Rock Street Excavation Resumes — Legally

Driveway was subject of stop-work orders and lawsuit

The excavation of a driveway at 29-31 Rock St. that had been the subject of two stop-work orders from Cold Spring and a federal lawsuit filed by the homeowner resumed earlier this week.

In a settlement reached between the village and William McComish, Cold Spring agreed to grant a permit to complete work on a driveway and a parking area, including excavation of a rock outcrop located on a steep slope.

Mayor Kathleen Foley said the settlement required McComish to provide a safety plan and a certificate of liability insurance for the contractor.

The village also agreed to sell McComish a small piece of property it owns adjacent to his parcel for $4 per square foot, the same rate it has charged for the sale of stoops and other small tracts to home and business owners.

McComish had planned to build a third residence on the parcel but in 2019 withdrew a request to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance.

In November 2020, the village building inspector issued a permit to extend a driveway and parking area. When that work began, neighbors objected, citing flying rock debris and questioning the project’s environmental impact.

The village issued a stop-work order and referred the matter to the Historic District Review Board, which denied the permit application because of the “disruption of the rock face,” which it called “a character-defining feature” of the site.

McComish renewed excavation work in March without a permit, prompting the second stop-work order. He then sued, claiming his civil rights had been violated. The settlement was reached on July 16.

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