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Sleepy Hollow Approves GM Permit After Hearing

Sleepy Hollow resident Mario Belanich worked at the former General Motors assembly plant for about 40 years. Tuesday night at a Sleepy Hollow public hearing on the GM property, he urged village trustees to approve a special permit for the property.

“Don’t prolong it,” he said. “15 years is long enough. We need, like anybody else, tax revenue, not only for the village but the school and town.”

Mayor Ken Wray and the rest of the Board of Trustees agreed. They unanimously approved GM’s request for a special permit at a special session held after the public hearing.

The permit paves the way for Lighthouse Landing, the proposed mixed-use development that would be built on the site of the former GM automotive assembly plant. According to Andrew V. Tung, GM’s planning consultant, the company’s next step is to find a developer to work with on the project. Roseland, the original developer in the project, dropped out in 2007.

“Now with this special permit in hand and an understanding of what the village has approved and what the village expects, then they can go out and speak to people with more certainty as to what a new developer could expect,” Tung said.

Comments at the public hearing were mixed. Belanich argued for the development, saying that traffic was much worse when the GM plant was in operation.

“We survived,” he said.

But representatives from Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper maintained there were still environmental concerns for the site that needed to be addressed.

Wray said after the hearing was closed he had not heard anything that changed his opinion.

Tuesday’s public hearing and special session came after the Village of Tarrytown filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court against GM and Sleepy Hollow in an attempt to block the development, citing concerns about traffic.

Trustee Tom Capossela called the lawsuit “ludicrous” at the meeting. He pondered whether Sleepy Hollow should sue Tarrytown over Third Fridays.

“You can’t drive to Sleepy Hollow on Third Friday with the traffic jam in Tarrytown from Main Street to Baskin Robbins,” he said. “Should we turn around and sue them for that? I think the lawsuit is frivolous, and it’s going to do nothing but cost us a fortune.”

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