by Anna Young
As Tarrytown continues its multi-faceted project to revitalize the village, the individuals behind the Comprehensive Plan and Station Area Zoning Project held a workshop last month to receive input from residents.
During the September 17 workshop at Warner Library, hundreds of residents and business owners gathered to discuss the visions, goals and areas of interest the village project, named Tarrytown Connected, should focus on as it moves forward.
“What we’re trying to do is plan for the community – the future vision of where we want to see Tarrytown in five, 10, 20 years from now,” Tarrytown Village Administrator Richard Slingerland said. “It’s all about the people; we want to hear from you to help direct that vision to guide it in a way everybody feels will benefit Tarrytown.”
Throughout the three-hour session, attendees broke up into groups where representatives from the architectural firm WXY and the Westchester County Planning Department discussed sustainability, open space, mobility, the environment, culture, education, and the economy.
The project aims to create an affordable and connected community that attracts and supports residents and workers of all ages and backgrounds by encouraging a robust and diverse economic base with thriving commerce, strong business, and a clear value for taxes levied.
With Tarrytown being a tight-knit community, residents feel the new commercial development will have unintended impacts on traffic and shops throughout the village. Suggestions were also made to improve sustainability by designating sites to dispose of compost and applying solar panels on buildings. Lowering property taxes and rents were also topics discussed.
“We need to find the balance on how to maintain the good, wonderful aspects of Tarrytown but also to address the existing issues,” said Kathy Sieh-Takata, who added the need for green spaces and resource use. “I think these are issues we have to think of constantly for the present and the future, how we can make the environment better for ourselves and the future generation.”
While the proposed plan states that it wants to ensure safe and convenient movement for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, residents were vocal about walkability within the village.
Resident Kenny Herzog said there’s little awareness regarding pedestrians, stating how dangerous it is to cross the roads with aggressive drivers on Route 9. He added that the paint is fading on the crosswalks, there’s little supervision, and there’s no clear pedestrian signage anymore.
“To get to Main Street or to get to the train station, you first have to deal with the fact that you’re essentially risking your life to cross one side of Route 9 to the other,” Herzog said. “Somebody is going to get hurt.”
Herzog added how bad traffic is on Route 9 during the fall season with destination sites visited regularly.
Some also felt parking should be expanded throughout the village and bike lanes should be implemented on the roadways. Others also spoke about sidewalks that need improvement.
“Everyone is always complaining about the parking,” said Ona Cohn, owner of Ona’s gift shop on Main Street. “I think a lot of people come from the city on the train, and it would be nice if there was an easier way to get up the hill from the train, something that’s user friendly.”
The proposed plan also suggests generating active enjoyment of the many village amenities, including its open space, trails and waterfront. The plan also notes the need to preserve natural resources and features while promoting development infrastructure that would reduce resource dependence and increase resiliency to the every-changing climate.
“I think that Tarrytown is the most welcoming environment to have a business in because there are no chain stores which makes everything more interesting,” Cohn said. “This is a destination, and people come here for multiple reasons; that makes it a very special place.”