Clock Ticking in Cold Spring

Code update faces June 30 deadline

The public hearing on the updating of three chapters of the village code that began on April 26 continued at the Wednesday (May 24) meeting of the Cold Spring Village Board. The hearing will remain open until at least June 7, when the board is next scheduled to meet.

The village faces a June 30 deadline for completing the project from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the agency that funded the update.

Mayor Kathleen Foley and village planning consultant Ted Fink met with NYSERDA officials earlier this week, and although Fink described the meeting as “productive” he added the state officials “certainly want to close this out by the end of June.“

That timing poses a definite challenge as the hearing remains open with numerous questions yet to be addressed.

Chapter 134, Zoning, has dominated the discussion to date. Chapters 76 and 105 which deal with noise and signs respectively, are also being revised.

On Wednesday, Trustee Laura Bozzi, who along with Foley sits on the ad hoc committee that is recommending revisions to the three chapters and a state Environmental Assessment Form based on comments from the Village Board and the public, noted that while some changes are simple, others have been more complex.

As an example, Bozzi said that last week the Village Board voted to remove previously proposed “form-based” sections of the chapter on zoning and will instead rely on Historic District Review Board design standards.

“That is conceptually straight forward but takes longer because the village must consult with its attorney regarding language, to ensure that section of the code can be enforced,” Bozzi said.

In addition, all Village Board responses to questions raised by the public must also be reviewed by the village attorney before being posted at, she said.

As of midday May 25, more than 50 responses to questions from the public and recommendations from the ad hoc committee had been posted.

The Cold Spring Planning Board, whose May 23 agenda included a number of significant issues related to the code update, in particular regarding redevelopment of the Marathon site, is expected to submit its questions to the Village Board by June 1, Bozzi said, adding that June 7 is the target date for a final revision of the three chapters.

She said Fink is developing a summary document, which, once all revisions have been made, will illustrate how the three updated chapters compare with the current version of  the code. That document, she said, will be published in the Putnam County News and Recorder, which is the local paper of record.

Rock Street resident Bill Pugh suggested that the Village Board and ad hoc committee have fallen behind in responding to questions arising from the hearing and offered what he sees a potential solution.

“Pause the hearing and resume after the board has responded to all questions, updated everything, distributed answers,” he said. “And give the community sufficient time for review.”

He recommended the hearing be resumed after the community has had four weeks to scrutinize the corrected documents.

“It seems silly we are paying consultants to generate what is clearly error ridden material, and then ask taxpayers like Marie Early to spend their time,” correcting it, he said.

Early, a former village trustee who worked extensively on the code update, has attended all but one of the public hearing sessions and has offered numerous detailed questions and suggestions, including more than 25 minutes of commentary on Wednesday.

Village resident Joe Meyer questioned the specific detail proposed in the zoning update for the Marathon site, which is designated as light industrial. The planned mixed use suggested in the update would include a variety of housing types, small retail, office space and open space.

“The principles of the zoning law should be decided and applied to everything in the village,” he said. “A specific plan should be made to build on the site according to those principles, but the two processes should not be made into one,” repeating that zoning and site approval should be separate.

Wednesday’s meeting was chaired by Deputy Mayor Tweeps Phillips Woods because Mayor Kathleen Foley was absent.

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