A panel of judges has rejected an appeal by opponents of the Hyatt Place Hotel in Snyder, pushing the controversial project forward and closer to a conclusion.
The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester on Friday upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit involving the height of the six-story hotel going up on Main Street near the Youngmann Highway.
The appellate court ruling was a huge blow to the hopes of residents, who have been fighting the hotel project for nearly two years.
“We lost, obviously, and we’re going to meet with our attorney next week to see what other options we have,” said Raymond Paolini, president of the Livingston Parkway Homeowners Association. “The biggest thing we had to stop this was the height restriction.”
The neighbors argued that the hotel violated a height restriction placed on the property in 1969, a condition set when the previous owner hoped to add an office building to the site.
Their lawsuit was dismissed by a State Supreme Court justice in November 2012, prompting the appeal.
The five members of the appellate court unanimously upheld the previous ruling in a two-page written decision issued Friday.
The height restriction applied only to new buildings proposed by a developer in June 1968, the appellate court said.
“That development never came to fruition,” the decision reads, “and the subject parcel was rezoned in 1976.”
As a result, the height restriction was “no longer enforceable.”
“We conclude that Supreme Court properly dismissed the amended petition,” the decision reads.
“We have reviewed petitioners’ remaining contentions and conclude they are without merit.”
This was one of several legal challenges the neighboring homeowners have filed against the hotel developer, Iskalo Development Corp.
It’s also the latest court decision that hasn’t gone their way.
State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski in November rejected two other lawsuits filed by the homeowners.
In those cases, Michalski found the Amherst Zoning Board of Appeals was not in violation of town law when granting variances for the hotel and – in addressing the issue of the hotel trespassing upon residents’ land – said the town’s Planning Board has no authority to resolve boundary disputes.
Appeals are expected, but clearly the opposition is exhausting its options.
Meanwhile, the ruling Friday provided a sense of relief for Iskalo.
Construction has continued on the $15 million, 137-room Hyatt, even as the developer awaited a decision on the appeal.
Four of the six stories have been erected, said David Chiazza, executive vice president for Iskalo. Opening is scheduled for the fall, he said.
“We’re pleased by the decision,” Sean Hopkins, Iskalo’s attorney, said Friday. “This decision is the most important of the numerous lawsuits filed by the neighbors. If the 1969 zoning condition for the project never built had been upheld, it would have resulted in a serious obstacle moving forward.”