Village Code Update Gets Underway

Goldstein elected chair

The newly established committee charged with bringing Cold Spring’s outdated Village Code up to speed met for the first time on Oct. 30, electing a consensus builder as its chair. The code includes a broad spectrum of local laws — from zoning regulations that detail permitted land uses, such as residential, business and light industry, to laws that cover a myriad of other issues, including construction standards, noise levels, signage and swimming pools.

The update, which the committee hopes to complete in 18 months, will align the code with the 2012 Comprehensive Plan and enable the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) to be completed. In essence, the two planning documents, which have been touted as vital in securing state and federal funding for future village projects, outline what residents have said they want Cold Spring to be as a community.

Building consensus

Members of the Code Update Committee unanimously elected Jack Goldstein as their chair. Goldstein, who was profiled by Alison Rooney on on Feb. 10, was heavily involved in the redevelopment of New York City’s Times Square and preservation of the city’s historic theaters, serving as executive director of the Theatre Development Fund for three years. He also served on New York City’s Community Board 5, midtown, for 17 years, including a period as its chair. The 50-member community boards advise city government on a range of issues, including land use and zoning in each of the five boroughs.

When committee members highlighted their background and qualifications at the outset of the meeting, Goldstein said one of the skills he brings to the table is his ability to build consensus. “I’m a problem solver — not a compromiser,” he said. He acknowledged that reaching consensus on issues at Times Square “was challenging” but that as chair he was able to make that happen. “Sometimes there can be two right answers to a problem and they have to be reconciled,” Goldstein said. Time will tell if building consensus in Cold Spring proves less challenging than at Times Square.

Committee credentials

While a few local residents have railed recently against what they see as a proliferation of village committees, this group’s qualifications seem hard to question. Marie Early, chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and a retired business executive, will serve as CupCom’s vice chair, and Mike Armstrong, former chair of the Special Board for the Comprehensive Plan and LWRP, will act as treasurer. Rounding out the committee are Carolyn Bachan, Barney Molloy, Donald MacDonald and Francis (Terry) Lahey.

Bachan, a member of the Historic District Review Board (HDRB), has a background in city plannig, architectural history and real estate development. Molloy, chair of the Planning Board, has served on Comprehensive Plan and LWRP committees in Kingston, Peekskill and Cortlandt. MacDonald is an architect and former chair of the ZBA. Lahey, a lifelong Cold Spring resident, is a former village trustee and helped draft the zoning that is about to be updated. Tom Monroe, former building inspector for the Town of Philipstown, serves as an alternate member.

The project is being funded through a $75,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The Village Board has yet to appoint a trustee as liaison to The group, which will meet on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Village Office. The process will include a number of public hearings.

Cold Spring’s Historic District is also regulated as part of the Village Code. The HDRB is now updating that section as part of a separate project that will parallel the overall code update. That work is being done thanks to a $17,000 grant from New York’s State Historic Preservation Office.

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