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Tarrytown Planners Focus on Public Input with Comp Plan

by Robert Kimmel – 

Public input has continued to be a major part of Tarrytown’s pursuit of a new Comprehensive Plan to determine the village’s future development. What began more than three years ago as a project to scope out a new vision for the Metro-North train station area and waterfront has bonded into the broader task encompassing the entire village, and its residents are offering their ideas about that undertaking.

A “Public Visioning Workshop” was held at Warner Library. —Photo by: WXY architecture + urban design

A “Public Visioning Workshop” took place last month as a follow-up to one in September, and a final workshop is anticipated early in the coming year, likely in February.  A wide range of subjects, many from earlier workshops, came under review at the November meeting at Warner Library with separate break-out sessions for the dozens of attendees. As participants offered additional suggestions or opinions, they were listed on poster charts.

Word from the village’s Comprehensive Plan Working Group is that it is “deeply involved in the review of public feedback.” It is also dealing with the “structure as well as the draft goals, policies, actions and ongoing management,” as it develops the Plan. What it is emphasizing now is “working to bring all the stakeholders into the discussion about what these goals and criteria will be and to refine the boundaries of the development area.”

Given the variety of topics involved, it is safe to assume that there is plenty of work ahead. As it is set up, a Village Steering Committee, the Planning Board, a Zoning Working Group and other village officials, along with a consulting firm, WXY architecture + urban design, are reporting to the Board of Trustees as the effort progresses. The aim is to have the Comprehensive Plan completed by this coming May.

Among topics at the workshop, the “Economy,” and “Built Environment” delved into “land use and development to promote sustainable growth.” When a roundtable discussion focused on “Creating more affordable housing and ensuring the continued diversity of the village through multifamily, senior, and other affordable units,” it drew “a lot of traction with participants,” according to the Working Group. “Expanding the mix of uses in business and office districts and creating space for new types of businesses,” also captured attention amid the discussions.

Within the topic of “Mobility,” getting around in the village, and the possibility of “reducing dependence on personal vehicles,” there was dialogue on the parking problem and sharing transportation to avoid congestion. How best to “manage parking access and demand as a village amenity,” motivated suggestions ranging from valet parking and increasing public spaces, to embracing public use of private lots with unused spaces adjacent to the downtown business area.

As for reducing personal vehicle use, incentive car pooling, bicycle paths, and a local trolley type service were among the suggestions discussed by participants. However, “Don’t trade parking for bike lanes,” was the sentiment expressed by one resident, whose concern reflected many in the business community.  “Stop overflow of traffic on Route 9 into neighborhoods,” came from another resident.

Still to be determined is how to improve the means of reaching the village’s business area from the train station which had been an early concern for those working on “Tarrytown Connected,” the name which now embraces both the expected Train Station Zoning revisions and the Comprehensive Plan. “The planning vision for the Station Area will be articulated as part of the larger Comprehensive Plan,” according to an explanation from the Working Group.

Other topics at the workshop dealt with “Community, Culture and Education,” “Natural Environment and Open Space,” and “Sustainability and Resiliency.” The environmental aspect led to considerations about “expanding efforts to mitigate climate change locally, establishing goals, policies and programs to reduce emissions and waste.”

Solutions were also sought on how to “strengthen community resources and institutions focused on health and safety” and the means to “connect and enhance open space and recreational resources.”

The planners continue their interest in hearing from the public, and comments or suggestions may be emailed to connected@tarrytowngov.com. A summary of the workshop activities, and other information can be found at www.tarrytownconnected.com.

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