Days before election, event bans ‘politicians’ and members of boards
By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
Obviously frustrated with the stalled status of the proposed Butterfield Hospital redevelopment project, which could include space for a long-awaited senior citizen/community center, members of Philipstown’s 55-and-over set have scheduled their own meeting with Butterfield owner-developer Paul Guillaro for this Saturday, March 16, in Cold Spring.
The event, slated for 1 p.m. at the Chestnut Ridge senior apartments, comes three days before the Cold Spring village elections. In announcing the event, its organizers pointedly state that “no politicians or standing board members of any kind are welcomed” and that “this is an age-55-plus event for seniors only.” The notice, appealing to “the Senior Majority,” emphasizes that “seniors need to be heard!” The session is billed as an “informational meeting on [the] Butterfield project with developer Paul Guillaro.”
One outspoken senior, Donna Anderson, who organized this meeting, is listed as a Bowman supporter on one of his advertisements.
Guillaro’s plans for the old hospital’s redevelopment included an intergovernmental “municipal” building, room for a senior citizen center/community assembly hall, and place for a new post office, as well as three single family residences, condominiums for retiree-age residents, and a small square of commercial or office quarters. However, Guillaro recently put his multi-use project on hold and threatened to instead create a subdivision of single-family homes, which, unlike the multi-use development, requires no zoning change. At a public hearing in January, strong opposition arose to the zoning change envisioned to allow construction of the multi-use complex, with its senior center space and other components. Nonetheless, at a similar public hearing in November residents and other stakeholders expressed overwhelming support for the zoning change so the project might move forward.
Currently, the Butterfield tract is zoned B4, a Designated Medical and Health Care Facility District, which can contain health facilities, single-family residences, churches, schools, libraries, village government offices, parks, home-based occupations (such as teaching music out of one’s home), and, by special permit, senior citizen housing. The present law does not permit construction of a multi-government building (intended for Town of Philipstown and Putnam County agencies as well as village government offices) or a post office, or the commercial-retail units Guillaro proposed. Nor does it allow “mixed-use” structures with a combination of those entities.