Group will study zoning, trails, streetscapes in northeast Beacon

Beacon Mayor Lee Kyriacou plans to create a citizens’ committee to develop ideas and advise the City Council on, among other things, the potential rezoning of the Fishkill Avenue corridor.

The mayor said during the Monday (Nov. 27) council meeting that he hopes to name between nine and 11 members by next month. An application is available at beaconny.gov with a Dec. 15 deadline.

Kyriacou said he expects the committee will meet twice monthly for six to nine months. J.C. Calderon, an architect and former Planning Board member, will chair the group.

The committee can determine how it will receive community input, and the city said it will assist with timing and logistics.

In a statement that he read Monday, Kyriacou asked the committee not just to study Fishkill Avenue (Route 52), but also to develop proposals related to a Fishkill Avenue-to-Matteawan Road connector; a possible trail running along the dormant Beacon rail line; and linkages to the Lofts at Beacon apartments, Fishkill Creek and the city’s rail trail, which will start at the Metro-North station and, when complete, run along the creek.

Kyriacou said he wanted the committee, which he is calling the Fishkill Avenue Concepts Committee, to consider what the Fishkill Avenue streetscape should look like, “recognizing that it is a main thoroughfare into and out of Beacon.” Specifically, he asked the group to think about building design standards, the proximity of buildings to the street and sidewalks.

Another topic will be an access route from Fishkill Avenue to Matteawan Road, which, if created, would connect Route 52 to Beacon High School and Rombout Middle School, Camp Beacon and existing senior housing developments. “That includes thinking about bikes, pedestrians and transit along an access road,” Kyriacou said, adding: “If any additional state land becomes available, what might be appropriate uses,” such as light industrial or affordable housing?

Other questions for the group will include:

  • What are appropriate bike routes, and how would they connect to commercial and residential areas?
  • How should the proposed rail trail adjacent to Route 52 be incorporated into concepts?
  • Could a pocket park be developed alongside the rail trail and where?
  • What spots along Route 52 might be appropriate as viewsheds?

Like the Main Street Access Committee that Kyriacou created in 2020, the Fishkill Avenue committee will have access to the city planner, though it’s unknown who that will be. John Clarke, a former Dutchess County planner who was hired in 2016 as a planning consultant, is retiring at the end of the year.

City Administrator Chris White said Wednesday that a new consultant is expected to be hired in January.

The City Council began to discuss rezoning a mile-long stretch of the Fishkill Avenue corridor three months ago, after four sizable parcels owned by the Healey Brothers auto dealerships were listed for sale. The goal, council members said, would be to encourage mixed-use development that would include affordable housing and create a more walkable, “Main Street-type” feel for the area.

As proposed, the rezoning would have affected about 30 properties between Memorial Park and Mill Street. However, a group of about 70 residents sent the council a petition asking that parcels in the corridor on Mead Avenue remain residential.

The council seemed close to scheduling a public hearing in October when Kyriacou said he thought the city might be moving too fast. The creation of a zoning district, he said, would be more appropriate to discuss during the city’s next update to its comprehensive plan, which is expected in 2027.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Simms has covered Beacon for The Current since 2015. He studied journalism at Appalachian State University and has reported for newspapers in North Carolina and Maryland. Location: Beacon. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Beacon politics

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