Rolling Hills May Hit Bumps

Development would tap into Beacon water, schools

Rolling Hills, a 30-building, 463-unit multi-use complex proposed for 57 mostly wooded acres about a mile outside of Beacon, remains under review by the Town of Fishkill but faces a new set of hurdles as officials consider a building moratorium and changes to zoning laws.

The site would draw its water from Beacon and also sits inside the Beacon City School District. Younger children living at Rolling Hills would attend South Avenue Elementary, according to Superintendent Matt Landahl.

The project’s two parcels are part of the Rombout Water District, which Beacon allows to buy up to 500,000 gallons of water per day from its system. The Rombout district currently uses about half that amount, officials said.

Rolling Hills at Fishkill would be built on this parcel along Route 9D. (File photo by J. Simms)

The project would also include 24,000 square feet of retail space just north of the Hudson View Park apartment complex and the Mount Gulian Historic Site.

However, in the past month, the makeup of the five-member Fishkill board has changed. Bob LaColla lost his bid for a third term as supervisor, and Azem “Ozzy” Albra, who won the seat, campaigned on a promise he would stop Rolling Hills.

Board Member Raymond Raiche also lost his race for re-election to Louise Daniele, who in her first meeting called for a development moratorium.

The other members of the board are Ori Brachfeld, who was re-elected, Jacqueline Bardini and, as of the Jan. 8 meeting, Kenya Gadsden, a former Beacon school board member who ran unsuccessfully in the fall for Dutchess County clerk. She was appointed to complete the term of Doug McHoul, who resigned in December.

Albra said on Wednesday (Jan. 29) that he expects the board to discuss a six- to nine-month building moratorium at its Feb. 5 meeting. If adopted, a building freeze would give officials time to revise the town’s 2009 comprehensive plan, he said.

“All projects that are not shovel-ready,” including Rolling Hills, “would be affected” by the freeze, Albra said. “Projects that have been approved would be allowed to proceed.”

Beacon remains under a building freeze of its own, its second in two years, that expires on March 3. On Jan. 27, the City Council discussed extending it into early June while consultants continue repairs to a network of drinking-water wells just beyond the city line. The council must hold a public hearing (scheduled for Feb. 18) and ask the city and Dutchess County planning boards to review the plan before it can vote.

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