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Irvington Waterfront Rezoning Debate Drags On

IRVINGTON, N.Y. – The revised proposal for Irvington's Waterfront District was met with concern by residents during a public hearing Monday night because they felt the draft proposal did not do enough to protect river views and historic buildings.

“There are too many trade-offs that don't benefit us,” resident Ann Acheson said.

The Irvington Board of Trustees is proposing rezoning the village's industrial district and creating a waterfront district. The district would span across what is now the Bridge Street Properties, from the Irvington Boat Club to Scenic Hudson Park.

Mayor Brian Smith noted that the village would be holding several more public hearings on the matter before voting on a law. The next hearing on the proposed Waterfront District will take place during the regular board meeting on March 19 at 7 p.m. at village hall.

Changes to the original proposal include giving residential developers an option for adding floor areas in dwelling units if they provide a 12-foot easement for public access to the waterfront, and capping the total square footage of retail stores to 40,000 square feet, requiring traffic studies and adding a view preservation regulation.

The revised draft also allows the board of trustees to permit buildings taller than 35 feet if the added height does not detract from river views and either provides public access to the waterfront or affordable housing.

Acheson said the current layout of the property means the only place a new building could be built is where a parking lot sits, which is in a flood zone. Acheson is concerned that the proposed rezoning does not provide protection for the buildings currently on the site.

Acheson added that the easement regulations did not do enough to protect views of the Hudson River as people walk or drive down Main Street.

Resident Mark Gilliland said he had concerns with the draft, saying he felt very strongly that the Hudson view-shed was the most important issue in the law. He also questioned why traffic studies were only mandated in special permits, asking why they wouldn’t be applied to general permits as well.

David Steinmetz, attorney for the Bridge Street Properties, took issue with the whole rezoning process, saying his client was concerned that he was losing property rights. The waterfront district rezoning, he said, is essentially a rezoning of the Bridge Street Properties.

“Bridge Street Properties is not standing in front of the board of trustees asking for this rezoning and asking for residential” units, he said. Steinmetz added that Bridge Street Properties would rather the board leave the issue alone.

“There's got to be an easier way than what you have in front of you,” he said.

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