Letter: HDRB Decision Disappointing

I was shocked and saddened to hear that the Historic District Review Board wants the two new Butterfield project buildings facing Chestnut Street to relate to the architecture of the Drug World, Foodtown strip mall, and the Lahey Pavilion, the three biggest aesthetic eyesores in Cold Spring — they should never have been built, but they were built before we had a Historic District Review Board, which is supposed to save us from architecture that does not relate to the character of Cold Spring … in the case of the strip mall I use the word “architecture” lightly. (I have nothing against authentic modern architecture — I live in a modern house, but outside the village, in a forest, which was recently featured in the Putnam History Museum modern architecture show.)

The HDR Board’s reasoning is, “To make sure the appearance is in character of the village.” The shopping strip complex (now with a Dunkin’ Donuts added) is not the character of the village. Cold Spring is a 19th-century village, with 95 percent of the architecture relating to that period … one of the very few villages left on the Hudson not totally visually destroyed and charmless. Let’s keep it that way and be proud of it.

The Butterfield project’s nearest neighbors, the Chestnut Ridge apartments and the Nest, both made an attempt to fit into the 19th-century look, and not the mindless architecture of the strip mall complex nearby. And Paulding Avenue, on the other side of the Butterfield complex, contains some of the most beautiful historic homes in Cold Spring.

The entire project should be of one character, as presented by Mr. Guillaro, who did such a beautiful job on the old lumberyard space. It would be easy to make the Lahey Pavilion relate: Add a pitched roof, put mullions in the windows and some 19th-century trim. And there is no need to flip building No. 1, which would make more parking facing Route 9D — we already have more than enough parked cars on 9D with the shopping mall complex parking areas.

Please, let’s not destroy Cold Spring any more than it already has been.

Joe Chapman
Cold Spring

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