By Matt Francisco
The Village Board will soon be asked to vote on the zoning change that will allow the Butterfield redevelopment project to go forward. I need your input to fully understand your concerns and positions. And I want you to know what my concerns and position are, not spun versions or hearsay. To that end, I will hold open office hours on Saturday Jan. 18, at the Village Hall from 2 to 4 p.m.
I wasn’t elected to rubber-stamp the wishes of developers, so I have asked hard questions. I was elected to protect our village and carry out the will of you who call Cold Spring home. I have always said that the Butterfield redevelopment has enormous potential for the village. But the fact remains that it’s a large development, which will have an impact on taxes, traffic and our aging water and sewer infrastructure.
Some fault me for being too conservative in avoiding financial and legal risks. But you elected me in part because of my many years of professional experience in real estate transactions, development and construction.
In my day job, I identify risks and make sure people are protected. That’s what I do as your representative on the board. There can’t be any hidden infrastructure costs that hurt our taxpayers. Even a single oversight could exceed our available funds and cause a tax increase.
There is a lot of misinformation attributed to me surrounding the Butterfield redevelopment application. Here are the facts:
First, I’m among the majority of residents who support a mixed-use development at Butterfield that provides a home for the post office, a county senior center and a public park with the much-loved sledding hill and Copper Beech tree nearby.
Second, the zoning for Butterfield does need to be changed to allow the project to be built as proposed.
Third, at the Jan. 29, 2013, public hearing, approximately 82 percent of comment provided was against the proposed B4A zoning amendment. That public comment did not oppose mixed-use development; it opposed the lack of assurances on the actual mix of uses. The board addressed many of those concerns in the revised B4A zoning amendment. Our aim is to ensure what the residents have been promised and that there are no surprises and/or hidden costs to the village and taxpayers.
Fourth, I joined the full board in voting unanimously in favor of putting the amended B4A zoning change forward to introduce the local law on May 7, 2013. This is the version that is in front of the Planning Board now.
The review being led by the Planning Board and its professional consultants is almost complete so we will soon have more clarity from them on exactly what is assured. We need to know what is most important to you and what compromises you are willing to make for the proposed plan at Butterfield. I hope to see you there and talk with you at Village Hall on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Matt Francisco is a Trustee of the Cold Spring Village Board.