Cleanup at General Motors — On The Fast Track

Major actions involving the clean-up and development of Lighthouse Landing in Sleepy Hollow were imminent as this publication went to press last week.

Lighthouse Landing is the former GM site containing 96 undeveloped acres along the Hudson River and Beekman Avenue where the historic lighthouse is located.

imagesEver since closing its facility in 1995, GM and its partner Roseland Property Company have been negotiating with the Village Board of Trustees about the development of the site.

The pace seemed to pick up earlier in July when the New York Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health approved the interim remedial measures authorizing the clean-up of former contaminants left behind after the facility closed. These contaminants include petroleum, lead, and chromium.

Mayor Phillip Zegarelli said in an interview on July 19 that the clean-up could begin as soon as July 24.

"I think we are in the final phases," Zegarelli said, adding that the Village might commemorate the occasion with a groundbreaking ceremony. Also on July 24, the Village Board of Trustees was expected to approve a resolution authorizing the entire development concept.

Plans include more than 1,000 residential units such as apartments, townhouses, and condominiums as well as a hotel, shops and businesses, restaurants, a small movie theater, a firehouse, soccer fields, a DPW yard, an extension to Philipsburg Manor, and a waterfront park and bike path connecting to Kingsland Point Park.

The Village will also set aside 60 senior housing units and 30 units designated for emergency volunteers, according to Zegarelli.

"The market place is pricing these people out," he said. At press time, the Village and Roseland were still negotiating the total number of residential units as part of the plan. Zegarelli said the current number of units was at 1,177. "There is continued discussion about reducing it further," he said.

Roseland Operating Partner Jonathan Stein said his company originally requested more residential units. In 1996, the village said that 1,900 units were permissible. Right now, Stein said the current plan is an excellent package, but he said it would be problematic with any further reductions, which would cut into his company’s profits and the Village’s ratables. He said further reductions might prompt Roseland to reduce the acreage devoted to public property.

Stein also said that reductions in residential units wouldn’t cure any traffic problems, which had been one of the concerns, because commercial property generates more cars anyway. He also said that the sooner plans are approved for development, the sooner the Village will collect more tax revenue.

As for the clean-up, he said it would take a few weeks to mobilize all the equipment, six to eight weeks to excavate and perform testing, and more weeks for other cleaning procedures. Altogether, he said it could wind up being a four to six-month clean up.

As for development, Stein said that once the Village Board of Trustees approved a resolution, Roseland would need to submit applications for subdivisions at the Village Planning Board. Stein declined to speculate when construction would begin, but Zegarelli said he hoped it would begin within a year or less.

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About the Author: Brett Freeman