Residential permits, meters will be implemented this year
The Village of Cold Spring is poised in the spring or early summer to implement its long-awaited parking plan, which will include residential parking permits, along with metered parking on Main Street on weekends and holidays.
At a board workshop on Jan. 18, Mayor Kathleen Foley said the village is also working with state legislators to get approval to expand residential permits beyond the 11 streets east of the Metro-North tracks.
Down the road, the village will inquire about adding metered parking on Main Street east of the traffic light — a state road which would require a special permit — and lower Main Street.
Irene Pieza, who lives on Paulding Avenue, noted that she won’t benefit from the residential plan and that, even now, when events are held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, parking is “pushed up” onto her street. She also raised concern over people who “store” their cars on side streets, sometimes for weeks or months.
Trustee Eliza Starbuck encouraged Pieza to submit photos to the village when she sees an uptick in parking in her neighborhood. “It’s not complaining, we need that data; it’s really helpful,” Starbuck said.
Stone Street resident Patti Damato questioned the value of promoting mass transit as a means of getting to Cold Spring, commenting that the Metro-North train platform is already often overcrowded with visitors. Many people arriving by car, she said, are from New Jersey and Connecticut, which offer no public transit to the village. The proposed Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail connecting Cold Spring and Beacon will only increase traffic, she said.
Barbara Taggart, who lives on West Belvedere Street, said on busy weekends both sides of the street are filled with parked cars and she doubted larger emergency vehicles would be able to get through.
Kathy Gardiner, a Fair Street resident, expressed what she called a “suite of concerns” over the plans for Fair Street.
“It’s one of the only streets, in addition to Main and Route 9D, where you can have two-way traffic” allowing vehicles to get in and out of the village, she said. She also said the number of hikers going to the trails makes the street dangerous and that adding Saturday parking “will make it even worse for residents.”
Foley said additional policing during the peak tourism season will be considered in the 2023-24 budget.
The introduction of metered parking, primarily on Main Street, will increase revenue substantially, the board predicted. It also proposes making Fair Street one way on weekends, with metered parking on Saturdays; the tradition of free Sunday parking for churchgoers will continue. Improved enforcement, a proposed village tax on overnight accommodations such as short-term rentals, and an increase in docking fees could also expand revenues.
“This is a major change and it’s going to be uncomfortable for a lot of people,” Starbuck said. “It will take a lot of patience, and feedback is always welcome.”
Foley added: “We will make changes as we need to and will be very transparent about it. It’s going to take some experimentation and flexibility.”
Foley urged village residents to attend a Fjord Trail open house at the Cold Spring firehouse at 6 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 2). The session will deal with the HHFT Parking and Shuttle Study and how it relates to the village, including topics such as vehicle and pedestrian congestion, restroom facilities, trash management, parking and a proposed shuttle.
The mayor expressed concern over a recent change in lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review of Phase 1 construction of the trail, the Breakneck Connector, which she said was modified “late in the game” on Dec. 22. Foley said that was the first time the village had received “proper notification” that lead agency status had shifted from the Town of Fishkill to the New York state parks department.
“I’m hoping we’ll see greater transparency, greater clarity about the village and public engagement with the Fjord Trail and state parks,” she said, adding there is a need for better understanding of the distinction in roles and accountability for HHFT, a nonprofit organization, and New York state parks, in the planning and construction of the trail.
A number of Fjord Trail documents are available on the village website at coldspringny.gov, including information on a proposed bridge which will connect Little Stony Point to the trail.
In other business …
- The board, at its Wednesday (Jan. 25) meeting, authorized Foley to sign a $373,365 contract for an emergency connection of 150 feet of 6-inch pipe to the Catskill Aqueduct where the pipeline passes under Fishkill Road and Route 301 in Nelsonville. The connection will provide Cold Spring with water during repairs to the village reservoir dams. An emergency connection made in 1996 has not functioned for some time. The village negotiated with New York City Department of Environmental Protection for more than 15 years to re-establish it.
- The board approved a $25,300 agreement with Tectonic Engineering for the dam project that encompasses safety inspections, consulting, presentations and securing easements for heavy equipment. “That’s two big moves forward,” Foley said of the contracts. The Hudson Highlands Land Trust has suggested that Cold Spring consider a well field on the Clove Creek aquifer to replace its reservoir system. But Foley commented that “when you have surface water, you protect it, you don’t get rid of it. We see California trying to put small dams in place wherever they can to capture stormwater; we have surface water that we need to protect.”
- A joint session of the Cold Spring, Nelsonville and Philipstown boards is scheduled for Feb. 22 at Town Hall to discuss and hear comment on a state report about Central Hudson’s operations, including rate increases and billing problems.
- Ted Fink, a planning consultant for the ongoing update of the village code, briefed the board on issues to be resolved before public hearings can be held.
- An ad hoc committee consisting of Foley, Trustee Laura Bozzi, Paul Henderson (a former member of the Code Update Committee), Donald MacDonald (former member of the committee and the Zoning Board of Appeals), Eric Worth (the ZBA chair, and Jesse St. Charles (a ZBA member) has been meeting to get the document ready by the end of June, as required by the state. Chapter 134, Zoning, is one of the major updates to be completed. Once updated, the code will qualify the village to complete its Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan and qualify for certain state and federal funding. The LWRP has been on hold since 2013.
- Foley said Hahn Engineering will make recommendations to the board on three priority infrastructure projects: a culvert on Fair Street, part of a storm drain that directs water past Mayor’s Park into a county-owned wetland; a culvert subject to storm washouts on private property between Grandview and Fair streets but managed by the village through an easement; and drainage issues at the intersection of Mountain and Fishkill avenues.
- The board placed a moratorium on applications for large, ticketed events such as beer, wine and food festivals in village parks through the end of May. It is reassessing event policies as part of 2023-24 budget planning.
- Foley opened the workshop on Jan. 18 with a tribute to former Cold Spring resident and village activist, Anne Impellizzeri, who died Jan. 5. “The village lost a giant this week,” she said. “Anne was instrumental in the development of the Comprehensive Plan and the Waterfront Revitalization Plan; she was a solid community member, so devoted, so smart.
“She was an early female executive in the corporate world, elbowed her way to the top there, and brought that management skill set here to the village. She was a solid mentor to those of us who now sit on planning boards, ad hoc committees and the Board of Trustees. Wherever you are Anne, thank you for everything. You will be missed in the village.”
Cold Spring does not have a parking problem. We have a convenience, courtesy and compliance problem. Too many residents and merchants feel that if they cannot park in front of their shop or residence, it is a problem; cars are parked for weeks on streets that limit parking to a few hours, and parking rules are rarely enforced, and therefore largely ignored.
Perhaps before we spend precious taxpayer money on a new set of parking rules, regulations, signage, etc., we could consistently and fairly enforce the existing rules and regulations and see how that works.
A parking spot in Cold Spring is worth about $150 per month. Well-managed parking could generate hundreds of thou-sands of dollars in revenue for the village. This money could be used to dramatically reduce taxes or to invest in our aging infrastructure.
I live on the lower end of Main Street. There are very few commuters parking here, and for the ones who do sneak in, this plan won’t change their habits because time limits will only be enforced on weekends. [via Facebook]