Final public hearing set on ‘formula businesses’

By Michael Turton

The Cold Spring Village Board is back in business after canceling recent meetings due to inclement weather, the holidays and Mayor Ralph Falloon’s work schedule. At their Tuesday (Jan. 14) meeting, trustees tackled a full agenda that included everything from appointing members to a new Tree Advisory Committee to formally approving the date and location for the upcoming village election. Most notable was a lengthy discussion regarding the cleanup of coal tar on the property occupied by the Cold Spring Boat Club (See Boat Club Building to Be Razed).

Formula business ban

The final “t” may have been crossed and the last “i” dotted on a new village law banning “formula businesses.” The law would prevent franchises, including restaurants, from operating in the village while exempting vital services such as banks. In November, Special Counsel Warren Replansky was asked to make final revisions, including a definition of grocery stores. He subsequently advised the Village Board to hold a final public hearing on the new law — set for Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Little interest in Grove

Only one inquiry has been received regarding the Request for Proposals issued for The Grove, the historic and long-abandoned home that sits atop the embankment behind The Nest Day Care Center on Chestnut Street. The village, which owns the property, asked for proposals to purchase and/or develop the site. Falloon said that one local resident has visited the site three times, is “very excited and interested and is determining whether or not the project fits his budget.” Trustees had decided previously that if interest was minimal after promoting the RFP through free listings, it would be advertised in The New York Times. Since the $1,400 needed for the ad was not budgeted Falloon said he would have to seek funding from other areas.

Cruise boat fees and policies

Last year, Cold Spring’s dock saw an increase in traffic, especially during the fall; with cruise boats visiting the village on several successive weekends. Fees, docking policies and schedules will be addressed at the Jan. 21 workshop.

Tree Advisory Committee

Cold Spring now has a Tree Advisory Committee to assist in development of a tree ordinance and management plan for trees located on village property. The board voted to name all nine residents who applied to serve on the committee along with Trustee Stephanie Hawkins. Appointed to the new body were Donald MacDonald, Dana Bol, Kathleen Foley, Richard Franco, Richard Weissbrod, Kory Riesterer, Jennifer Zwarich, Charles Hustis III and Mary Saari.

PCNR coverage criticized

Trustees Hawkins and Matt Francisco questioned the accuracy of a local newspaper article. Although they never mentioned the publication by name, clearly they referred to “Resistance to Rezoning Mounts,” by Tim Greco, in the Jan. 8 Putnam County News & Recorder, wherein Greco stated that a $75,000 New York State agency grant obtained by the village in December to update its zoning was “becoming a major issue.”

No one mentioned in the article characterized the grant as a major issue. The article also asserted “some on various village boards are becoming uneasy with the significant changes called for in the funding application.” The only member of a village board quoted, Falloon expressed broad concern over potential zoning changes but not the grant itself. Falloon was quoted as saying he would not vote for “sweeping changes” in zoning and that he wouldn’t agree to anything “detrimental to the village.”

However, Falloon told The Paper, “I’m in favor of the grant.” The article goes on to state that “The Planning Board and the Historic Board claim they were never consulted on the application by anyone on the Village Board” and that “Hawkins may have left ill will with the Special Board by simply attending their meeting and announcing the village’s intention to procure the funding.”

The Village Board is ultimately responsible for enacting new zoning — not any of the three boards mentioned.

At the meeting, Francisco said that the grant will help bring village zoning in line with the Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2012, the Local Waterfront Revitalization Strategy accepted by New York State in 2011, and the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program whose approval depends upon a Cold Spring zoning update. “We all know that but now we have [this article] … saying that the village is going to be rezoned and it’s going to be ‘green.’ To have this kind of … propaganda out there is detrimental to constituents understanding what the real issues are,” said Francisco.

Village election set

The next Village of Cold Spring election has been set for Tuesday, March 18. Voting will take place at the Cold Spring Firehouse at 154 Main St., from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Two seats on the Village Board will be contested.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Turton, who has been a reporter for The Current since its founding in 2010, moved to Philipstown from his native Ontario in 1998. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Cold Spring government, features