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Thread: Hawk's Nest Restaurant, Port Jervis, NY

  1. #1
    Registered User rocketmanli's Avatar
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    Hawk's Nest Restaurant, Port Jervis, NY

    As per an old article written by Lance Oliver called:

    "Escape from New York......
    Leaving the rat race behind along the Delaware River"

    Originally published in American Motorcyclist magazine.

    "Along State Route 97, just north of Port Jervis, New York, there’s a spot called Hawks Nest, a stretch of pavement slithering along the cliffs above the Delaware River, that will have you thinking Western Europe rather than southern New York. A rock wall guards the edge, but there are plenty of spots to pull over and marvel at the view. Even if you don’t live in this part of the country, you’ve probably seen this road. It has starred in television commercials for BMW (both cars and motorcycles), Honda, Saab and Cadillac.

    But the road attracts more than film crews. It’s also a magnet for motorcyclists. On a summer weekend, bikes account for the majority of the traffic, with many of them headed to the Hawks Nest Cafe, a little restaurant with a deck perched over the river gorge."

    “Some Sundays, over a thousand bikes go by here,” says Ron Babcock, owner of the cafe. Maybe one of every five will stop at his restaurant."

    Full article here ->> http://www.coffeericeandbeans.com/print/HawksNest.html



    Well this great place suffered a fire in October of 2002, and pretty much burned to the ground, leaving a piece of motorcycling history in ashes.

    Good recent news for all you Tri-State area bike riders, as per Backroads Magazine (hi Brian & Shira)

    "Ron Babcock - owner of the Hawk's Nest Restaurant - is starting the road to rebuilding the restaurant. There will be a public hearing on Jan. 21 at 7:30pm at the Deer Park Town Hall on Route 209, Huguenot, NY (Orange County). He would like as many people as possible to show up for support to try and get his variance to rebuild."
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    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Just a few words of advice on how to best help him get the variance if you go to the meeting.

    Since he's asking for a variance, he is likely filing for it with a Zoning Board of Adjustment (or in some areas - the combined Zoning Board/Planning Board.) I know a bit about this process since I've been chairman of a NJ Board of Adjustment for the past umm.. decade or so (and a member for a lot longer than that.) I'll assume the process is similar in NY as in NJ. Zoning Board members are all "common" citizens (not political figures.) A Planning Board by design has some local political and locality (town, borough) employees on it. A combined board will have a mix.

    General advice:

    Since you're out of town - don't get rowdy. Local people can do that and get away with it. Visitors are looked on askance if they do it. Rowdy outsiders is exactly what he doesn't need. People of "substance" testifying on his behalf is what boards will listen to.

    He's likely looking for a use variance - meaning the restaurant is not a permitted use in that location. That is a difficult variance to get.. it requires a greater burden of proof than a simple setback/bulk variance (which he may ALSO need to rebuild.)

    Wait until the Voice of the Public is announced. Be dressed in your Saturday best (suit and tie isn't needed - clean pressed clothing helps.) Then raise your hand to ask to speak. You may be required to identify yourself and come forward to the dais so the microphones can pick up what you say (or not..)

    Present information, not opinions, about why the restaurant is a benefit to the community of Deer Park, and also why it doesn't harm Deer Park.

    A use variance must meet both positive (why it helps the area) and negative (how it doesn't harm the area or do damage to the intent of the zoning ordinances) criteria in order to be passed.

    You have to tell why it would be good, and NOT bad to allow it to be rebuilt.

    Present your info clearly, no arm waving, yelling, crying, etc., don't respond to any other audience reactions. If asked questions by the board members or the board officials (attorney, engineer, perhaps a planning expert) answer them as best you can in an honest manner. Less is usually more in this case - short to the point testimony is a good thing. The board members aren't paid for the job - it's volunteer and they'd really rather be home watching TV.

    Hopefully the Deer Park BoA is as good as my board is - but that's not always the case, and sometimes with some boards there is an agenda going on behind the scenes that isn't obvious.

    You may expect some opposition to the variance from environmentalists, and I'd expect some local people don't like the behavior of squids and posers on bikes in the area. There have been times I've been riding in that area (actually right through Deer-Park) where squids on surfboard colored bikes made dangerous passes (wheelies through corners isn't too safe right?) and I can imagine that does no good for the image of motorcyclists in general. Loud pipes probably don't help either. ("We have met the enemy and he is us..")

    I wish him luck! The owner before him actively discouraged motorcyclists from visiting his restaurant (perhaps because of local feeling?) - but the last owner was motorcycle friendly and it was a great place for lunch.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  3. #3
    Registered User rocketmanli's Avatar
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    Also, if you can't make it in person, perhaps a leter or e-mail in support might be of help.

    Contact Martin Smith, Jr. ÔÇô 754-8970
    @ the zoning board of appeals. Email @ townboard@townofdeerpark.org

    I suppose some well founded input from travelers to support his project will help his cause to rebuild.
    The web page is here.........
    http://www.townofdeerpark.org/contact.html

    His plan is the only one one the agenda.

    (Thanks for the research from my buddy, Enfoman, up near Albany).

  4. #4
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketmanli View Post
    Also, if you can't make it in person, perhaps a leter or e-mail in support might be of help.
    Unless NY law is much different from NJ law - a board isn't supposed to take any correspondence into consideration in making a decision IF the person sending the correspondence isn't at the meeting to be questioned by the board. It's pretty much the same rules of evidence as any legal matter requires.

    Just a FWIW - if emails came to my board, they would be ignored. Doing it any other way isn't legal or fair to the applicant or the board.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

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    My parents went there on road rallys in the 50's. They rallied & raced MG's Morgans and Jags. This is a 56 Morgan +4.
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    Rebel

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    My parents went there on road rallys in the 50's. They rallied & raced MG's Morgans and Jags. This is a 56 Morgan +4.
    Rebel

  7. #7
    Chairman of the hoard wmubrown's Avatar
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    Had been to that stretch of road and restaurant a number of times as we have a family cabin nearby. Would love to see it rebuilt again. LOTS of riding possibilities in that area... the bald eagle lookout in the Mongaup Valley is particularly nice.
    John A. Brown - Kalamazoo MI
    '09 K1300S 'Zoot' (Wicked, bad, naughty, evil, Zoot!)
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  8. #8
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Rocketman (Larry),

    What was the outcome of the hearing?
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  9. #9
    Registered User rocketmanli's Avatar
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    Looks like its on its way, but I don't have anything too current. Here's a few links from the Town Of Deer Park Planning Board minutes:

    http://townofdeerpark.org/wp-content...k_01_21_10.pdf

    http://townofdeerpark.org/wp-content...n_02_24_10.pdf

    http://townofdeerpark.org/wp-content...n_04_28_10.pdf


    Looks like the biggest hurdles now include drainage, parking, water runoff, speed limits, building a retaining wall and guide rail, NYSDOT issues and who knows what else.

    As per the owners PE representative, John Fuller, they did receive a variance from the Deerpark Zoning Board of Appeals allowing him to rebuild the Hawks Nest Restaurant at the exact same location, on the exact same footprint. Even though a restaurant is not allowed in this zone, the ZBA did grant a variance to permit construction of a restaurant on the parcel. (This is paraphrased from one of the above links).

    This link may say it best, but its still from April...http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbc...4/NEWS/4140327

    "....But the response from most has been overwhelmingly positive. Town of Deerpark officials say they support the project."

    I put out some feelers to see if I can get any more recent updates.

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