by Rick Pezzullo
Two public hearings are scheduled to be held in September at Sleepy Hollow Village Hall to gather input on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) regarding the redevelopment of a 29-acre parcel east of the Metro North railroad tracks that was once part of the General Motors site.
On September 12 and 20, starting at 7 p.m., residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on the East Parcel, which was turned over to the Sleepy Hollow Local Development Corporation for village use as part of the deal that saw General Motors sell the larger, riverside parcel to developers of Edge-On-Hudson, a major mixed-use residential and commercial undertaking.
The first public hearing on the DEIS was held in late August. An informal public meeting led by Village Trustee Rachelle Gebler also took place in August, attracting about 50 residents and village officials to the James F. Galgano Senior Center where a wide range of ideas was discussed.
“We’re really looking at all types of possibilities,” Gebler said as she scribbled down suggestions from the audience.
Elements included in one proposed concept call for a 250-space parking lot, which could be connected to an existing park lot, a connection to a future trail along the river, 5,000 square feet of playground, and the possibility of basketball and tennis courts. The DPW site would be included, as would a 120,000-square-foot recreational center with sports fields. There would be expansion of parking for Historic Hudson Valley parking, and under-bridge use.
A second concept includes less regular public parking, 120 spaces, which could expand, outdoor performance space, recreational space, an extensive multiuse path system, as well as under-bridge space use, and the Department of Public Works site.
At the informal session last month, residents mentioned possibly using the site for a swimming pool, community garden, a plaza with water fountains, “Central Park-type open space,” or a new location for the volunteer ambulance corps.
The Local Development Corporation holds ownership of the East Parcel in order to save the village additional costs required to meet state mandates for building projects by municipalities. The LDC will issue bonds to finance the project’s construction, and lease the buildings to the village and pay off the bonds with those funds.
The LDC also got a financial boost when it contracted with Metro North to have the company lease two acres of land on the property where it had existing track sidings. It got $284,731 for retroactive use of the acreage, and is receiving $13,109 monthly for its use, with a Metro North purchase option of $1,570,000, adding up to $1.8 million.
Sleepy Hollow Mayor Ken Wray noted the village is slated to receive $11.5 million when the 1,177 residential units are completed on the Edge-On-Hudson development, but the funding will be distributed in increments.
Wray also said the development of the East Parcel was “really being driven by outside regulations” since part of the site is on a flood plain, and a portion is in a flood zone.
“If it all comes in we’ll spend it all on capital. There won’t be any left over,” Wray explained. “We’ll probably also bond for some of this stuff. The purpose of tonight is let’s get everything on the table and then let’s see what we can do.”
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the parcel was accepted as complete in July by the LDC, a move that its chairman, David Schroedel called, “ a real milestone to repurpose what was once a village dump, and then a parking lot for the former GM assembly plant.”