Shandaken taps Frisenda as code officer

By Jay Braman Jr.
A former Crossroads Ventures employee has been appointed to be the new building inspector in the Town of Shandaken.

Al Frisenda was voted in at the November meeting of the Shandaken Town Board, with Supervisor Rob Stanley supporting the measure along with board members Doris Bartlett, Jack Jordan and Alfie Higley. Councilman Vince Bernstein opposed.

Bernstein’s opposition came due to Frisenda also being appointed that same evening as the town’ zoning enforcement officer /flood plain administrator. Bernstein felt the positions should be awarded to two people because giving them to only one individual gave that person too much power.

Frisenda, a former town board member himself as well as a former member of the town planning board, is expected to handle both jobs until the end of the month. In January the board must decide to reappoint Frisenda, as they will with all town positions, at the annual reorganization meeting.
Crossroads Ventures LLC is the company planning the $400 million Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park. The project, located in the Pine Hill / Highmount area, is to straddle the border of Ulster and Delaware counties and comprise two complexes: one with a 250-room hotel and 139 townhouse-style lodging units surrounding an 18-hole golf course; the other with a 120-room hotel and spa, 60 lodging units in two buildings and 60 detached units in up to 52 buildings.
It has been under review since 1998.

Frisenda was a critical element at Crossroads since the beginning, but on Tuesday he said he is no longer involved with the company.

“I left Crossroads on May 5 of this year,” he said.

Asked if his past with the company might affect his judgment should the project be approved and begin construction, Frisenda said he would not be involved because of an agreement brokered in 2007 that required that the project be inspected by an out-of-town entity to avoid any improprieties.

“The Shandaken Building Department will not be inspecting anything on that site,” Frisenda said.