Board Denies Rock Street Excavation

Rock face considered ‘character-defining feature’ 

The Cold Spring Historic District Review Board on Wednesday (Jan. 13) denied an application by the owner of 29-31 Rock St. to extend a driveway and parking area. 

The excavation of a prominent rock face began in early December after the code enforcement officer issued a permit. But neighbors objected, claiming the application should have been referred to the HDRB and Planning Board. 

A stop-work order was issued, the permit revoked, and the application referred to the HDRB. It was not sent to the Planning Board. 

The site, which is owned by William McComish, lies within the village historic district. The HDRB can deny projects deemed to have a detrimental effect on a location’s character and important natural resources, including geological features such as significant rock outcrops. 

The HDRB began a public hearing on the application on Dec 23 and continued it on Jan. 13 before its vote.

“We’re trying to minimize the disruption of the rock face which is a character-defining feature of this site,” HDRB Chair Al Zgolinski said before the vote. McComish rejected an alternative plan posed by the board earlier in the meeting that would reduce the amount of rock to be excavated. 

McComish’s attorney said that by suggesting revisions, the board was engaging in “planning,” which was “outside your jurisdiction.” He also said the statute in the village code cited by the HDRB in reviewing the application was unconstitutional. 

“We respectfully ask the board to make its decision,” he said. “We will follow up appropriately.” 

Zgolinski and board members Sean Conway and Andrea Connor Hudson voted 3-0 to deny the application. Board member Lloyd DesBrisay abstained, saying he didn’t feel he could make a clear decision. Todd Seekircher, who is new to the board after being appointed to succeed Kathleen Foley, who was elected in November to the Village Board, also abstained.

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