By Peter Calvert
  The Andes Planning Board met on January 8th with Harlan Dye, Chair; Bill Palmer, Frank Winkler, Art Reed, Cricket Keys, Eric Van Benschoten, Joanne Callahan present. Also Support staff: Kent Manuel, DelCo; Al Mohr, CEO and Joanne Boerner, Clerk. Public: Raoul Koopman, Nicholas Frandsen, Robyn Ciccone, Irene DeSantos, Cyndi Wright, Lester Bourke, Peter Calvert, Andes Gazette.

A Public Hearing to discuss potential reapproval of a Special Use permit for a new food and beverage establishment at the former Two Old Tarts restaurant was held. Positive encouragement was offered by the audience. No negative comments were heard. All paperwork is in order, fees have been paid, and DelCo has no disapproval. A “negative declaration” regarding environmental impact was passed and the Special Use permit approved and issued. Raoul Koopman and his wife, chef  Nicole Basis, will open gradually as a day café with pastries and a wine bar in the evening. Depending on availability of additional hired employees, hours may expand down the road.

Robyn Ciccone, owner of Dragonfly Café, presented that she is considering leasing the closed Diner on Main Street and wondered if she would need to apply for a Special Use permit. As the restaurant has not been closed for more than a year, barring major changes she would not require a new Special Use permit and could complete the process directly with Al Mohr, Code Enforcement Officer. She also initiated a discussion as to whether the Hamlet was leaning towards becoming a Restaurant Row, with a saturation of restaurants in The Hamlet. She highlighted the Andes Hotel, Wayside, Dragonfly, and Dana’s Place as ongoing establishments and Raoul and Nicole’s reinvention of the Two Old Tarts space and the Diner being reopened. She also brought up rumored plans for a restaurant to open at the corner building on Main and Delaware where and WillBees was situated and another restaurant potentially developing at the newly closed Tin Horn shop on Main Street. She floated the concept that too many food venues that close together would compete for the same customers.

Replies were offered that more restaurants could draw additional customers to the area as well as potentially spur new entrepreneurs to open idle store fronts for shops to profit from the increased traffic. Others felt that towns in proximity to Andes, such as Margaretville, Bovina, Roxbury, and Hamden, had a dearth of options for eating out and more places to dine could create a destination zone. Also mentioned was the diversity in offerings and hours of operation for the various places and the suggestion that the owners involved band together and consult with each other to coordinate strategy so each can succeed within their niche. Robyn queried whether the Planning Board manages business diversity in the Town. Kent Manuel pointed out that that was not their role. They meet to assure the zoning laws are complied with based on commercial/residential/agriculture district requirements, safety, and regulations, but not to deny or approve applications based on proximity to other venues in the same industry. Suggestions to revive the Andes Chamber of Commerce were raised and that the C of C could be a coordinated avenue to discuss these issues and present concise proposals to the Town Board.

Nicholas Frandsen presented once again the subdivision request for Mr. Howard Kipnes on Fall Clove Road. He presented a proposal for his client to “Comply with applicable NY State Fire Code with regards to emergency vehicle access” for the construction of a road on a steep grade with multiple switchbacks. The Planning Board approved this precise language. His client can engage an engineering firm to determine if the road is possible. The ultimate approval for the road will need to come via the NY State Fire Code rules and from the DEP as regards potential storm wastewater displacement.~