300-Plus Unit Development Proposed for Beacon Train Station Area

City planning board reviewing proposal

By Jeff Simms

A Beacon developer is moving forward with plans to construct more than 300 apartments at a site a half-mile from the Metro-North train station.

If approved, the project, dubbed Edgewater, would be the largest apartment or condominium development in Beacon.

Plans submitted to the Planning Board earlier this year by Scenic Beacon Developments, which is managed by Rodney Weber, call for 307 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments to be spread across seven buildings on the 12-acre site at 22 Edgewater Place. The materials state that Scenic Beacon expects current and new city residents to live at Edgewater, with the availability of smaller spaces there designed to keep and attract “millennials.”

A rendering of the 22 Edgewater Place project presented to the Beacon Planning Board

Shared amenities, including co‑working space, would also “encourage the growth of new companies, jobs and technology,” according to the plans.

Two existing buildings at the site would be demolished. The rest of the area, which sits diagonally between the Tompkins Terrace development and the train station, is wooded, and plans call for the creation of an over one-acre park in the middle of the development.

On March 22, architect Aryeh Siegel told the Planning Board that Scenic Beacon is asking for three variances, the most notable of which is an exception to the city’s limit of 36 units per building for the site’s zoning district. Calling the proposed development a “more modern take on a large planning project,” Siegel said that project designs call for as many as 59 units in some buildings to maximize capacity but reduce the construction footprint.

The project is still early in the Planning Board’s review process. The board must next determine if the development meets environmental safety requirements. If it does, the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals could then vote on the variances and the Planning Board could schedule a public hearing on the project.

A view of the site at 22 Edgewater Place in Beacon

Feedback was lukewarm at the March 22 meeting. Planning Board member Jill Reynolds noted that she’s not “crazy about the overall approach” of the project, saying it will “look like any suburban apartment development.”

Board Chairman Jay Sheers said he’s concerned about added traffic the development will bring, and suggested that the developer could scale the project back slightly.

In addition to moving toward the environmental review process, the Planning Board voted to hire an engineer to review a traffic study on the project, and to have its architectural review subcommittee review building plans.

12 Responses to "300-Plus Unit Development Proposed for Beacon Train Station Area"

  1. David Carroll
    David Carroll   March 31, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    This looks horrendous and would be a major blow to an area that should be further promoting its natural beauty. You can do better, Beacon, New York!

  2. Lillian Rosengarten   March 31, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Another developer’s nightmare plan. Seems like the beginning of the end of Beacon as we knew it. Sad. Overrun, overcrowded, gentrified. Lately the word “developer” rings of self-interest and greed. Just take a look at Butterfield and a pending lawsuit. I preferred the old trees and the lilacs now gone.

  3. Lisa Alvarez   March 31, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    The scope and size is too large, in my opinion. It should be a smaller development that has a more interesting architectural design. A traffic study is important! The one positive is the park in the center.

  4. Monica Maher   March 31, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Beacon is a beautiful city and it continues to grow with many diverse small businesses, galleries, cultural activities, venues for outdoor recreation and more. I fear that this type of particularly dense development would take away from Beacon’s “flavor” and natural scenic beauty. In addition, the traffic situation, particularly during high commuter hours, has grown increasingly difficult for both residents and commuters. Adding to this traffic congestion problem with such a large number of apartments would be ill-advised, in my humble opinion.

  5. Anthony Palermo   April 1, 2017 at 7:05 am

    This is a project that would help partially satisfy the insatiable appetite for tax revenue to continue the ongoing projects like the $12 million centralized firehouse and expansion of compensation and retirement benefits for the police, fire, highway and city government departments. Those expansion of budgets have been complicated by the state tax cap of 2 percent.

    The sad part of this process is that funds can only be extorted from the developer in the form of fees and studies. The real money to the city coffers do not come until the shovel hits the ground, which will be years from now. The more ‘not-in-my-backyard’ protests there are, the more money the city can charge the developers as they impose additional delays, studies, public hearings and reviews. Without these developments, the city would be forced to ask for the funds through tax revenues which would put them at risk of being voted out of office. The lower hanging fruit is for revenue are developers like Beacon Scenic Developments. God save the Queen.

  6. Carolyn C. Bachan   April 1, 2017 at 8:52 am

    And the other two variances are…? Looks like pretty dense development at about 25 units per acre. Not only like “any suburban apartment development,” this one seems positively institutional. Beacon has made many significant strides towards improvement — don’t mess it up.

  7. Kevin Vacirca   April 1, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Beacon is changing, and fast! I believe it is change for the worst. The small-town character of the city I’ve known for almost 60 years is slowly disappearing, and with “projects” such as this, I fell it will disappear completely in the next few years. Bigger is not better.

  8. Rosemary Fritz Grabowska   April 3, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Will the be any units for affordable housing? The rental cost in the area is completely out of control right now, and new developments need to take into account letting smaller income individuals/families share in the opportunities.

  9. Theresa Kraft   April 4, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Scenic Beacon no more. Imagine if the new proposed project, dubbed Edgewater, gets built on the bluff overlooking the Hudson River. With more than 300 apartments, it would be the largest apartment complex in Beacon history if built to the developer’s demands. The developer is already asking for three variances, one notably changing the city’s limit of 36 units to 59 units per building, almost doubling the current standards.

    The only people who will benefit from this project will be the developer and the investors because the residents of Beacon will only feel the negative impact. Why is Beacon so eager in allowing these developers to overwrite the master plan affecting the physical development and visual landscape of this city? How much does this historic Hudson Valley city have to give up, compromising its natural resources and green spaces? Realistically, how much will each apartment unit pay into the city tax base for this density increase? Apartment owners pay less money than homeowners in school and property taxes, water and sewer bills, etc.

    Keeping this in mind, let’s deduct the cost needed to pay for the increased school population, school bus transportation, wear and tear of the city’s infrastructure, roads and emergency services. How much will this really help the city’s tax base revenue when it’s all said and done?

    Regardless of how much Beacon tries to promote itself as a walkable city, these tenants will have cars — multiple cars, in fact. How will the traffic from these 300 units get out onto the already congested Route 9D, especially during rush hour to commute on the trains back and forth to the city? Train traffic is already a nightmare, especially to the people who live in the area. And the lack of commuter parking only compounds the problem.

    We as residents must ask why. Why does our city feel it’s necessary to fill its historic scenic vistas with these high density development projects? The answer must be no, because it’s not. Overdevelopment needs to stop. It’s more valuable for the City of Beacon to maintain its historic vistas, for these are the real treasures of Beacon’s scenic past, present and future.

    • Frank Haggerty   April 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      But there is more. The tragedy of the commons is favored by the first-movers, the powerful, the cunning, the covetous, the swift. Show me a wisdom in a sacred text stating thy neighbors inalienable rights are subject to auction, giveaway, transfer, nullification, takeover or buyout. (Yes, I realize it’s probably in Milton Friedman.)

      • Theresa Kraft   April 5, 2017 at 9:53 pm

        With strings attached…

  10. Jake Holmes   May 26, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Another example of greed over good. Beacon doesn’t need another eyesore. Something less tenement and more architecturally responsible would be nice.