2012-07-11 / Civics and Politics

Planning Board Responds to Mayor’s Request to Amend Code

By Tim Greco

In what is turning out to be a battle royal of municipal boards, the Cold Spring Planning Board mulled over a request from Mayor Seth Gallagher and the Village Board that village zoning be changed to accommodate the Butterfield project.

Gallagher and village trustees wanted the Planning Board’s opinion. Planners were not inclined to adopt a key part of the village’s view.

The Planning Board agreed with the Mayor on an amendment to permitting municipal and other governmental uses at the site.

It was at the proposed second amendment of subsection “C” that the Planning Board came to an impasse with the Village Board.

The Mayor and Village Board would like to add mixed uses consisting of two or more uses.

The major objection from the planners was in the wording that would be allowed to have “two or more uses” and that left a bad taste with some of the planners.

Planner Parge Sgro said, “I don’t like the way it was written, it really doesn’t nail down the uses, they are giving you two uses, but there is more than two.”

The feeling was that Butterfield developer Paul Guillaro could get everything he wanted originally.

Chair Joe Barbaro at times referred to the Village code to clarify what the rules were.

Planner Jimmy Zuehl pointed out, “Essentially, if we approve this, they could build initially what they originally proposed to us without a P.U.D. or special permit…”

Barbaro agreed, and felt it opened the door to build what Guillaro originally was proposing. In any case, planners agreed that multiple uses would be appropriate at the parcel, including municipal and other government uses, such as Post Office.

Planner Arnie Saari stated many times over the span of the two meetings that the Board was not against affordable senior housing, “We really don’t have a problem with senior housing providing it complies with suggestions that we made. Our concern is that senior housing needs to comply with the Comprehensive Plan, which is to be tax positive. We are simply looking at protecting the Village from having a longterm burden whether it come to market rate or affordable housing.”

At Monday’s meeting to finalize the draft, Barbaro presented his draft to the Board, but then Zuehl then presented an alternative, simplified draft. In the end, the Planning Board used Barbaro’s draft, which will be sent to the Mayor and Trustees.

The question arose that the Village Board might need a planner at the next Village meeting, in case there were questions that needed to be answered. The Board felt that the Village could submit any questions they had.

The Planning Board also recommended an additional condition to be included to foster tax positive uses in the B-4 Districts.

The additional language dealt with ensuring fee-simple and tax positive residential development, and ensuring conformity to the Comprehensive plan

In the end, the Village Board will receive the Planning Board’s recommendation, but the village can choose to proceed as it deems fit, regardless.

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