The Washington Irving Boat Club has dropped anchor for the time being, receiving a one-year extension as Tarrytown rethinks its plan to redevelop the waterfront property.
With little fanfare, the Tarrytown village board decided not to accept any of the five responses it got last fall to its call for requests for qualifications and interest to reimagine the village-owned Green Street parcel.
At the Board of Trustees’ Dec. 1 workshop, Village Administrator Richard Slingerland said the village “was looking for more of a visionary approach to this that we really didn’t see in the responses,” and recommended hiring a planning consultant “to take a better look at what would work for the site, what would accommodate things like global warming and sea level rise …”
Then-Trustee Karen Brown, who became mayor Jan. 1, questioned whether the village could workshop some of the proposals they’d already received before bringing in a consultant. But Slingerland said the process “becomes a lot more focused if you have the planners do it.”
Tarrytown was working on a request for proposals “to engage a consultant to assist with crafting a vision for the 238 Green Street property,” Deputy Clerk Alissa Fasman wrote in a Jan. 19 email to River Journal. “The Board felt that engaging a planning consultant will help better define the potential for park improvements and enhancements to recreational activities, which should help focus future proposals for this dedicated park land.”
Nothing had been submitted to the Board of Trustees for review, she stated.
License to Chill
In November, the boat club was given a license extension, at $2,500 a month, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022, or $30,000 — double what the WIBC paid in 2021, WIBC board member Lowell Kachalsky said.
WIBC’s 2020 license fee from June 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, was $4,814, according to the village. In 2021 the license was extended from Jan. 1 through June 30 for $4,814, and extended through Dec. 31 for $10,000.
WIBC, which is a non-profit, has been paying municipal taxes on the property for 65 years, and in 2021 paid $75,051 in taxes, Kachalsky said. No taxpayer funds have been used on the property.
The boat club, he said, lets the Tarrytown Fire Department, county police, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and other first responders use its boat ramp without charge.
“We are happy to report that our license to operate has been extended through 2022 and we are fully operational,” Kachalsky said, with the popular waterfront restaurant remaining open all winter.
“We look forward to working with the Village and participating in any workshops so that there is a unified vision for 238 Green St. that works for all stakeholders,” he stated.
WIBC, which was among the five entities that submitted a response to the redevelopment query, has “had no direct official communication” from village officials about the status of their search for a new developer, Kachalsky said.
When Tarrytown announced plans last summer to redevelop the 6.1-acre parcel to create more riverfront access and recreation, it was perceived as a shot across the bow by some who feared the WIBC’s days were numbered.
An online petition drive accusing the village of wanting “to close down the boat club and change it to a tourist attraction” that is linked from the club’s website has garnered more than 1,800 signatures. Another 750 signatures have been obtained in a hard copy of the petition at the club, Kachalsky said.
Tarrytown’s redevelopment plans listed possible amenities including “restaurants, marina, docks, bike rentals, kayak rentals, etc.” Slingerland said no residential or commercial development was being considered.