Recommended Updates to Village Code Aired

Project to run through 2018

By Michael Turton

Part of the long and arduous road that will eventually lead to an overhaul of the Village of Cold Spring Code was traveled by about 15 residents who attended a public meeting on Aug. 3 during which members of the committee charged with updating the badly outdated document presented their first set of recommended changes. 

Each of the five volunteer members of the Code Update Committee (CUC) — Carolyn Bachan, Ethan Timm, Norah Hart, Paul Henderson and Donald MacDonald — presented portions of the group’s recommendations at the nearly two-hour meeting held at the Cold Spring firehouse on Main Street.  

The complete update will address five subject area: uses; appearances; environment; procedures and consistency/clarity. Recommendations in each of those areas will be presented at public meetings as part of a marathon effort that is projected to be finished by 2019. Ultimately the village board will have to approve any revisions proposed by the committee.

About 15 village residents attended the code update meeting. (Photo by M. Turton)

About 15 village residents attended the code update meeting. (Photo by M. Turton)

The August 3 public meeting dealt only with the “use” section of the code which covers 10 topics, including recommended standards for permitted uses, home occupations,  accessory buildings, accessory apartments, garages, livable floor area, overnight accommodations, waterfront recreation and parking, along with restricting Main Street store fronts to commercial uses.

A sampling of numerous recommendations highlighted at the meeting included: 

  • The Marathon property to be zoned to permit mixed uses such as residential, recreational, open space, work-live, small retail and offices; 
  • Home-based businesses to be permitted based on “performance-based standards” rather than an attempt to list acceptable and unacceptable enterprises;
  • Accessory buildings and garages to be limited to a height of 20 feet;
  • With certain restrictions, independent dwelling units will be permitted as an accessory to existing residences;
  • Updated code to include a Parks and Recreation District;
  • Overnight accommodations such as Air B&B to be approved by permit, restricted to three rooms and to require fire inspection and annual re-certification;
  • Payment in lieu of parking by village businesses to become an annual, rather than one-time, fee.

Much of the impetus for the code update came from recommendations contained in the 2011 Local Waterfront Revitalization Strategy and the Comprehensive Plan adopted by the village in 2012. In 2013 Cold Spring received a $75,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to help fund the update. Greenplan, a Rhinebeck-based consulting firm specializing in municipal planning was then hired to assist the CUC.  

The CUC’s recommended revisions are available on the village website ( along with a powerpoint presentation that summarizes the project overall and the committee’s work to date.  A printed version of the recommendations is also available at Village Hall, 85 Main Street. In addition a video of the complete Aug. 3 meeting will be available on the village website. 

Written comments regarding the CUC’s recommendations can be submitted through August 31, 2016 via email to Trustee Marie Early at [email protected] or by mailing comments to Village Hall, 85 Main St., Cold Spring, NY 10516 Attention: Code Update Committee.

About 15 village residents attended the code update meeting.

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