A public hearing scheduled for March 13 about a possible seaside inn in Bayville was canceled. The meeting, at which new plans for the hotly contested inn were to be made public, has not yet been rescheduled.
“The architect Craig Kirsch was advised by his lawyer to cancel because they didn’t have everything they would need,” said Joe Russo, Bayville’s deputy mayor. “It’s not unusual to hire a lawyer for a meeting of this size. The lawyer would be sure the documents are in order and be familiar with the zoning laws to be sure the architect is meeting the requirements.”
There has been much discussion in the past year regarding the possibility of building the inn at 33 Bayville Ave., the former location of Steve’s Pier. The property is unsightly, and residents have been complaining for years that something needed to be done. But the community is divided as to whether an inn would be good for Bayville.
“It’s supposed to be 66 feet high — give me a break,” said Frank Bates, vice president of Save Bayville Inc. The civic group has been working to stop the development. “It will never make it in Bayville. Then in a year they’ll go to the village and, citing a hardship, request to turn it into apartments.”
Architect Gregory Andrea and Kirsch shared plans for an inn at a Feb. 4, 2016, meeting at Soundview Caterers, which was packed with interested residents. The hour-long presentation included drawings and data detailing what they said would be a profitable business for Bayville.
Back then, the design included a shingle-styled roof and, on the lower level, a patio with a restaurant and bar that would accommodate 190 people. There would be 30 or fewer rooms available for rental.
Kirsch had said that there was no plan for condominiums, and that the project should take 13 to 15 months to build once the community approved it.
Newer plans were to be shared at the canceled hearing. Russo said there are modifications to the original plan. “There are 9,000 dots that needed to be checked off,” he said. “We have the plans and a lot of stuff is in place.”
Russo said there are changes in the interior design, like the removal of the kitchens in the inn’s rooms. “There are also slightly smaller numbers of tables in the restaurant.”
Bates said although there was much discussion about not including the kitchens he’s not satisfied with the change. “They didn’t take the 12-foot counter out,” he said. “When I asked the architect what it’s for he said for a wet bar. Who are they kidding. Do they think we are stupid?”
There are approximately 6,700 people living in Bayville. Russo said he believes many want the inn to be built. “Based on what I’ve seen on social media there’s a large group of people in support of this,” he said. “Those against it seem to be not as large. Maybe they can be swayed.”
Bates disagrees. And he doesn’t believe if the inn is built that it will survive. “If that were true, why didn’t the Tides Motel make it — a building that is already there?” he asked. “To make it, an inn would need to be near a business district. The nearest one to us is in Syosset, not here.” And not having enough business nearby will make the inn unsustainable, he added. “People won’t want to drive down Shore Road in the dead of winter. They are grasping at straws.”
Bates believes an inn will ruin Bayville’s ambiance. “I love Bayville,” he said. “One of the reasons is because it is a quiet town and out of the way.”