My wife Barbara and I are writing in strong opposition to the Continuum project scheduled to be reviewed by the Irvington Planning Board on May 1, 2013. We would attend the Planning Board meeting to personally voice our opposition to the project but are scheduled to be out of town on that date.
Our concerns regarding the project are numerous. The most serious is that, as residents of Station Road, we believe the Continuum facility will jeopardize the residential nature of our neighborhood. From previous Planning Board meetings we have learned that when the apartment complex on Broadway adjacent to the Continuum site was approved, it was decided that the FEE site should be zoned in such a way a to prohibit a large commercial development from being placed on that site. The reason for that decision was that the proposed Continuum site on Broadway was considered to be a "transition zone" between the residential communities such as ours on Station Road, and Irvington's commercial district.
We believe that was the correct decision and do not understand why the site should now be rezoned simply to fulfill the financial goals of a large commercial developer who has no ties to our community.
Destroying this "transition zone" and allowing a large commercial development on this specific site will forever change the image that Irvington projects as a residential community. The stoplights at Memorial Park serve as true gateway to Irvington. Think of the visual impact that this project will have as people drive north on Broadway after work and stop at the Memorial Park traffic lights. Looming on the hill ahead of them will be a large commercial building with most of the lights on (since it is a residential facility). This is clearly not in keeping with most residents image of Irvington as a quiet residential community.
Our second major concern is that the size and scale of the proposed project is enormous. It is unlike any other commercial real estate project in Irvington, and the commercial real estate developers are requesting we change our zoning laws in terms of height, set-back, coverage and density requirements. The current proposal calls for a roughly 117,000-square-foot facility, which is actually 11 percent larger than the original plan, which was rejected by the planning board as too large.
Moreover, the facility will be situated in the center of a highly congested area. As residents of Station Road, we can attest to the congestion that already occurs several times a day along that section of Broadway. Cars driving north on Broadway will need to make a left turn to access the Continuum facility and this will obviously make a difficult traffic situation worse. Having heard several times the Continuum "traffic consultant" try and explain that the impact of this facility on traffic patterns will be minimal—we are not convinced. In addition, we are very concerned about the impact on traffic of the construction phase of the project.
Other concerns that we share with many Irvington residents are the removal of a large number of beautiful mature trees, potential water runoff problems, noise and lighting pollution from this project, its impact on the Irvington Volunteer Ambulance Corps (which will clearly not be trivial), and the fact that it is precedent setting. If we allow this project to go through, will the next commercial real estate developer be approved to put a large shopping center on Broadway—perhaps at the site of Columbia Press?
In summary, Barbara and I are strongly opposed to the approval of the Continuum project, and we urge the Irvington Planning Board to maintain the zoning restrictions for this site, which were designed to allow Irvington to maintain its status as a residential community.
Sincerely, Thomas C. Wright, M.D. Barbara Wright
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