The rebuilding of the White Lake Mansion on Route 17B has been in the planning phase for at least three years. It has now progressed to the point where the town board is considering an extension of the Kauneonga Lake Sewer District to accommodate the project.
At a public hearing on the sewer extension on August 22, the only public comment came from Jennifer Teitelbaum, who is married to Hal Teitelbaum, the managing partner of Crystal Run Health Care. Teitelbaum said that she was “appalled, surprised, disturbed” to learn that the plan for the new facility includes having doctors refer patients to the facility and that stays would be paid for by insurance companies.
According to the planning board minutes of July 10, architect Jess Sudol gave a lengthy presentation about the mansion. He said, among other things, “It is not a day spa; it is not a place where someone will get their nails done, pedicure, and their hair done. It is more of a situation where doctors from either New York City or locally, like Middletown or Crystal Run, will be buying some of these rooms, the majority of them, and they can prescribe their patients to come to White Lake Mansion for a week to eat right, to exercise, to do various things. They will also have other procedures that can be done in the spa. Basically, the insurance will reimburse the doctors at the end of the day. That might make up 40% to 50% of the ownership.”
Teitelbaum pointed out that, at another point in the presentation, Sudol told the board the developer would own the entire project. She said further, “My husband, who is, I would say, an expert on health insurance reimbursement, and other physicians who I’ve spoken to, have said this is absolutely not something that would be reimbursed.” She wondered if the owner of the project was being thoroughly researched.
Bethel supervisor Dan Sturm said the town board’s only concern at this point was whether there was adequate capacity in the sewer system to handle the projected sewage the project might produce, and the town engineer had assured the board that there was. He further said that other concerns about the viability of the project or the ability of the developer to complete it should be taken up with the planning board, which will hold a public hearing on the project on September 11.
The project will include construction of a replica of the White Lake Mansion, which will include conference rooms, offices, a small retail component, dining and a restaurant. There also will be two “hotel-style” buildings behind the mansion; each of the buildings will include three stories of suites, 12 per floor. One building will have parking in the basement, and the other will have a health spa on the lowest floor.