By Michael Turton
The clock is ticking for the Special Board for the Comprehensive Plan (SBCP) for the Village of Cold Spring. At its meeting on Thursday, Aug.12, board members took a fresh look at the timetable for completing the plan. After considerable discussion, Sept.30, 2010, remains the target date for a formal public hearing, hosted by the SBCP, on the completed document. Member Marshall Mermell had suggested that the date could be pushed into October to permit more time for review. Chairperson Mike Armstrong, however, remained steadfast in insisting that the plan be completed by the end of September and it was agreed that the formal public hearing would be held on Sept. 30. In the days since the meeting it appears there has been a change of heart. In an email to Philipstpwn.info, Armstrong said that the date for the hearing has been pushed to Oct. 14 after committee members agreed to the switch via email. Members also finalized the schedule of meetings to be held prior to the public hearing. That schedule appears at the end of this article.
The Village of Cold Spring will also hold a public hearing on the plan sometime after Oct. 14. In the meantime, a first draft of the plan will be distributed to SBCP members by Aug.18. Based on their review and comments, a second draft will be circulated prior to their Aug.26 meeting.
Vice Chairperson Anne Impellizzeri reported that grant funding from New York State for completing the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) is now “in the system.” Somewhat similar to the Comprehensive Plan, the LWRP is more extensive and detailed — and can help pave the way for future state grants for waterfront development. The LWRP was being developed on a parallel track with the Comprehensive Plan but was put on hold when the state froze funding. According to Armstrong, no one knows when the LWRP funding will actually be available.
An LWRP and a Comprehensive Plan often overlap in content, but it is not known exactly how much of the data gathered for the Comprehensive Plan can be used in the LWRP when work on that document resumes. It is also not known to what extent the LWRP funding can be used to offset the cost of work already being done on the Comprehensive Plan. After a lengthy and at times testy discussion the SBCP decided to continue with the Comprehensive Plan as scheduled while investigating the ramifications of LWRP funding.
Village truck yard and boating
Part of last week’s meeting focused on two of several issues that the SBCP has deemed controversial — proposed new uses for the property that now serves as the village truck yard and boating opportunities on Cold Spring’s waterfront.
Commenting on the Fair Street truck yard, Impellizzeri said that the under-utilized beauty of the site was recognized even in the 1987 comprehensive plan (then known as a “master plan”). The site offers what many have called one of the best vistas on the entire Hudson River. She also pointed out that it is an extremely valuable piece of real estate — one which could be a source of revenue for the village.
One idea would see the site developed as a small inn and conference center. While no one expressed opposition to that concept, Member Marie Early said, “It has to include some sort of park — not just an inn. There has to be something that residents of the village can take advantage of.”
The impact of an inn on Fair Street as a whole was also on people’s minds. Mermell wondered, “What would the owner of Riverview think of an inn being developed next door?” He also had questions about traffic. “No matter what mixed use is put there an impact study is needed. Traffic patterns will change. I’m not saying that’s good or bad — but it has to be recognized,” Mermell said.
A new twist was also added to the discussion. An audience member, Roger Chirico, superintendent of highways for the Town of Philipstown, acknowledged the beauty of the truck yard site. But he quickly added that eventually the Village of Nelsonville will need to hook into the sewage treatment plant located next door. And according to Chirico, the only property available for expansion of the sewage treatment facility is the truck yard.
Armstrong responded that he thought that when the sewage treatment plant was constructed in 1972 it was built to eventually handle sewage from Nelsonville and that the matter would be looked into further. The future of the truck yard was referred back to the Properties With Potential coordinating group for further consideration.
Dockside Park, the Cold Spring Boat Club and possible expansion of boating opportunities were also discussed. Impellizzeri said that the riverfront offers opportunities to generate revenue for the village and that if developed as a “living waterfront” could possibly accommodate several kinds of boats. Specifically she brought up the possibility of mooring power boats at Dockside.
Mermell said that ultimately the U.S. Army Corps of Engineeers would need to be consulted on any development of boating facilities there. Early offered the view that developing facilities for power boats at Dockside would be “contrary to public input” received earlier in the planning process.
The Comprehensive Plan will have little if any effect on the Cold Spring Boat Club if Roger Chirico has his way. Chirico has been a Boat Club member for 44 years and is its oldest active member. “The Boat Club has never cost the village a dime. We built every slip and we assessed our members,” he said. He went on to say that in his many years with the club, “I don’t recall ever denying access to anyone — unless they were unruly. I’d really respect you people if you just leave it alone.”Recommendations on boating were referred back to the waterfront coordinating group for further discussion.
New member selected
In a closed-door executive session after its regular meeting the SBCP considered applicants for a board vacancy. It selected former Cold Spring Mayor Anthony Phillips. Phillips’ appointment must be approved by the Village of Cold Spring Board. Peter Henderson had also applied.
New meeting schedule
Thursday, August 19, 7:30 pm, Special Board Meeting at Cold Spring Village Hall
Thursday, August 26, 7:30 pm, Cold Spring Village Hall — meeting to discuss Comprehensive Plan Introduction and Village Character section
Thursday, September 2, 7:30 pm, Cold Spring Village Hall–meeting to discuss Riverfront and Economic Vitality sections
Thursday, September 16, 7:30 pm, Cold Spring Firehouse — meeting to discuss the Environment and Energy and Community Services and Facilities sections
Thursday, September 23, 7:30 pm, VFW Hall on Kemble Avenue — Meeting to discuss Property Taxes and Properties with Potential sections
Wednesday, September 29 — Cold Spring Comprehensive Plan to be released to public
Thursday, September 30, 7:30 pm, VFW Hall on Kemble Avenue — Public Information Meeting on Comprehensive Plan
Thursday, October 7, 7:30 pm, VFW Hall on Kemble Avenue — Second Public Information Meeting on Comprehensive Plan
Thursday, October 14, 7:30 pm at the Cold Spring Fire house — Formal Public Hearing on the Comprehensive Plan