Historic District Code, Grove RFP Discussed

Docking permit raises issues

By Michael Turton

Members of Cold Spring’s Historic District Review Board attended the Village Board meeting on Sept. 4 (Wednesday) to discuss revisions to the Historic District Code and a proposed Request for Proposals. William Hurst, an attorney now in private practice who previously worked at the Preservation League of New York, the non-government organization that wrote the model code used by many municipalities as a basis for local preservation laws, also attended.

Development of The Grove will be sought when the Village Board issues a Request for Proposals. Restoration and alterations to the building are subject to review by the Historic District Review Board. Photo by M. Turton

Development of The Grove will be sought when the Village Board issues a Request for Proposals. Restoration and alterations to the building are subject to review by the Historic District Review Board.
Photo by M. Turton

Issues raised included the lack of a process for applicants to appeal rulings made by the HDRB, criteria for permitting demolition of a building based on neglect, and the need to recognize varying degrees to which buildings contribute to historic character.

The code currently treats all buildings within Cold Spring’s Historic District as contributing equally. Hurst will suggest revisions to the code. He will also review the proposed RFP for development of The Grove, the historic building located atop the embankment across from Drug World.

Docking permit raises issues

Trustees approved a docking permit for the Atlantica, a 150-foot, 400-passenger ship that will visit Cold Spring Oct. 10. Local resident John Landolfi complained that such boats can disrupt fishing and crabbing. “Sometimes it interferes with taxpaying residents who like to use the dock,” he said. “We live here, we’re taxpayers … we spent a lot of money on the dock.” He said that most boats dock only briefly, but that the sloop Clearwater stays for a week. “We can’t use the dock … maybe this is something we need to address.”

Landolfi said that while he is a member of the Cold Spring Boat Club and can fish from there, not all residents have that luxury. “To me it’s ridiculous,” he said, referring to Clearwater’s lengthier stays. A summary included in Wednesday’s agenda showed that Clearwater has been in Cold Spring five times in 2013, with stays of two to four days.

Trustee Bruce Campbell said that applications are considered on a case by case basis. He also explained that boats are charged a dockage fee of two dollars per foot, but that for Clearwater, a non-profit, the fee is waived. Campbell said that passenger vessels are granted permission to dock at Cold Spring to help bring business to Main Street shops.

Coal tar remediation

Following up on discussions at their meeting Aug. 30, trustees reviewed a draft letter to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regarding remediation of coal tar in the area of the Cold Spring Boat Club. At that meeting it was agreed that the village would ask DEC to reconsider its Record of Decision (ROD) which calls for cleanup of only 20 percent of the toxic material and excludes deposits under the Boat Club building.

Residents in the area and the Village Board favor a more extensive cleanup. Discussion centered on whether or not to request that DEC pay the cost of altering or removing the Boat Club building if required by a more complete remediation. It was decided not to include the request since the intent of the letter is only to ask DEC to reopen the ROD. Village resident Kathleen Foley asked if there was a “successor company” that might be responsible for cost of remediation.

She said that in a community where she lived previously, where coal tar was also an issue, NYSEG was responsible for remediation because that company had taken over site operations. Falloon explained that after the manufactured gas plant that operated in Cold Spring ceased operations, there was no successor company.

No move yet on new village attorney

Trustee Stephanie Hawkins reported that she had consulted with Village Accountant Ellen Mageean regarding budgeting for hiring a new village attorney, a move that has been under consideration for several months. The Village Board has all but decided to go with the Brewster-based firm of Hogan & Rossi, however questions remain regarding cost of the firm’s retainer, hourly fees, and the relative advantages of both. Hawkins will provide more information at next week’s meeting.

Reporter questions

The Paper asked Falloon, if in recently repainting parking lines on Main Street, the village had considered a 2008 parking study that recommended that the lines not be renewed, as a more efficient way to use available parking space. Falloon said the recommendation had not been considered. Trustee Charles Hustis said that he was working on scheduling a public meeting to reconsider the parking study as decided at a previous meeting.

The Paper also asked if a public meeting would be held to review the findings of an Environmental Protection Agency report released at the end of June, updating the status of remediation efforts at the Marathon Battery site. At a Village Board meeting on July 9, Falloon said that if residents requested it, the village would ask the EPA to present the report’s findings.

Pamela Tames, Remedial Project Manager with the EPA, told The Paper at the time that she was willing to make the presentation, however Falloon said that no meeting has been scheduled because the public has not requested it.

At Wednesday’s meeting, reporters from both The Paper and the Putnam County News and Recorder noted how difficult it is to hear what is said at village workshops, an observation confirmed by at least one member of the audience. The reporter for The Paper recounted that a similar issue at meetings of the Philipstown Town Board was addressed several years ago by installing a sound system and requiring board members to use microphones.

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