by Robert Kimmel –
The Comprehensive Plan embraces 10 Action Areas and the various strategies required to bring about the goals described within them. The Action Areas include:
Economic Resources, Housing, Land Use and Zoning, Connectivity, Parks and Open Space, Natural Environment, Sustainability, Community Resources, Municipal Services and Governance, Communication and Transparency.
Two interrelated plans that will guide the development of Sleepy Hollow in future years are now in the hands of the village’s Board of Trustees for their approval. An updated Comprehensive Plan and Local Waterfront Revitalization Program have been the focus of public workshops, meetings, and a public survey since early last year.
Changing conditions in the village since the last Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 1980, coupled with an existing, widely inclusive Waterfront Plan from 1997, prompted the village to take a fresh look into the years ahead for Sleepy Hollow and set new policies and proposals.
Among the major changes were the shutdown of the General Motors Plant on the waterfront and its replacement by the mixed-use Edge-on-Hudson development which could add as many as 3,000 residents to the village. Sleepy Hollow’s current population of approximately 10,000 persons represents an increase of 2,000 residents since the 1980 Comprehensive Plan was adopted. The newly constructed Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge could also affect activity in the village.
As for Edge-on-Hudson, the plan notes the added investment it will bring to Sleepy Hollow, but continues that “The Village needs to guide how the impacts of the new development occur to make sure that they benefit the entire Village, rather than changing its culture of diversity.“
A 13-member Village Steering Committee, with input from the village staff, is leading the project with planning consultants having offered professional guidance throughout the project. The Steering Committee is composed of residents described as “stakeholders,” ranging from a trustee, business owners, Zoning, and Planning Board members, to a Chamber of Commerce officer, and members of the Environmental Advisory Committee, and Waterfront Advisory Committee.
Public participation was continuously encouraged and comments on January drafts of the plans have been extended to September 3. Comments can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. It is likely further discussions will take place at board work sessions and regular meetings, with final approval of the newly formulated proposals anticipated by the end of next month. The Waterfront Plan will become part of the Comprehensive Plan, but also will exist as a separate record.
In its introduction, the plan notes that “Sleepy Hollow has strategic advantages that makes it a vibrant and attractive community for long-time residents as well as newcomers and visitors.” However, the plan also recognizes that “the Village has some challenges to address to improve the downtown, waterfront area, and other residential neighborhoods.”
The Comprehensive Plan embraces 10 Action Areas and the various strategies required to bring about the goals described within them. The Action Areas include: Economic Resources, Housing, Land Use and Zoning, Connectivity, Parks and Open Space, Natural Environment, Sustainability, Community Resources, Municipal Services and Governance, Communication and Transparency.
Within the Economic Resources category, the plan sees the need to “Strengthen the unique identity of Sleepy Hollow’s retail areas to attract more residents and visitors from the region and retail areas along upper Beekman Avenue, Cortlandt Street and Valley Street.” It cites the fact that “Much of the zoning in and around downtown Sleepy Hollow reflects past conditions rather than the current economic picture or the existing/desired development pattern.” It also seeks to “Reduce retail vacancies and improve the quality and variety of the retail and restaurant mix in and around the downtown.”
Pursuits under the subject of Housing are to “Reduce overcrowding, improve safety and quality-of-life, and provide affordable housing and diverse housing types.”
As part of its Connectivity Area, the Comprehensive Plan would “improve connections between Metro-North train stations, the downtown, parks, the waterfront, and neighborhoods,” and “mitigate parking shortages in the downtown. A local shuttle bus with a higher frequency service, and general improvements to walkability and bikeability throughout the village and vicinities” is also a goal.
“Improved access and facilities at public parks and open spaces in the village,” is a key undertaking in the Plan. One idea within both the Comprehensive Plan and Waterfront Plan drawing opposition is to create a marina at Horan’s Landing, the nearly one-acre park where a cove or an area just off-shore could serve that purpose. The marina, as a docking place for mooring boats, could possibly have “opportunities for recreational and consumer ferry operations.” The shallow cove, the plan states, would require dredging and adds, “study and public engagement would be needed in considering a potential marina use.“
Some 15 attendees voiced their disapproval of the marina concept at a Village Hall public hearing late in May. One resident, Char Weigel, questioned a marina’s environmental effects, and called for the village to “pursue an available grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for “a resilient shoreline and environmental education center at the Horan’s Landing Harbor.” In response to the discontent about the marina, the village’s consultant team BFJ recommended to the Village Board in July that the marina be a public set-up rather than a commercial one. The Comprehensive Plan proposes the village “Expand waterfront access and recreation,” claiming that “One of Sleepy Hollow’s greatest missed opportunities is its Hudson River Waterfront.”
All of the Action Areas, and the two plans’ proposals associated can be found at the website http://sleepyhollowconnected.com/. Drafts of the Comprehensive Plan and Waterfront Plan are available there in their entirety.