Cold Springers following the latest changes to the Butterfield project once again have been subjected to the idea that something is wrong with the way local government works. But in considering the change-of-use request made by the developer, (Compromise Ends Log Jam, posted June 13), government worked exactly as it is supposed to, increasing safety and convenience for seniors and other users of Butterfield.
Those looking for conflict and complaints about burdensome regulation or anti-senior citizen actions will surely have no trouble finding evidence to support their belief — they never do when it comes to the Butterfield development. This isn’t the first time this developer has played victim to an imagined obstructionist or incompetent village government, and threatened to give up or sue. We can only hope it’s the last time.
With favorable elected officials in place last year, the village adopted laws for Butterfield to go up as envisioned by the developer. When he changed his plans this year he came back to the planning board as the law required. The planning board considered the request and essentially bent over backward, giving up every last bit of wiggle room for parking on the site. Short of ignoring the law, as was requested by the developer, they can’t further reduce the parking requirements.
The board also secured improvements for the project and its users that never would have occurred without this process including: a guarantee from the county to provide busing for all senior center events; reserved parking for patients at the medical offices (a necessity in this dense development with limited parking); signage for compact cars to free up space; signage about tricky flows to prevent snarled traffic.
It would certainly seem obvious that for a project like Butterfield the developer would have thought more about how parking affects its users, and he should have. That’s one role of the planning board — to help projects fill in the missing pieces on behalf of its users, who in this case will be mostly local residents.
Although I’m skeptical the development and surrounding streets will be free of parking and traffic problems, I applaud the planning board for not being intimidated by threats, representing village residents, and finding a quick compromise.
Aaron Wolfe, Cold Spring