The Proposed Waterfront Rezoning Should Not Be Approved

As it promotes the proposed zoning scheme for our waterfront, the Irvington Village Board claims that it is fulfilling the mandate of the 2003 Village Comprehensive Plan. Yet, while the Comprehensive Plan called for the elimination of industrial zoning on the waterfront, it did not embrace additional development on the waterfront. Indeed, that same year, the Village Board enacted an ordinance banning the construction of parking structures throughout the Village, and in particular, on the waterfront. Importantly, many believed that this express ban of parking structures, coupled with the October 11, 2005 Parking Agreement and Declaration of Easement, a contract between Bridge Street Properties, LLC and the Village, guaranteed that a multistory parking structure would never be built on our waterfront.

Despite the overwhelming consensus of the Village populace to ban parking structures, and to preserve the character of our waterfront as it presently exists, the proposed Waterfront Rezoning will undo both. The trustees’ public notices of the Waterfront Rezoning do not disclose the fact that the proposed Waterfront Rezoning invites the construction of a multi-level parking structure, effectively repealing the 2003 ordinance. It also does nothing to create an historic district which would ensure the preservation of existing historical buildings. With this enactment, the owners of the waterfront property will have the right to demolish any building on the waterfront and construct any number of structures, anchored by a multistory parking structure. As the economy improves, it is certain that low-rise buildings will be razed and replaced with multistory structures, forever obliterating our views and destroying the character of our Village.

A repeal of the ban on parking structures is the lynchpin of development on the waterfront. The Board has failed to demonstrate that there is a consensus in our Village to repeal this long standing ban. Indeed, past administrations have rejected numerous attempts to permit the construction of parking structures. There is no reason for this Board to repeal the existing ban on parking structure, or to enact a zoning ordinance which fails to truly protect the historical character of our waterfront.

Arthur J. Semetis
Irvington, NY

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