Asserts in letter he will build residential homes
By Kevin E. Foley
For the second time in a year, developer Paul Guillaro has withdrawn plans for the Butterfield Hospital property on Route 9D. In a brief letter to the Cold Spring Village Board of Trustees dated Feb. 4, Guillaro asked the board to suspend all consideration of the proposed B4A zoning amendment. That idea ran into a buzz- saw of opposition at a public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
In his letter, Guillaro also said he had asked his consultants to draw up plans for a “single family as-of-right R1 application to the Planning Board.” R1 is allowed under the current B4 zoning.
Guillaro’s new tact would also eliminate the possibility of a new home for the post office, a new senior citizen center and other governmental services long spoken about by county, town and village officials. The withdrawal of his request for re-zoning will cast those issues into a harsher spotlight. But just who is now supposed to do something about jump-starting reconsideration remains to be seen.
Opposition to the new zoning proposal, which would have permitted multiple uses including all levels of government functions, focused on the absence of any certainty or specificity about those services. In fact, as several speakers at the hearing noted, Guillaro had taken off the label “municipal” from one of the proposed buildings on his concept drawings, suggesting to many he wasn’t sure about the services either.
Cold Spring Mayor Seth Gallagher has said several times of late that the municipal services were not guaranteed but that approving the new zoning and getting the buildings built was the only chance the village had of obtaining them.
Although concerns about the actual development’s details remain, many people accept in principle that the site could and should be developed with a multi-use concept that in this case would also involve 55 senior citizen condominiums. But there is also a strong view — among some in the village, anyway — that the promised municipal services should be part of the early planning and not wait until after the buildings are built. Fears include an overabundance of retail space that could lead to the presence of several formula businesses.
Asked for a reaction, Trustee Matt Francisco in an email wrote: “I am disheartened by the news that Mr. Guillaro wants to investigate other options for use. I sincerely hope that he understood what I believe the residents were trying to communicate at the public hearing. That it was not so much comment against the site plan as much as the mechanism to best achieve those uses for his project while protecting the village’s interests. Of great concern I believe, was the change of the Municipal Building being labeled on the concept plan as ‘Office/Retail/Commercial.’ This would allow for the entire 17,000 square feet of the building to be used for additional commercial/retail space that was never anticipated or discussed. That in combination with the lack of any protections from formula businesses was clearly more risk than the residents want us to take on their behalf.”
After the Tuesday meeting, Trustee Ralph Falloon, currently the only candidate for mayor, said, “We need to seriously regroup [on Butterfield]. I don’t want to see the proposal go away. We have to close some of the open-ended issues and move forward.”