Board Approves Final Comp Plan

MTA to fix Lunn Terrace Bridge

By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

Capping a 5 ½-year effort, the Cold Spring Village Board voted 5 to 0 Tuesday Jan. 10 to adopt the Comprehensive Plan, formally enshrining the 101-page document as a guide for policy-making in land use, economic development, neighborhood character, and other aspects of community life, as well as a tool for zoning changes.

Enjoining Cold Spring to “prepare for the future; respect the past,” the plan seeks to answer the question “what do we want for the future of our village?” and sets forth seven basic goals:

  • “Preserve and enhance the small town, historic, neighborly, diverse and safe character of village life.”
  • “Take full advantage of our location on the Hudson River.”
  • “Protect the natural environment and conserve energy.”
  • “Enhance the economic vitality of the village.”
  • “Ensure that community facilities and services meet the village’s needs and are efficient and affordable.”
  • “Control property taxes.”
  • “Integrate new development with the traditional village.”

“This is a plan for action,” the document summary states, noting that “all village land use regulations must be in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan under state law and all plans for capital projects in the village by other governmental agencies, including [those at] the state and federal levels, must take the plan into consideration.” The plan also can help in obtaining grants and assure local businesses and village residents “that their efforts here will be worthwhile,” the summary adds.

Work on the plan began in late summer 2006 under an ad hoc citizens steering committee, replaced by an official Special Board for a Comprehensive Plan-Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP), appointed by the Village Board in December 2006. Two grants — $50,000 from the N.Y. Department of State for a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan and $7,500 from the N.Y. State Hudson Valley Greenway – funded most of the work.

The finished plan reflects the input of the Special Board, which finished its rough draft in December 2010; the Village Board’s revisions of that draft, producing a new version on Dec. 7, 2011; approximately 30 special public forums, as well as at least 135 routine Special Board and Village Board sessions at which the “comp plan” was discussed; hundreds of pages of public comment and suggestions, including the results of a village-wide survey; and more than 10,000 hours of volunteer labor. Along the way, six evenings of formal public hearings occurred, including three conducted by the Village Board since last March.

After the acrimony of some of those meetings and the intensity of the Village Board’s own internal deliberations in the last year, the unanimous vote and scant audience Tuesday seemed almost an anti-climax. Although the previous week he had still sought to alter the document, Trustee Airinhos Serradas on Tuesday proposed the plan be accepted; the entire board immediately agreed. Tom Rolston, a candidate for trustee in the March election and former Special Board member, applauded vigorously but the meeting room remained nearly empty. “Where is everybody?” Trustee J. Ralph Falloon wondered.

“It’s nice to have that [plan],” Mayor Seth Gallagher remarked, extending “thanks to the Special Board; thank you to everybody who participated.” In related action, the Village Board approved the allocation of $2,000 to support the Special Board’s ongoing work as it completes the LWRP, a separate initiative under state and federal programs. The village expects to get the money reimbursed when state funding comes through later this year.

Infrastructure: Lunn Terrace Bridge and Main Street upgrades

The mayor reported plans by Metro-North Railroad to fix the deteriorating bridge over the railroad tracks at Lunn Terrace. “For a long time we’ve noticed pieces of concrete flaking off” the underside of the bridge, threatening to hit pedestrians on the train platform below, he said. The railroad announced this week that it would remove the broken material, fill the cracks, and make other necessary repairs, he said. Gallagher added that the bridge surface and street, which the village maintains, remain in good shape.

The board also approved the solicitation of bids for the Main Street water pipe cleaning and relining project, a major undertaking, and set 3 p.m. on Feb. 22 as the appointed time to open and read the bids.

Metered parking

Trustee Charles Hustis told the board that he is preparing a chart showing streets and traffic concerns and that he wants to revisit the concept of “muni meters” – municipal parking meters – to produce income for the village. “I think it’s time we have a healthy discussion” on the subject, he said. In both 2008 and 2009, the board explored the option of installing a metered parking system along Main Street.

A 2008 study by a “comp plan” subcommittee projected that metered parking would generate $180,000 in net income annually. Such a system would rely not on the old, one-meter-per-space devices that resembled metal lollypops but sophisticated machines, typically one per block, that record a driver’s payment electronically and can issue a sticker to be affixed to the inside of a vehicle windshield attesting to payment.

Cold Spring Fire Company ‘stalemate’

Falloon, a professional firefighter and former chief of the Cold Spring Fire Company No. 1, reported that he and Trustee Bruce Campbell “have been meeting with the fire department, to move forward” on the relationship between the village government and CSFC. “We are currently at a stalemate. We have a couple of questions for the Village Board to answer before we can move on,” Falloon said. The fire company and Village Board clashed in 2011 over questions of fire company independence. In late November, the New York State Comptroller’s Office declared the fire company to lack autonomy. Falloon declined to elaborate on the issues continuing to cause friction.

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