Road to Red Swan project may be lined with lawyers

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:49

    WARWICK-The Red Swan Inn developers have proposed building a new inn, resurrecting the original one that burned in the 1950s, on the property known around town as the Welling property or the Pioneer Farm. Included in the plan are residential housing units, commercial businesses and retail establishments. One of the access routes to get to the new development is off Galloway Road via Clinton Avenue Extension. There is just one problem: Larry and Fern Parkin claim they own that land and it doesn't seem like they want what has been pretty much a driveway for their plumbing business to become a thoroughfare for this new development. Fern Parkin came to the Village Board Monday night, armed with a letter from her attorney, Jay R. Myrow. "Please be advised that Larry and Fern Parkin are the fee owners of the roadbed in the Town of Warwick referred to as Clinton Avenue Extension on the site plan," said Myrow in his letter. "Our title search of the property reveals no rights, title or interest of record in the property for the benefit of the Red Swan Inn applicants." Stephen Spiegel, attorney for the Red Swan Inn, begged to differ. He said the Parkins are trying to prevent the roadway from being used and they filed a quick claim deed in the Orange County Clerk's office, which was not recorded. "I don't agree with Mr. Myrow's legal conclusion," said Spiegel. "I think this is a good use of the road to connect Galloway Road with the Red Swan Inn. This road had actually been used by Pioneer Farm when it was a bottling plant." Myrow said the town has never deeded the property and was never provided with an offer of dedication. The town does not maintain the road, he stated, and for the last 40 years, the property has been used as the driveway to the Parkin's plumbing shop. "There is nothing on file or of record that supports a finding that the town owns the roadbed as a public street," he said. In March, the mayor and Board of Trustees asked the developer for a site plan, saying it would not proceed without one. Without a site plan, the village leaves itself wide open as to what will be built there, according to village attorney Michael Meth. When the board sees a site plan, it can then decide what is impacted in the surrounding areas and how to mitigate it. The developers are asking that the village create a new zone-a floating hospitality zone-and change the nearly 11-acre property from residential to the floating hospitality zone. A site plan is a detailed document that shows the location and size of all buildings proposed for the development. If there will be condos or apartments, that number must also be given. In addition, a site plan must comply with the village's zoning, which is in the process of being updated. As the Red Swan Inn proposal advances, a new group of residents has formed, calling itself The Cygnet Group. According to the dictionary a cygnet is a baby swan. "The Cygnet Group is not opposed to the development of some sort of commercial project on the 10-acre parcel," said John Zawacky, spokesman and one of the leaders of the group. "But we want to be sure that what is ultimately approved will be in keeping with the character of the neighborhood and that the uses will be of appropriate intensity given the environmental sensitivity of the surrounding area. We are also concerned with the potential traffic impact that the proposal will have on our area. We all complain now about how hard it is to get around Warwick. We don't want to exacerbate this situation by an inappropriate use of the property." The Cygnet Group has retained the services of Jacobowitz and Gubits, LLP, a law firm in Walden. "Our firm will coordinate the monitoring of the development plan for the Cygnet Group. This might include the hiring of planners, traffic engineers, civil engineers, environmental specialists and engineers and any other experts necessary to help our clients obtain a thorough, accurate and legally sufficient review of the proposed plan," said attorney Larry Wolinsky of Jacobowitz and Gubits. "Our clients intend to play a positive and constructive role in the process." Kay Michelfeld, a member of the Cygnet Group, asked the board Monday night if the property would revert back to the original zone if the project does not go through following a change in zoning. No, was the answer from the village attorney. The owner would have to go through the entire process again. Demetroules, R.E., LLC, is the company behind the Red Swan Inn. They petitioned the board for the zone change in April, 2004. It is owned by Michael S. Demetroules, a lifelong Village of Warwick resident and direct descendent of Thomas Welling, who founded the Welling farm in 1750.