Fishkill Ends Review of Zoning Request

Rolling Hills developer says decision cost $1 million

A real estate development firm says it plans to sue to recoup a $1 million loss after the Town Board ended its review of a request to rezone 16 acres along Route 9D, just north of Beacon.

The rezoning, if granted, would have allowed Hudson View Park Co., based in New York City, to present the Fishkill Planning Board with plans for a 30-building, 463-unit development called Rolling Hills. But on April 1, at the end of a nearly three-and-a-half-hour meeting, the Town Board voted unanimously to drop the review.

If approved, the project would include 68 affordable-housing units and 24,000 square feet of retail space. It would draw drinking water from Beacon and send children to the city’s schools. The developer would likely be required by the state to install a traffic-calming device — possibly a traffic circle — on Route 9D, while 55 percent of the land would remain open.

The developer says the town is in breach of a memo Fishkill officials signed in 2017 outlining a series of “good-faith commitments,” including the Town Board’s review of the rezoning request. The Town Board says it cannot be bound to a decision made by a previous board. According to an April 1 letter from town attorneys, the 2017 agreement “improperly and illegally binds all [Fishkill] town boards eternally” to its terms.

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

If the town ruling stands, Hudson View Park may still submit a proposal to the Planning Board, but would have to conform to the present zoning of the site, which is two parcels. One parcel is zoned for residential building while the other, which fronts Route 9D, is in a planned business district. The developer was asking the town to rezone the second parcel for multi-family construction.

Project officials took the town to task this week, calling the move “rash and arbitrary.”

“Hudson View Park has owned this property for many decades and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in real estate property taxes,” said Jeffrey Freireich, a project representative, in a statement. “It was seeking to develop this property in a responsible and sustainable manner. Unfortunately, the supervisor’s and the board’s irresponsible and illegal actions have left us no choice” but to sue.

Fishkill Supervisor Ozzy Albra, who campaigned in opposition to Rolling Hills, narrowly defeated incumbent Bob LaColla last November.

On April 1, during the waning moments of a meeting held by video conference, the board adopted a resolution declaring it is “in the best interest of the town” to end the zoning review. “For the citizens of Fishkill watching tonight, you should be very happy that your board did this,” Albra said. “It was worth the watch.”

Rolling Hills officials orchestrated “one of the most interesting setups in Fishkill history,” Albra said on Tuesday (April 21). “If they propose a plan that fits [the current zoning], we’re not going to prevent that from happening. But the days of developers trying to run this town are over.”

In a letter sent to Albra the day before the April 1 vote, Rolling Hills’ attorneys argued that the project had become “the target of a well-funded misinformation campaign led by the owner of the neighboring development” and others in Fishkill.

Moreover, “in the middle of the nation’s worse crisis in decades, with no notice or opportunity to attend the meeting or be heard,” the development group “discovered on its own” the board’s plan to terminate its review of the rezoning request, the letter said.


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9 thoughts on “Fishkill Ends Review of Zoning Request

  1. I agree with Mr. Alba. We need to stay within the existing zoning law. The law is there for a reason. Route 9D cannot even accommodate the traffic at certain times of the day now. It’s about time to keep the self-serving developers, who don’t live here, from further congesting our area. The former administration had a conflicting interest in rolling hills being built. Thank you, Mr. Alba and Fishkill board, for protecting our town.

  2. Why don’t we just zone it for horse-and-buggy transportation while we are at it? Or require phone booths every couple miles on Route 9D?

    People averse to progress stay stagnant. This project I’m sure would bring construction jobs, tax revenue and new opportunities for the community. Why are we so entrenched to keep our area “a nice little town like it used to be”? This is a period of historic contraction in our country. Wake up and embrace progress. The notion that traffic will be the problem is a false cop-out to old doggies in this town who don’t embrace progress and affordable housing.

    • Many of us have lived here our whole lives, and while we are not adverse to change, we are adverse to allowing a negative impact on what we cherish. Others have moved here to get away from the congestion and high traffic, not turn it into what they escaped. Progress is fine — just needs to be done sensibly; this overcrowding and high impact on schools, fire districts, traffic and environment is contrary to that.

      • Quality of life issue. Failure to consider daily living standards of citizens. Dutchess County has been ruined by inept and/or corrupt politicians, inadequate and/or lack of flexible master plans. If a $1 of additional tax revenue generated requires a $1.50 in services to be provided, probably not a good idea to continue business as usual?

  3. I wish Ozzy were in Beacon. Great job by him and the present Fishkill board.

  4. My congratulations to Azem “Ozzy” Albra and the other members of the newly elected Fishkill Town Board. This is truly a sea change for the Town of Fishkill after at least two decades of being the most development-friendly town in Dutchess County.

  5. Obviously the developer thought they had a ‘in,’ which the public never wanted and voted Lacolla out. Route 9D is already overcrowded, and the water departments of towns and sanitary waste is very tenuous. What really happened is the developer tried to shotgun it and got timed out.