Update On Lighthouse Landing, An Interview with Philip Zegarelli

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Artist’s rendering looking up Beekman Avenue

The Village of Sleepy Hollow has a time deadline of December 16 to get all comments in on the Preliminary Final Environmental Impact Statement (PFEIS) submitted by Roseland for the Lighthouse Landing project.

“There are at least six working committees headed up by individual Trustees on the PFEIS. The committees are comprised of citizens, consultants, agencies and other peoples of interest. I have purposely not attended them because I want everyone to talk and not necessarily come to me for answers,” Mayor Philip Zegarelli said. The committees will then prepare reports and a series of work sessions will be held by the Mayor and Board of Trustees to pull all the comments together. “We intend to take the PFEIS apart, revise it and put it back together again. We will then make the determination to accept it in full, part, or not at all. We would like to have this part of the work completed by mid-January,” the Mayor said. The applicants (Roseland and General Motors) will then return for the Village’s findings and will in all probability have to revise parts of their development proposal. By mid-March to mid-April, the developers will present to the Board modifications they have made.
“We are very focused on what we want to do and what we want to see. How we want to see the eastside of the railroad tracks developed and how we want to see the westside are all concerns of ours,” he added. That focus specifically deals with the potential for a new railroad station on site. It also includes the preparation for the possibility of the Pocantico River being restored at the northern portion of the property. The Village is also focusing on the size, shape and style of buildings and their relationship to existing parkland like Kingsland Point.
As for the possibility of a new railroad station, the Mayor said, “We are going to allocate space for it. It doesn’t have to be built on day one. If we don’t do it now we’ll never have space for it once development starts. The same holds true for the space required for the studies and maybe, and I say maybe, the opening of the Pocantico River. We are planning ahead and don’t want to create a situation where everyone curses the ‘old Board’ for not planning ahead.”
The number of housing units has had everyone’s attention from the inception of the Lighthouse Landing proposal. Roseland and General Motors originally presented 1,564 units of housing and later revised the number downward to 1,250 units. According to Mr. Zegarelli, the Village is still looking to reduce that number. Within Roseland’s first proposal, the units were heavily weighted with rental apartments. There were minimal townhouses, worker homes and senior citizen housing. Currently, that ratio has been reversed with townhouses and condominiums outnumbering rental apartments. “We still have to address the issues of Village worker homes and senior housing which comes under the umbrella of affordable housing. We have an economic subcommittee and it isn’t easy to define affordable housing in Westchester County. No one really has a definition for that,” the Mayor said. Regardless, the Village will have to come up with a formula for affordable housing and with the number of units that will be offered to workers and senior citizens. As for the total number of units the Village will permit, the Mayor would not comment. In his bargaining with the developer, the number of units agreed upon will come at the very end of negotiations and not prematurely. Lighthouse Landing will not stand alone on Sleepy Hollow’s waterfront. Adjacent and to the south is Ichabod’s Landing, a townhouse development, and further south is Castle Oil, with Tarrytown’s waterfront continuing on. There is speculation that Castle Oil may be sold to make way for more waterfront development; however nothing specific has been announced. As for the property that belongs to National ReSources on Tarrytown’s waterfront, Mr. Zegarelli commended the Village of Tarrytown for voting to remove the asphalt plant not only from the river but from the Village entirely. “We are very pleased with Tarrytown taking that action and I will have our attorneys review our current legal position where we were pushing to have the asphalt plant eliminated,” the Mayor said. “I’d like to believe that Sleepy Hollow had a hand in it,” he added. Turning to Castle Oil, Mr. Zegarelli said, ” I have tried to bring various people together including developers and the agents of the owners to see what the future of Castle Oil should be. We believe that the highest use for that property would be an extension of what both Villages are doing, seeing as Castle Oil’s property is right at the borderline of both Villages.” Specifically, the Village of Sleepy Hollow would like to gain access to the deep water pier that juts out from Castle Oil. The Mayor sees that pier as an invaluable resource for tourist boats and ferries. “The whole concept of our waterfront is to get everything to meld together,” he said. Keeping the “concept as a whole” in mind, Mr. Zegarelli and other critical thinkers are working tirelessly to create a new, industry-free waterfront– one that will transform Sleepy Hollow without overpowering it. It is no easy feat. Change never is.The Village of Sleepy Hollow has a time deadline of December 16 to get all comments in on the Preliminary Final Environmental Impact Statement (PFEIS) submitted by Roseland for the Lighthouse Landing project. “There are at least six working committees headed up by individual Trustees on the PFEIS. The committees are comprised of citizens, consultants, agencies and other peoples of interest. I have purposely not attended them because I want everyone to talk and not necessarily come to me for answers,” Mayor Philip Zegarelli said. The committees will then prepare reports and a series of work sessions will be held by the Mayor and Board of Trustees to pull all the comments together. “We intend to take the PFEIS apart, revise it and put it back together again. We will then make the determination to accept it in full, part, or not at all. We would like to have this part of the work completed by mid-January,” the Mayor said. The applicants (Roseland and General Motors) will then return for the Village’s findings and will in all probability have to revise parts of their development proposal. By mid-March to mid-April, the developers will present to the Board modifications they have made.
“We are very focused on what we want to do and what we want to see. How we want to see the eastside of the railroad tracks developed and how we want to see the westside are all concerns of ours,” he added. That focus specifically deals with the potential for a new railroad station on site. It also includes the preparation for the possibility of the Pocantico River being restored at the northern portion of the property. The Village is also focusing on the size, shape and style of buildings and their relationship to existing parkland like Kingsland Point.
As for the possibility of a new railroad station, the Mayor said, “We are going to allocate space for it. It doesn’t have to be built on day one. If we don’t do it now we’ll never have space for it once development starts. The same holds true for the space required for the studies and maybe, and I say maybe, the opening of the Pocantico River. We are planning ahead and don’t want to create a situation where everyone curses the ‘old Board’ for not planning ahead.”
The number of housing units has had everyone’s attention from the inception of the Lighthouse Landing proposal. Roseland and General Motors originally presented 1,564 units of housing and later revised the number downward to 1,250 units. According to Mr. Zegarelli, the Village is still looking to reduce that number. Within Roseland’s first proposal, the units were heavily weighted with rental apartments. There were minimal townhouses, worker homes and senior citizen housing. Currently, that ratio has been reversed with townhouses and condominiums outnumbering rental apartments. “We still have to address the issues of Village worker homes and senior housing which comes under the umbrella of affordable housing. We have an economic subcommittee and it isn’t easy to define affordable housing in Westchester County. No one really has a definition for that,” the Mayor said. Regardless, the Village will have to come up with a formula for affordable housing and with the number of units that will be offered to workers and senior citizens. As for the total number of units the Village will permit, the Mayor would not comment. In his bargaining with the developer, the number of units agreed upon will come at the very end of negotiations and not prematurely. Lighthouse Landing will not stand alone on Sleepy Hollow’s waterfront. Adjacent and to the south is Ichabod’s Landing, a townhouse development, and further south is Castle Oil, with Tarrytown’s waterfront continuing on. There is speculation that Castle Oil may be sold to make way for more waterfront development; however nothing specific has been announced. As for the property that belongs to National ReSources on Tarrytown’s waterfront, Mr. Zegarelli commended the Village of Tarrytown for voting to remove the asphalt plant not only from the river but from the Village entirely. “We are very pleased with Tarrytown taking that action and I will have our attorneys review our current legal position where we were pushing to have the asphalt plant eliminated,” the Mayor said. “I’d like to believe that Sleepy Hollow had a hand in it,” he added. Turning to Castle Oil, Mr. Zegarelli said, ” I have tried to bring various people together including developers and the agents of the owners to see what the future of Castle Oil should be. We believe that the highest use for that property would be an extension of what both Villages are doing, seeing as Castle Oil’s property is right at the borderline of both Villages.” Specifically, the Village of Sleepy Hollow would like to gain access to the deep water pier that juts out from Castle Oil. The Mayor sees that pier as an invaluable resource for tourist boats and ferries. “The whole concept of our waterfront is to get everything to meld together,” he said. Keeping the “concept as a whole” in mind, Mr. Zegarelli and other critical thinkers are working tirelessly to create a new, industry-free waterfront– one that will transform Sleepy Hollow without overpowering it. It is no easy feat. Change never is.

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