval
Dec 03, 2019 12:36 am
Sarah Trafton reports for Columbia-Greene Media that the Greene County Planning Board has ruled against a proposed festival at the former Friar Tuck Inn, but the Town of Catskill Planning Board could still approve the project. Ruben Lindo represents a group that is putting on the Hello Panda Lantern Festival. Online their website says the festival is happening at Citi Field in New York City and at a location in New Jersey and Catskill. But the "winter festival that celebrates the holiday season with a lantern park, entertainment, food, modern art exhibits, interactive games, cultural arts and experiences, and live stage performances" will only happen if five members of the Catskill Planning Board vote to override the county decision. The former Friar Tuck resort property has been owned by Greene County since 2013. “The site is in significant disrepair, unattractive and constitutes a nuisance that presents dangerous conditions to the users of the site,” the county planning board said in a letter dated Nov. 15. But Lindo says the issue is money. “Before the county wanted to have a conversation about the festival, they wanted to talk about tax implications,” Lindo said. “My clients have no issue rectifying the tax issue.” Greene County Treasurer Peter Markou says the property owes $698,000 in taxes. Kiskatom Fire Chief Joseph Caputo may be reluctant to sign off on the festival until it is determined if a bridge on the property off Route 32 is able to support the weight of fire trucks. Town attorney Michael Smith and Lindo also seem to disagree on insurance. “We are using the mass-gathering law to protect the town of Catskill in terms of any lawsuits,” Smith said, while Lindo claims, “the special-use permit under the mass-gathering law was waived.” The Catskill Planning Board will discuss the issue next at its Dec. 10 meeting. Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.