Altamont Corners may soon offer tattoos and hookah smoking

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

With approval for an expansion of Altamont Corners in place, the owner of Curry Patta restaurant was before the Altamont Planning Board this week, seeking approval for outdoor entertainment and a smoking area. 

ALTAMONT — Tattoos and tobacco were topics tackled by the Altamont Planning Board at its meeting on Monday. 

A paperwork snafu held up the approval of a new tattoo shop in Altamont Corners while the board told the owner of Curry Patta restaurant, also located in the plaza, it needed additional information about a cigar and hookah area she wants to have on the deck expansion it approved last month as well as specifics it needs to allow for outdoor music and entertainment.

At its March meeting, the board approved for Altamont Corners a 1,470-square-foot enclosed addition along with a wooden deck and stone patio that, taken together, would add about 1,500 square feet to the project. Since the plaza is owned by Jeff Thomas, the building addition was an amendment to his existing special-use permit.

At Monday’s meeting, Nadia Raza sought an amendment to her special-use permit to allow Curry Patta to expand into the new outdoor space and to allow for outdoor music and entertainment. 

Chairwoman Deb Hext asked Raza how she planned to have amplified music not disturb the surrounding areas, which include the Altamont Free Library next door, likely closed during such performance times, and an apartment building on the corner of Main Street and Maple Avenue. 

Raza answered, “I really haven’t thought about having amplifiers, I just thought of having — I haven’t even considered live bands as of yet. I was thinking like a guitarist or I was thinking like, you know, if I can fit a piano in there, like a pianist, or violinist, or the belly dancer is going to come in, and we can control her level of sound. So I don’t think that I’d have amplifiers in there.”

Hext pointed that the narrative included in Raza’s submittal for an amendment to her special-use permit said there would be live bands and amplified music.

Raza then said she had no plans to have live bands on the exterior of the building; they would play inside. 

Raza’s narrative proposed spring and summer hours would be noon to 10 p.m., on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in the spring and summer, and noon to 9 p.m., on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It didn’t include specifics about the hours for live entertainment at the restaurant. 

Hext recommended that Raza rewrite and resubmit her narrative and application because “the narrative says one time [and] the application says other times.”

Raza also for the first time sought permission to have a cigar and hookah area on the deck — its location would be toward the front of the deck near the parking lot, she said.

Hookahs, according to the CDC, “Are water pipes that are used to smoke specially made tobacco that come in different flavors … Although many users think it is less harmful, hookah smoking has many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking.”

“I have an issue with that,” said board member Barbara Muhlfelder. “To be honest, I’m not for the cigar area.”

Hext said state law allows for outdoor smoking and vaping areas provided the area makes up no more than 25 percent of the outdoor seating capacity; is at least three feet away from the non-smoking area; and is clearly designated with a sign. 

Hext said to Raza, “We would like something from maybe you or your attorney, that says how you are going to comply with the smoking regulations as written by the New York State Department of Health.”

One concern Hext had was the proximity of the proposed smoking area to the entrance to the library, because state law says it can’t be within 100 feet. Hext thought Raza was out of the 100-foot range, but said, “I don’t know that for sure.”

The proximity to Orsini Park was also a concern.

Hext asked when Raza anticipated having the smoking area, and was told, “It might just be on the weekends,” but that she would have to confer with her attorney and then include what was decided in her resubmitted application. 

Altamont resident Judi Dineen, a former smoker concerned about the health-related risks associated with smoking, asked Raza, herself a one-time smoker, to explain its appeal.

Raza said, “Cigar smok[ing] is a big thing; it’s still around. People want to come and hang out. You know, I get girls coming in having girls’ night, they want to come in, have mango margaritas. I have spoken to many guys that want to come have a guys’ night and just come sit down on the deck and smoke a nice cigar.”

She continued, “So although we are all opposed to it, I myself, my husband, and I don’t smoke, we have three kids. But people have asked for it.”

Hext said each board member has their own opinion on the issue; however each member can base his or her decision only on what village code allows and what New York State regulations allow.

 

New tattoo shop

Also during the April 26 meeting, the planning board all but signed off on a new tattoo shop opening up in Altamont Corners. 

Crossroad Tattoo will be moving into the 1,200-square-foot space that was previously occupied by a martial-arts studio.

With the Albany County Planning Board not getting the materials it needed in time for its April meeting, it deferred making a decision on the project, which meant the village planning board couldn’t approve the shop’s special-use permit application on Monday — but it did set a special meeting for May 10 to potentially approve the application. 

Michael Schramm, the owner of Crossroad Tattoo, declined an interview. 

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