To the Editor:
An article in the most recent issue of another local publication regarding the Sleepy Hollow Local Development Corporation (SHLDC) warrants a public response as it contains numerous factual errors. What is most concerning is that prior to the article, the SHLDC CEO was provided with written questions which were answered promptly, yet none of the written responses or other provided information were used in the article, leaving the readership misinformed and most likely confused. In addition, an invitation from the SHLDC CEO to discuss its purpose, plans, and activities was offered and ignored by the publication.
For the record, the SHLDC Board meetings are open for public observation, as are our applications before the SH Planning Board, various NY State authorities, and our periodic reports to the Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees. The SHLDC Board meeting agendas and minutes are also available on-line for public view.
As an entity created by the Village Board of Trustees (Village Board) for the sole purpose of benefiting taxpayers, one of the SHLDC’s immediate tasks is the development of the East Parcel in partnership with the Village Board. The objective is to create an extraordinary public space, housing the Department of Public Works, as well as significant recreation facilities. A physical inspection of the East Parcel by the current SHLDC Board shortly after they were appointed in 2015 revealed that siding tracks in continuous use for forty-plus years crossed over on to SHLDC property. Metro North was immediately informed that they were using SHLDC property without permission and negotiations began over the value of the continued use. The successful negotiation generated a Licensing Agreement, which creates meaningful funding for the SHLDC, enabling it to cover short term planning expenses and eventually offset Village costs for the East Parcel development, without any change in purpose or use of the siding tracks.
Despite the article’s misrepresentations of the negotiation with Metro North Railroad (MNR), the license is in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Unlike the development of the East Parcel, which will require the direction and approvals of the SH Planning Board and the Village Board, the Licensing Agreement does not. However, the Village Board was informed about negotiations with MNR during the Board’s Work Session of November 17, 2015. Under the license MNR has an option to purchase the tracks and the SHLDC is in the process of seeking a sub-division in the event MNR chooses to exercise that option. Other negotiations with MNR are expected in the near term as we address the removal of the viaduct and discuss options for a bridge connecting the East and West parcels.
It’s very unfortunate that our Village can be subjected to inaccurate and speculative information regarding the SHLDC and the East Parcel. The reasons for this disruptive and accusatory agenda are unknown and it does nothing to help the exciting and collective effort of turning a great piece of property into a wonderful public space for our residents. The East Parcel presents an amazing opportunity to add value for the entire Village, and the SH trustees together with the SHLDC and other operating boards all look forward to obtaining feedback from residents, and together design what will be a showcase facility of which we can all be proud.
Sleepy Hollow Local Development