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Hotel proposal would impact Pratt St.

April 7, 2016
By Doug Callen ( , Westfield Republican

Most large-scale business developments take years to get to the groundbreaking point. For the Webbs in Mayville, the dream of a hotel on the lakeside began decades ago. Ben Webb, businessman and developer, years ago moved back home from Atlanta, Ga., after carving out success for himself in the business world.

Kathy Boberg, Pratt Street resident for 35 years and a neighborhood resident for 60 years, treasures her lake view and her quiet neighborhood. In a recent letter to the Mayville Village Zoning Board of Appeals, she stated that if the hotel is built she would lose her entire lake view. Her second concern is the parking lot that she thinks will be built adjacent to her property. Third, she is concerned that after investing a lot of money in remodeling her home that it would lose value due to a lost lake view.

Boberg spoke with this reporter recently and allowed photos to be taken from her back yard where she would normally sit in her lawn chair and from her driveway looking down the street. She said she originally bought her home for the lake view and hales from ancestors who arrived in Mayville in 1883 from Germany.

Article Photos

Photo by Doug Callen
This is a view of the site of the proposed hotel, where the building on the left currently stands. The adjacent parking lot would be approximately to the right of the hotel site and to the left of the Chautauqua Belle.

Other residents have voiced opposition at hearings and through correspondence with village boards.

There is currently a home for sale at 14 Pratt St. through a local realtor for $78,900 and the listing on the realtor's website states, "A charming and immaculate little getaway with lake views, less than 10 minutes from Chautauqua Institution."

No one from the realtor's office would go on the record to say whether the home value would decrease if the lake views were gone.

At the zoning board of appeals hearing, many people spoke in favor of the development.

"We should support tourism; it's our number one thing to promote. If someone is willing to invest we should support them," said resident Nancy Smith.

Justin Hanft, community chamber coordinator of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, voiced his support for the Webbs' project. He encouraged approval, advocated tourism and praised a $13 million investment which would occur if approved.

Representatives from Maplevale Farms and Curtze Food Service stood and announced their support for the Webbs' project.

Legislator George Borrello said New York state is a difficult state to do business in but local government can control this project.

"This is a good project," he said.

County Executive Vince Horrigan said the county needs investment, creating dollars to keep the lake clean and to create jobs.

"Our future is about growth," he said.

Local entrepreneur Paul Stage said, "I have a vested interest in the park." His son is the owner of the Chautauqua Belle.

Stage said Mayville has suffered past economic losses and needs to catch up.

"This is a desirable change," he said.

Webb said his family wanted to shrink the footprint of the original plans for the development. Instead of 700 feet in width they decided to go 66 feet high with less width. He said he hired the best team to have a design that would have the least impact.



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