Letter: Questions on Butterfield

I recently moved to the village with my daughter and husband. While my understanding of local issues is just beginning to germinate, I have already witnessed some things that are causing me concern.

I recently listened to a Planning Board meeting where Trustee Hawkins was shouted at and insulted by the chairman of the Planning Board after asking some questions about unsettled matters regarding Butterfield. She asked the questions politely and calmly and was met with anger and insults. Then I attended the Village Board meeting where politely posed questions to the attorney representing the Butterfield developer inspired yelling, finger wagging and thinly veiled threats to the village of legal action.

From what I understand, these questions are about why the Planning Board is confused about their authority over the size of the Butterfield buildings. Having now seen the pile of papers and heard the language used to defend the developer, I can clearly see from where this confusion stems. I understand that this developer has a reputation for building nice buildings.

But when I see authority figures refusing to answer straightforward questions, blowing up at the people that dare to ask them, and threatening legal action from behind a foot-tall stack of papers because someone even deigns to ask a question, I have to ask myself: “What are they hiding?”

I was attracted to this area for its natural beauty and a chance to give my daughter an upbringing similar to that I experienced in a small, “tree city” in Northeastern Ohio. Again, I’m new to this village, and to most of the people in it. But the importance of this question of the scale of the Butterfield building project and who gets to determine that is already obvious to me.

The venom with which a very apparent attack has been mounted makes it even more so. To have this town lose its character a few years after moving here, aside from devaluing my property, would be quite a letdown to me and my family. I can’t imagine how devastating it would be to community members with ties that go generations back. Many thanks to Stephanie Hawkins for her continued questions and to all the citizens who are working to get a clear picture of how this project is going to proceed.

Christine Bokhour
Cold Spring

2 thoughts on “Letter: Questions on Butterfield

  1. Bravo, Christine. You express my sentiments completely. The longer I watched the lawyer for the developer speak, the more upset I felt. His authoritarian, glib rhetoric that ended with anger and insidious threats was inappropriate. I wondered (1) why our local representatives wish to squelch dissent, and (2) how the developers could believe that such a legal presentation could resolve any questions legitimately raised yet, for reasons unknown, not addressed. I also feel Mr. Molloy’s dismissal of Stephanie Hawkins’ appropriate questions, in which he completely cut her off as if she did not exist, was a disgrace. Such a response is an insult not only to Stephanie but to the entire Cold Spring community.

  2. Christine, you write a very cogent letter, and one that sensible people should agree with. You have every reason to fear the devaluation of your property. Every homeowner in the Village should ask: what is the Butterfield project worth to me? If your house is worth $300,000, even a 1% decrease in its value due to unsightly suburbanization means a $3,000 loss in equity. We can thank an out-of-town developer and his enablers in local government for causing you to lose your hard-earned wealth. This is the opposite of fiscal prudence.