2014 Rivertown Revelations

Rivertown Revelations 2014What Your Village is Working On.

Sleepy Hollow

Closed since 1996 and dismantled in 2000, the site of the former Riverfront GM plant is once again reported to have prospective

According to New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the site is no longer a “Brownfield” and
all cleanup issues have been completed as of November 2013.


The New Jersey Developer, Roseland, worked with GM for several years and proposed a development that included a large mixed-use area of residential, office, and retail space plus a new train station. The current Sleepy Hollow Administration did not want to speculate on the reasons why Roseland pulled out of its deal with GM in 2007. According to an August 2008 correction in the New York Times, “Roseland cited increasing costs associated with environmental restoration and a lack of agreement with the
Village of Sleepy Hollow on a final plan; it did not cite the cost of environmental cleanup of the GM Site itself.”

Sleepy Hollow approved a special permit for the multi-use site in June 2011. However, litigation by the Village of Tarrytown prevented any action until a settlement was reached in September of 2013. With the special permit use reissued, General Motors was able to move forward with its plan to pick a development team for the redevelopment project.

At the January 7th Village Board meeting Mayor Ken Wray announced that: “General Motors has reached an agreement with a developer to move forward on the former GM factory site located in Sleepy Hollow. The developer is in partnership with Diversified Realty Advisors, a New Jersey-based, east coast real estate company and SunCal, a California-based real estate developer with a nationwide portfolio. He stated that, “We look forward to working closely with them in the coming months.”

The founding and co-managing partner of Diversified Realty Advisors, Jonathan D. Stein, was an executive with former developer, Roseland Property. This prior association should provide continuity to the future redevelopment as Mr. Stein is familiar with all the former issues pertaining to this project.

In 2007-2008 there were many unknown factors that kept this project stalled. With the special permit now in effect, DEC approval for the site in place, and amenity packages for the community negotiated, Sleepy Hollow Administrator Anthony Giaccio commented, “We are farther along than ever before.” The next steps include submission of a site plan application by the developers to the Planning Board sometime after March of this year.

At the January 7th Board meeting, the resignations of the zoning inspector and parking enforcer were accepted. The zoning inspector was offered a more lucrative position at another municipality and the parking enforcer ended the part-time employment. Both positions are filled by the Mayor and Board of Trustees. They are considering expansion of the zoning inspector position due to the potential GM redevelopment project.

The Village Trustees also authorized Dolph Rotfeld Engineering to solicit bids for an emergency generator to be installed at the James Galgano Senior Center. The planned purpose of this generator is in response to the widespread power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy, the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. After that storm, half the Village was out of power. With this generator in place, the Senior Center can be used as a shelter in the event of any future disasters. The permanent natural gas generator is expected to cost about $40,000 and will be funded by the Village out of the Capital Fund.


A few months back, the Building Department proposed some wide-ranging changes to the fee structure for various types of permits (building, plumbing, electrical). It was a whole package of changes to restructure the charges. These suggestions by the Building Inspector were designed to help make things more fair.  Completing these approved changes is the fee structure for plumbing permits, with a public hearing planned for January 22nd at 7 pm in order to make the changes in the correct location of the code. Fees proposed to be eliminated are all fees for plumber’s licenses. These fees include: Examination — $100, Master License — $100, Temporary License — $100, Reciprocal License — $100 and Renewal fee — $50 per year.

Irvington’s first local law adopted for 2014 addresses changing the title “Industrial District” to “Waterfront District.” This change in the zoning code was adopted on January 6, 2014 and includes refinements and clarification to the language of the code as well as a zoning map change. The highlight of this change in designation title is the addition of a new paragraph added to § 224-151, View Preservation Overlay Districts, Approval by the Planning Board, and reads as follows:

In the Waterfront District, the Planning Board, in considering View Preservation approval, shall take into consideration the view of the Hudson River from Main Street and from Matthiessen Park and Scenic Hudson Park, in addition to the view from other neighboring properties and adjacent public property and rights-of-way.

Discussed at the January 6th Board meeting was a proposal to define designated parking areas and amend the fees for licensed peddlers who operate within the Village. Administrator, Larry Schopfer stated that the change was prompted by the presence, this past summer, of a food vendor (Rachel’s Gourmet). “Up until now, we had only issued peddler’s licenses to ice cream truck vendors. The food vendor brought about a different set of circumstances in how they operate. They are in a fixed location for an extended period of time (i.e., 5 hours) rather than traveling around the Village stopping for 10 minutes at a time, like an ice cream vendor.  So, the Board took a look at implementing some reasonable regulations that addressed this type of vendor. It’s been a back and forth discussion over the past 2-3 months. A public hearing was held on December 16th and the hearing was closed, but the law wasn’t adopted because there were some changes that came up and the Village Attorney needed time to draft those changes.  The Board reviewed the revised draft on January 6th with an eye to adopting the law. However, an extended discussion took place regarding various aspects of the proposed law, including the possibility of restricting the idling times for the vehicles. That led to the need for additional changes and/or research for the law.” A new public hearing was held on January 22.

Definitions in the local law draft read as follows: PEDDLE – To offer for sale any goods, wares, merchandise or services in any public place or public street, or by going from house to house or place of business to place of business, on foot or on or from any vehicle.
PEDDLER’S LICENSE – A permit issued pursuant to this chapter that limits a peddler to remain in the same location for only ten minutes.

ENHANCED PEDDLER’S LICENSE – A permit issued that allows a peddler in a vehicle to remain in the same space in an Enhanced Peddler’s License Parking Zone for up to five hours.

ENHANCED PEDDLER’S LICENSE PARKING ZONE – Parking spaces designated in this chapter at which peddlers possessing an Enhanced Peddler’s License may park for up to five hours.

Permission to peddle for one year is $100. For one day or part of a day the fee is $50. An enhanced peddlers license costs $1000 per year, with permission to peddle for one day or part of the day $100.


A series of public hearings took place on January 21st, covering proposed changes to local laws, amending the Comprehensive Plan and correcting the Zoning Map for the Village Districts.

Tarrytown’s Historic Commons District is located in the south end of the Village from the Montefiore Office Building south and west of Broadway. The District was established to maintain the character of the area that includes historic buildings and mansions.

A local law amending the Comprehensive Plan for the Village of Tarrytown pertaining to the future land use plan is to be corrected so that the properties now and in the future that are located in the Historic Commons Zoning District are low density residential and not medium density residential. The Board of Trustees adopted a moratorium on development in this zone on May 6, 2013, until confusion in the zoning code regarding the existing language of this District was cleared up. Clarification was needed as to what is permitted to be constructed in the Historic Commons Zoning District as well as the parameters pertaining to construction in this zone. The Board of Trustees directed the matter to the Planning Board for their review and recommendation. Their report was submitted to the Board of Trustees with recommendations that were met favorably.

The zoning map will also be revised and reprinted with the amended changes correcting the proposed density uses in the law.
In response to Tarrytown residents’ desire to make the Farmers Market more vibrant, the Board of Trustees authorized Mike Blau, Village Administrator, to execute an agreement with Rivertowns Village Green Inc., a New York not-for-profit corporation, to
operate a Farmers Market at Patriots Park from Memorial Day weekend through the weekend before Thanksgiving at no cost to the Village.

Briarcliff Manor

In addition to a resolution setting the date for the upcoming annual Village elections held in March, a public hearing was scheduled on January 9th, at 7:30 pm in the Village Hall, to consider an application from Sleepy Hollow Country Club to amend a Special Use Permit pursuant to Chapter 220-6(J)(6) of the Village Code.

Sleepy Hollow Country Club came before the Board of Trustees to request permission to build a series of solar energy enhancements for existing structures to make them more energy efficient, reconstruction of garage storage space and new construction on their property.

Briarcliff employs a strong permit system where people come in for variances that are outside a normal usage. The special use permit is renewable every five years.  New building applications trigger a review of the Board of Trustees, enabling them to be apprised of ongoing projects within the Village. This is the first step in the application process that is next referred to the Zoning and/or Planning Boards for recommendations.

The Briarcliff Board is currently working on the Village budget and in the meantime, the process is underway to select new candidates for office.  On January 8th, The People’s Caucus of Briarcliff Manor provided the forum for candidates to speak and then become nominated for two Trustee positions. Village residents Mark Pohar, Cesare J. Derose, Jr. and Larisa Wayne-Paulmeno were nominated to be the Caucus’ candidates for two-year terms as Village Trustees. A question and answer session was held at the Middle School Theater on Wednesday, January 15th. Every registered voter is eligible to participate in this process and is automatically a member of the Caucus. There will be a Special Voting Meeting on January 22, 2014 at the Village Youth Center (behind the Municipal Building). Voting hours are from 3 pm to 9 pm or by proxy. The two candidates receiving the highest vote totals will receive the Caucus endorsement and appear on the Village election ballot on the Caucus’ line. Challengers require independent nominating petitions that must be submitted by February 11, 2014. The Village election for these offices will
be held on March 18th this year, from 6-9 pm. This unique nominating process has been in place since the founding days of Briarcliff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recommended For You

About the Author: River Journal