Sleepy Hollow LDC Moves Forward with Plans for East Parcel

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| by Robert Kimmel |

The Sleepy Hollow Local Development Corporation (LDC), owner of the east parcel, land that was part of the former General Motors site along the Hudson River, has ambitious plans for the 28-acre plot. The Village Board of Trustees was briefed last month on those plans, and other actions it has taken, by David Schroedel, the LDC’s Chairman. He also outlined potential activities in the village that could go beyond the borders of the east parcel.

GM-East-Parcel-PAGE-3The LDC’s acquisition of that property, east of the Metro North tracks, was part of the deal that saw GM sell the larger riverfront area within its 96 acres to a developer last year for residential and commercial use. Sleepy Hollow’s Special Permit to GM allowing that sale required that the east parcel be given to the village. The LDC was formed to take ownership of the parcel primarily as a means of saving the village money on proposed development of that space. LDC avoids costly construction rules the State imposes on municipalities, as well as savings on financing.

Among the potential plans for development of the east parcel are the construction of a new Department of Public Works facility, “improved access to the east and west parcels,” a new maintenance garage for the Tarrytown School District, “expansive parking for both village events and Historic Hudson Valley events,” as well as athletic facilities. The LDC states its “goal is to break ground in 12-18 months.” The new DPW facility is necessary due to the coming construction of 1,177 residential units, part of the Edge-on-Hudson development on the adjacent parcels. The LDC would issue bonds to finance the construction and lease the facilities back to the village and school district at a savings for both.

Schroedel reported that LDC had taken steps to secure the property by limiting access, initiating required clean-up by the village, and having village police initiate patrols of the area. He also noted that, “Our physical inspection of the east parcel revealed that Metro North Railroad was utilizing siding tracks belonging to the LDC without permission.” Talks with Metro North are close to a settlement that would maintain the siding, and, “… the LDC will be paid for the use of the tracks, and that payment will be retroactive to last December when title changed hands,” Schroedel said.

“We also found that the Mt. Pleasant imposition of $20,000 in annual water and sewer fees was based on erroneous valuation of the east parcel properties,” Schroedel said. The filing of tax grievances, he added, has resulted in an 85% reduction, “to approximately $3,000 for the current tax year.”

As the lead agency for the property, the LDC has also initiated the New York SEQR process whereby it has to assess, and “balance” environmental impacts of the plans that it has for the east parcel, “with social and economic factors when deciding to approve or undertake an action,” as the law states. Schroedel said the LDC hopes to complete that process by next summer.

By building a new DPW on the site, the LDC explains that it will free the current site at the upper part of the south parcel and have an “impact on surrounding neighborhoods.” The old site would be available for development, and with a south parcel lot, “the combined two acres become the single most valuable undeveloped parcel within the village,” Schroedel stated.

“With the development of the east parcel, providing adequate access will be critical to its success,” Schroedel told trustees. He said that meetings had taken place with the developer of Edge-On-Hudson, on the other parcels, “as well as planners and engineers to assess the viability of the viaduct and related impacts, as well as the potential for the construction of a new vehicular and pedestrian bridge from east to west parcels.” He added that, “…improvements to Continental Street will be required to both support access and improve safety.”

“A separate function of the LDC is the ability to offer tax-free bonding assistance to non-profit organizations,” Schroedel said. The LDC had met with “…potential clients, among them, Phelps Memorial Hospital and Historic Hudson Valley,” in this regard. He added that, “…one outcome has been the need for ‘work force housing’.” He described this as an “opportunity for the Village and LDC. It may be possible to acquire property, rehab or construct new rental housing, and secure long-term lease guarantees from an organization like Phelps.”

Schroedel told trustees it had been “… a busy few months since you appointed the new Board on June 9th.” He lauded his Board of Director members, Michael Dawley, Teresa Oeste, Anthony Scarpati, and Mayor Ken Wray, who is an ex-officio member. He also acknowledged the “…contributions of Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio, Village Treasurer Sarah DiGiacomo and Deputy Village Clerk Joan Bucci, “ whom Schroedel said “…have full-time jobs working for the village, yet have been asked to take on time-consuming, formal roles with the LDC. Without them, we could not have functioned.”

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