Trolley may be headed to Breakneck

By Michael Turton

It is now a near certainty that the proposed B4A zoning for the Butterfield project will be approved in a vote on May 13. Only two issues raised at the recent public hearing on the new zoning were discussed — building height and inclusion of a luncheonette as part of the development — at the Tuesday (May 6) meeting of the Cold Spring Village Board.

The height of proposed buildings at the Butterfield site is currently limited to 35 feet. There had been discussion that if permissible height was increased to 45 feet, the footprint of some buildings could be reduced, creating more green space. That approach was advocated by at least one resident at the public hearing. No change was made on Tuesday. Mayor Ralph Falloon said that it had been agreed previously not to change the height provision. Trustee Stephanie Hawkins said that as it is currently written, the law already allows the Planning Board to reduce the building footprint size. “We have to rely on the Planning Board,” she said.

Luncheonette may be excluded

Hawkins spoke against allowing a luncheonette as part of the development, because, she said, that use was added after completion of the EAF (Environmental Assessment Form), an extensive document required as part of the zoning review process. Falloon said the luncheonette had been proposed so that residents at Butterfield wouldn’t have to walk to area restaurants. But Hawkins countered: “The idea was not thoroughly vetted … a luncheonette has to be fully justified (as part of) the EAF.”

Trustee Michael Bowman questioned how a 15-seat luncheonette could be detrimental. Hawkins responded that there was more to the issue. “It’s not just the 15 seats … there will be take-out, people will be pulling in and out. There are impacts that were not vetted,” she said, adding that a luncheonette couldn’t be approved, “just because we think it’s a good idea.” At the suggestion of Village Attorney Mike Liguori, Chuck Voss, the planner working with the Planning Board on the Butterfield project, will be consulted prior to the May 13 vote.

3D model sparks comment

During the public comment period, resident Joe Patrick criticized the Village Board for not having insisted that developer Paul Guillaro provide a 3D model of the Butterfield project sooner. A model was on display at the public hearing — but in an adjacent room. “You guys did not do your job … to give the public a chance to see the 3-D model (in advance of the hearing.) It was a disservice to the village,” Patrick said. When Trustee Bowman commented that the request had been made of Guillaro just the week before the hearing, Hawkins objected, stating that the developer had been asked to provide a model a number of times.

Former Village Trustee Matt Francisco questioned the model’s accuracy. “Do we at least have some sense that the grade, location and massing (of the buildings) are as depicted?” he asked. Trustee Cathryn Fadde suggested that the model depicts the “maximum (development) allowed” and that while she said she hesitated to use the term, referred to the model as showing, “the worst case scenario.” Hawkins disagreed. “I don’t think it shows the maximum build out,” she said, commenting that the model lacked any description or information about scale or accuracy.

The model may be put on display at the Cold Spring Village Hall, however that was not confirmed by press time.

Not easy or comfortable

Discussions will continue regarding possible streamlining of local municipal building departments at a meeting organized by Philipstown Supervisor Richard Shea on May 14, at 7:30 pm at Philipstown Town Hall. Town officials and representatives from the Villages of Nelsonville and Cold Spring will attend. Nelsonville did not take part in an earlier meeting that examined possible cost savings from combining building departments. The merger could eliminate Cold Spring’s part-time building inspector, a position held by Bill Bujarski, a scenario Falloon described as “not easy or comfortable.”

Preliminary estimates are that Cold Spring could save $2,000 through the merger. Trustee Bowman acknowledged the savings as substantial but questioned if the village couldn’t realize the same cost reductions by restructuring its own operations. “A lot of people have expressed concern about the level of service,” if Cold Spring loses its building inspector, he said.

“I see multiple contractors not getting what they’re looking for,” Falloon responded. “It’s frustrating,” he said. “It’s not Bill’s fault. It’s a part-time job … part-time pay.”

Trolley may service Breakneck

Falloon reported that the trolley that serves Cold Spring visitors might soon be kept at the Village Highway Department. Keeping the bus in Cold Spring would save “a ton of money” on fuel, he said. Currently the trolley returns to Carmel at the end of each day — a 40-mile round trip. Falloon said discussions continue regarding possible route changes. One scenario would have the county-owned bus go to Breakneck Ridge. Coordinated with Beacon’s Loop bus, that would make public transit available between Cold Spring and Mount Beacon.

Dockside agreement imminent

The Village of Cold Spring has received the long-awaited agreement for management of Dockside Park from the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which owns the former restaurant site. Negotiations to have the village take over operations of the riverfront park began several years ago.   Falloon said that Village Attorney Ligouri is reviewing the agreement.

Solar power could compact weekend trash

Solar-powered trashcans are being considered to help deal with weekend garbage during the prime tourism season. The cans, used extensively at West Point, compact garbage, giving each can a 150-gallon capacity. The move would help reduce weekend overtime by Highway Department staff. Each can costs $3,000. Trustees discussed using the $7,500 provided by Putnam County for garbage disposal to purchase two of the high-tech cans as a pilot project. Falloon will inquire about borrowing one of the cans from West Point as part of a trial run.

Candidates who applied to serve on the Historic District Review Board will be interviewed at 7 p.m. on May 20, at the Village Hall.

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

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