Booming Beacon

Updates on 11 projects in and near the city

On Nov. 5, Beacon voters elected a new mayor, longtime City Council Member Lee Kyriacou, who campaigned heavily on the need to control development through zoning while focusing on quality-of-life issues, such as parks and other public amenities.

A week later, on Nov. 12, the council began a discussion about the amenities it could consider requiring — including public parking, affordable housing and public open space — as “trade-offs” for developers who want to build four-story buildings (with a fourth-floor setback) on Main Street.

While the council considers its standards for proposals yet to come, it and the Planning Board must evaluate several projects that are pending now. In February we shared a progress report on housing and commercial projects underway in the city. Below is an update.

Beacon Views

Planning Board approval: Pending
Number of units: 39 townhouses
Variances: This project is seeking conservation subdivision status, which is granted by the Planning Board, rather than the Zoning Board of Appeals. If the subdivision is approved, the board could decrease front-yard setback requirements to preserve the site’s natural features.
What’s next: Although the developer proposed 42 townhouses, the revised plan shows 39 on an 8.6-acre parcel on Conklin Street, near the Meadow Ridge developments and a recently approved 13-lot subdivision on Townsend Street. The property includes steep slopes and wetlands that won’t be developed; a report on the quality of the wetlands is pending. Members of the Planning Board at their Nov. 13 meeting continued to express concern about access to the site, the traffic it could generate and the building design.

Ferry Landing at Beacon

Planning Board approval: August
Number of units: 6 townhouses
Variances: None
Notes: This project will be constructed on the half-acre “Welcome to Beacon” site across from the Metro-North station. The developer initially proposed that each townhouse be four stories but revised the plans to three, which the Planning Board approved.

296 Main St.

Planning Board approval: Pending
Number of units: None
Variances: None requested
What’s next: The City Council must issue a special-use permit for this proposal to convert a one-story garage behind this structure into a bar and arcade with an outdoor patio. The entrance to the bar would be from Main Street, through a courtyard. The council will hold a public hearing on the plan on Dec. 2. If the special permit is issued, the project will return to the Planning Board.

23-28 Creek Drive

Planning Board approval: Pending
Number of units: 8, plus 20,000 square feet of commercial
Variances: The Zoning Board of Appeals in September allowed the developer to have only 93 parking spaces (instead of the 113 required), build two 2,750-square foot apartments (instead of the 2,000 square feet maximum) and to build a four-story building (rather than the three stories permitted) at a height of 53 feet (instead of 40).
What’s next: The City Council must approve the concept plan before the Planning Board can complete its review. The commercial space exceeds the minimum 25 percent required in the Fishkill Creek Development District. If approved, it would be the U.S. headquarters of Docuware, a German document management and digitization firm that reported $52 million in revenue in 2018.

16 W. Main St.

Planning Board approval: Pending
Number of units: 62
Variances: None requested yet
What’s next: The Planning Board began its review of this project on Nov. 13. The plans call for demolishing a warehouse and auto shop at 16 W. Main (at Bank Street) to make way for a four-story, L-shaped building with 62 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

2 Cross St.

Planning Board approval: Pending
Number of units: 9 affordable senior apartments, plus retail and 10,000 square feet of office space
Variances: Project officials and Planning Board members discussed at a Nov. 13 meeting whether to ask the City Council to rezone portions of the property or amend the plans to conform with zoning laws.
What’s next: This project would combine buildings at 172 Main St. and 4 Cross St. and an undeveloped lot into a single structure with ground-level retail, second-floor apartments and office space on a third floor. Plans call for the portion of the building within the Central Main Street zoning district to have a fourth floor for office space, as well. The plans also include a public park at the corner of Main and Cross. The project should be on the City Council’s agenda for its Nov. 25 workshop.

Rolling Hills (Fishkill)

Planning Board approval: Pending
Number of units: 463 apartments, plus 24,000 square feet of retail
Variances: The Fishkill Planning Board is reviewing a request to rezone one of the parcels (bringing it into conformity with the other) to allow residential and retail building. It will make a recommendation to the Fishkill Town Board, but that could take a year or longer.
What’s next: Proposed for two Fishkill parcels that total 57 acres inside the boundaries of the Beacon City School District, this project would draw water from Beacon and send students to its schools. The proposal is due back on the Fishkill Planning Board’s agenda in December for continued discussion.

West End Lofts

Planning Board approval: 2017
Number of units: 97
Variances: None
Notes: This project will include 72 affordable apartments, including 50 live/work spaces for artists. In June the Planning Board criticized the developer when exterior details on the buildings did not match the renderings it had approved. According to the project’s website, rents at the artists’ units will start at $715 for a one-bedroom and $855 for a two-bedroom. The middle-income units will start at $1,099 for one bedroom and $1,315 for two.

305 Main St.

Planning Board approval: Pending
Number of units: None
Variances: None requested
What’s next: The City Council on Oct. 21 approved the special-use permit for this project — converting a slender one-story building into a wine-and-tapas bar with a rear patio. Now it goes back to the Planning Board, which will hold a public hearing on the proposal in December.

River Ridge

Planning Board approval: 2018
Number of units: 18 townhouses
Variances: The Zoning Board of Appeals allowed the developers to have 19 feet (rather than 70) between the buildings.
Notes: On Nov. 13, the Planning Board approved the name River Ridge Court for a new road that will lead to the development’s parking lot.

248 Tioronda Ave.

Planning Board approval: 2014 (initial), new approval pending
Number of units: 64 (reduced from 100 after a zoning-law change), plus 25,400-square feet of commercial
Variances: None requested
What’s next: The City Council must OK the concept plan before the Planning Board can complete its site plan approval. The council has wrestled with whether to consider the buildings three- or four-story structures; parking garages that would be “tucked under” the buildings could give the appearance of four floors. The council has also been concerned with stair and elevator bulkheads proposed for the top of the buildings.

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4 thoughts on “Booming Beacon

  1. Regarding 296 Main St.: If you look at the picture, there are private homes immediately behind the “garage to be turned into a bar with patio,” so someone’s home now next to a very quiet-use building would be next to a bar. How cruel to do that to homeowners? I do not know them. I just think it’s an example of what is happening to some people.

  2. “[T]he council began a discussion about the amenities it could consider requiring — including public parking, affordable housing and public open space — as “trade-offs” for developers who want to build four-story buildings (with a fourth-floor setback) on Main Street”

    What a bad idea. Main Street needs LESS parking if we want to keep it a vibrant, pedestrian friendly, destination. No one ever says “hey lets go to Beacon and hang out on the flat asphalt outside the DMV.

    At the Democratic candidates’ event before the election Councilman-at-large Manfield made the correct point that Beacon doesn’t have a parking with not enough parking, but that we have a parking management problem (i.e. giving away PUBLIC space to PRIVATE vehicles for free). I hope he considers this in his votes.

  3. It has become quite clear that the mayor, council, zoning and planning boards just do not care about those of us who have lived here for decades. Those of us who stayed in our community through the very hard times. Those who lived with the boarded up storefronts and the graffiti. It has become too expensive and too crowded. We have lost our Beacon.

    • If you think Beacon has become too expensive, you should support more development. More people want to live in Beacon so it needs more housing for them. If we don’t build it, the existing housing will just get more and more expensive. Supply and demand to housing no matter what my Beacon neighbors want to believe.

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