Plus, school district weighs future of stadium lease
By Jeff Simms
Lee Kyriacou, a longtime Beacon City Council member, said on Monday (April 1) that the city needs to review its zoning regulations for the Hudson River-to-Main Street linkage zone and Beacon’s protected viewsheds — and that he may ask the council to consider another building moratorium while the review takes place.
The City Council instituted a six-month moratorium on residential building in September 2017, during which it began a nearly citywide zoning review. In late 2017, it made changes along the Fishkill Creek development district and spent much of 2018 revamping Main Street zoning and adding protection to environmentally sensitive lands.
Kyriacou, who will give up his at-large seat this year because he is running for mayor against incumbent Randy Casale, said at the council’s Monday meeting that zoning remains an issue because of proposals for development “on the edges of zones that don’t make sense to have in that zoning.” Without naming specific projects, he called for an “immediate and careful” review of the linkage zone and viewsheds.
“If necessary,” he said, “I am also willing to propose a short-term moratorium to get it done.”
The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, April 9, on the Ferry Landing at Beacon proposal, which would include six 4-story townhouses constructed on the half-acre “Welcome to Beacon” site across from the Metro-North rail station. The site lies within the linkage zone. Public feedback at meetings has been mostly negative since the Planning Board began its review.
Kyriacou said this week that his comments on Monday weren’t a response to any single development, saying the linkage zone applies “Main Street-type density and height — not only to the narrow corridor between Main Street and the train station — but also to the back side of these lots and the edges of the zone. This is far too broad and should be immediately reviewed and tightened down.”
Two years ago, the council rezoned seven parcels in the linkage zone after neighborhood residents argued that its high-density zoning did not fit with the homes surrounding the lots. But a few outlying and misclassified parcels remain, Kyriacou said.
In addition to Ferry Landing and its ongoing reviews of several other projects, the Planning Board will hold hearings on Tuesday on the development at 23-28 Creek Drive, the site of the city’s former highway garage facility, and for a proposal to build a nine-unit apartment complex at 53 Eliza St., about a block behind the 344 Main building.
The City Council also on Monday voted to postpone consideration of a resolution that would have supported a state initiative to renew and expand the Emergency Tenant Protection Act, a measure adopted in 1974 that sets residential rent limits in New York City and surrounding counties.
The ETPA is set to expire this year, and some lawmakers want to expand it statewide while beefing up its protections. Legislators in Newburgh and New Paltz recently passed resolutions in support of that effort.
Casale and other council members said they wanted more information before voting on the resolution. The council is expected to discuss it again at an upcoming meeting.
The Beacon City School District is asking Dutchess County to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to find a company to appraise the district-owned, 21-acre site that includes the land underneath Dutchess Stadium, the home of the Hudson Valley Renegades minor league baseball team.
The county’s 10-year lease on the land from the district expired last year, with Dutchess officials scrambling to sign a yearlong extension to keep the short-season class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays playing at the stadium, as it has since 1994.
Beacon school board members debated for more than an hour at their March 25 meeting whether to issue an RFP or allow the county to choose an appraiser.
Several stadium issues could be resolved this year. The Dutchess County Legislature, after balking initially, in December approved $2.4 million in bond funding to make repairs at the stadium. The county and team are discussing a second phase of repairs, while the school district must decide if it wants to renew its lease with the county or sell the land.
If the district renews the lease with Dutchess County, school board members have said it should receive more than the roughly $29,000 per year it was paid during the last agreement.
Beacon receives grants
Dutchess County announced this week that Beacon will receive $60,000 to replace play structures and a safety surface at Green Street Park and $100,000 to install a new “slip” lining in a deteriorated clay and corrugated metal sewer pipe on Wilkes Street. The grants are part of the county’s Community Development Block Grant program.