In Voorheesville: One restaurant OK’d, second to seek resident input

— From Business For Good’s submittal to village of Voorheesville

Representatives for a Saratoga philanthropist, Ed Mitzen, recently offered the Voorheesville Planning Commission a “basic concept plan” for a restaurant where all proceeds go to charity.

VOORHEESVILLE — Two restaurant proposals simmering on low for months have recently turned up the heat. 

One was given the all-clear by the village planning commission at its August meeting while the other will seek input from residents about what they want to see in a not-for-profit food-and-drinking establishment. 

The planning commission on Aug. 17 approved a scaled-back special-use permit for Northern Barrel Brewery. 

Guilderland resident Charles Rosenstein had initially proposed a craft brewery and restaurant for his 10 North Main St. location, but had to put the brewery on hold due to septic-system limitations. 

“It is absolutely our goal,” Rosenstein said. “We hope to be a brewing operation in Voorheesville, in the space that we’re seeking site plan approval for.”

He went on, “But after doing the research, the issues that we obviously came across with the septic, we are going to need more time to figure out how to work around those. Obviously, we’ve learned — I’ve learned, at least — brewing on a septic system [is a] much different process than brewing with municipal sewer and water.”

The brewery operation will now be a separate permitting application, new commission Chairman Steve Reilly explained.  

Rosenstein said he had an agreement with the village that he would have to design and install a septic system that would handle up to 1,000 gallons of wastewater per day.

The Albany County Department of Health has jurisdiction over the septic system.

“They’re basically making an expansion of the existing system that will meet the 1,000-gallon threshold,” explained New Scotland Building Inspector Jeremy Cramer, whose father, James, owns the property at 10 North Main St. Cramer said it was his understanding that a brewery would require its own, separate septic system.

“Good to know,” Reilly said in response to Cramer’s explanation.


Good for business

The planning commission also received an update on 42 South Main St. 

Ed Mitzen, a graduate of Clayton A. Bouton High School and a wealthy man in the burnishing-his-legacy phase of life, is, along with wife, the owner of Bread Basket Bakery in Saratoga Springs, a shop whose profits are donated to charity. 

Mitzen has similar plans for the former Stewart’s Shop, for which he paid $350,000 in May.

Mitzen came before the board in April with no specifics on the type of restaurant that would go in the space on South Main. 

On Aug. 17, Stephanie Marotta-Johnson, a project manager for Mitzen’s not-for-profit Business For Good, offered the board a restaurant layout “we would think it would look like, with the kitchen and the bar and the dining area. And around the perimeter of the building, we would create a vegetation buffer, of course, because of the neighbors.”

Marotta-Johnson offered a “basic concept plan” of what the not-for-profit wants to do with the former Stewart’s, stressing, “again, this is ... a draft of what is proposed.”

It would be a complete teardown, the current building would be razed and replaced with a single-story structure with “potentially maybe a rooftop area as well for seating — that’s why getting rid of the poles would be good,” she said.

She also said Business For Good would like to put the utilities around the parcel underground and get rid of the three poles around the property — for a patio area in the front of the future restaurant. 

As for what would go on the site, the not-for-profit wants to perform a community survey to see what villagers “would want in that space,” but Marotta-Johnson said “we don’t know exactly yet how we’re going to do it.”

With Business For Good’s restaurant taking up the entire parcel, it’s proposing to use as parking parts of South Main Street, Village Hall’s parking lot, and the parking lot at Nichols Park, which is accessed by a driveway on the other side of Village Hall and Voorheesville American Legion Post 1493.

Marotta-Johnson did say Business For Good is in the process of purchasing 43 South Main St., which would add parking; however, nothing is under contract. 

“Right now we’re thinking of maybe, you know, a one-story retail down below and then [the] back would be more parking,” she said, adding a few moments later that Business For Good is “kind of still talking about” what would go in that space.

Reilly asked what Business For Good’s next steps were and was told the organization would like to get its survey out by the fall; that way the architect “can really start to dial in the design” of the restaurant, Marotta-Johnson said.

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