Letter to the Editor: A Concerned Citizen on the Impact of ADU’s

To the Editor and All Residents of the Village of Tarrytown:

WHAT IS AN ADU? I didn’t know until recently.

The Tarrytown Village Board is planning to implement a new law which will change all existing single-family zoning to multi-family!

WHY? To allow the development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s). Coming soon to your neighborhood!

In other words, practically any single-family home in Tarrytown would be allowed to be converted into a multi-family dwelling.     I do not agree with such a drastic and sweeping zoning change which has the potential to negatively impact the character and quality of life in our single-family neighborhoods forever.

We have asked the Village Board to tell us: WHY? They have not been forthcoming with answers. You may be interested in the concerns and questions raised by the public, many of which stem from the Public Hearing on 1/3/23:


The Mayor points to the Village Comprehensive Plan as being the Village Board’s mandate for implementing the ADU Law. The Comprehensive Plan was designed to be a Living Document and according to its authors should evolve as the Village evolves. It was never intended to be a mandate. The Comprehensive Plan document also known as Tarrytown Connected is the product of two years of meetings and discussions focusing on six main areas of concern: Economy, Mobility, Built Environment, Community Culture & Education, Natural Environment & Open Space, and Sustainability & Resiliency. Unfortunately, less than 300 of the 11,000-plus Tarrytown residents participated in those meetings and discussions. As such, we believe more outreach to solicit a Village-wide survey to gauge the public’s sentiment towards ADU’s is essential. In addition, it is clear to anyone who has attended the public hearings that much more research into possible impacts is necessary and prudent.

Once an ADU is built, it cannot be unbuilt. The impact will be permanent.

The need to preserve and develop more affordable housing (including ADU’s) is cited as a goal under the Built Environment category of the Comprehensive Plan. ADU’s are cited as one possible way to support more affordable housing among several other strategies that were given more emphasis. But the Village Board is intent on pushing through a law that would give “as of right” authority to any homeowner to create an accessory apartment regardless of its impact to surrounding neighbors. Perhaps most alarming is that neighbors won’t even know that an ADU is being built until the contractors show up, as in many instances no Planning or Zoning Board review will be required. We do not believe our neighborhoods are good candidates for increased density. We have narrow streets, small lots and already suffer from a shortage of parking. Most residents park at least one vehicle in the street. Many neighborhoods are not close to transit or a supermarket. Most people who live here need a car to get to work or to shop. ADU’s would bring more cars and exacerbate existing problems, namely parking shortages and congestion.

Interestingly, the Comprehensive Plan cites Tarrytown residents’ dependence on cars as a major problem leading to traffic congestion and parking issues. PARKING is discussed for a full 10 pages in the plan, as is traffic safety, congested streets and unsafe roadway conditions. The principle of SMART GROWTH – encouraging additional density only where it can be supported by transit – is cited on page 106 of the Comprehensive Plan. Clearly the development of ADU’s in most areas of Tarrytown CANNOT BE CONSIDERED SMART GROWTH!

We have found that most residents do not know about the Village Board’s plan to implement the ADU Law. Once they are informed, most impacted residents (single-family homeowners) do not want ADU’s. Nonetheless, our Mayor and Village Board are recklessly determined to push this law through and have not been sympathetic or forthcoming with answers to the many questions and concerns raised by residents.





Judy Herguth, Member of Concerned Residents of Tarrytown


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