Cold Spring Reconsiders Marathon Site Status

Also, vandals destroy lights on village dock

The Cold Spring Village Board this week reversed a recently proposed change to the zoning of the former Marathon battery plant site on Kemble Avenue. 

The proposed change for the parcel from light industry to mixed-use had been part of a Sept. 7 public hearing on revisions to the village code. 

At the Tuesday (Sept. 28) meeting of the board, Mayor Dave Merandy suggested that instead of mixed-use, the 12-acre parcel be considered for Planned Unit Development.

Village Attorney John Furst described PUD as a “floating zone” that takes focus once a developer has a conceptual plan. If the board agrees with the concept, detailed site planning can begin, overseen by the Planning Board. 

“There are benefits to the developer because it provides flexibility,” Furst said. “The municipality also has flexibility, not being subject to rigid zoning.” 

Furst said the result is a collaborative process that can produce “the best development for everybody.” 

Ted Fink, who serves as the village planner and is the owner of Greenplan, a Rhinebeck-based consulting firm, also supported the approach, saying it puts control in the hands of the Village Board and Planning Board and that the Kemble Avenue site is “tailor-made for a PUD.”

Fink noted that the Cold Spring Comprehensive Plan addresses the site specifically and provides “the types of standards that can be written into the PUD regulations” that would be “protective of the village character.” He said he would provide the board with examples of PUD projects in other New York villages. 

After the discussion, the board voted unanimously to rescind its previous recommendation to zone the site as mixed-use. As a result, it and a number of smaller areas will continue to be zoned for light industry. 

Furst said adding a framework for including Planned Unit Development in the village code would need to be drafted separately. 

The public hearing on Chapter 134 of the village code, which deals with zoning, remains open. Comments can be submitted until Oct. 14. 

In other business …

  • The public hearing on Chapter 126 of the Village Code, dealing with vehicles and traffic, will remain open until Oct. 5 as the board considers possible changes to one-way streets. 
  • Public hearings were closed on proposed amendments to code chapters on the historic district, streets and sidewalks and swimming pools. A hearing was also closed for a new chapter on waterfront consistency review, while an outdated chapter on shopping carts was deleted. 
  • Trustees authorized Merandy to sign an agreement with ParkMobile, the company that will provide the smartphone application for paid parking at the municipal lot on Fair Street and Mayor’s Park, and later on Main Street. 
  • The board declared various village-owned items as “surplus,” including what Merandy described as badly rusted equipment and vehicles. The items will be sold at auction.
  • Merandy delivered a heartfelt tribute to Ginny Pidala, who died Sept. 24. “She was a shining example of volunteerism, working for a cause and not accolades or honors,” he said. “Fittingly, just a few weeks ago, she was a collaborator on our Community Day event.” He said attributes such as “positive, smart, patient, grounded, delightful, warm, loving, caring, honest, dedicated, compassionate and selfless are a few that come to mind” but that “genuine” was the most appropriate. “She made me feel happy; this is a sad moment for us all at a rather bleak time.” 
  • Separate from the meeting, Officer-in-Charge Larry Burke of the Cold Spring Police Department said there has been another rash of break-ins involving unlocked cars, this time in the upper village and Nelsonville. This follows earlier burglaries on and near The Boulevard and Constitution Avenue. He also said vandals had destroyed lights on the village dock and that he would like to install security cameras similar to those used to monitor Mayor’s Park. 
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