The Putnam Examiner

Butterfield Public Hearing Brings Mixed, Subdued Feedback

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Cold Spring residents had the opportunity to sound off on the Butterfield redevelopment proposal on March 4, though comments were more subdued than the sparks of controversy that have followed the project for several years.

As a shovel gets closer to hitting the Butterfield property, a public hearing was held inside the Cold Spring firehouse that brought in a standing room only crowd. A primary concern from the handful of residents that spoke was if the project would provide enough parking for the senior housing and other possible uses at Butterfield. As of now, there are 207 parking spaces planned.

Resident Dave Marion said he believed the proposed parking capacity does not fit in with the buildings and services that will be housed at the venue. With Putnam

County legislators suggesting that the county is going to provide several satellite offices at the location, Marion said that would result in a high volume of visitors and parking spaces used.

Marion also argued the traffic study wasn’t done adequately. The study was done between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and state Department of Transportation requires data from actual peak hours to be conducted between 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. He also stated that a doctor’s office in the village that brings in vehicle traffic doesn’t open until 11 a.m. on the day the study occurred, skewing the results.

“The study should also reflect data from one year within 100 percent design and with calculated assumed data projections to five years beyond the project completion,” Marion said. “Which this study fails to display.”

Resident Susan Kenney said she had two concerns with the project. One of which was the massing of the buildings, which “seems much larger than the developer and the Paulding Avenue Association discussed initially.” She also expressed reservations on whether there were enough parking spaces. As a result, parking will outflow into adjacent streets, she said.

Other residents commended the project and looked forward to it moving along.

Mike Finnegan, a Garrison resident, said he was looking forward to the site plan review winding to a conclusion. Countering against suggestions that more parking is needed, Finnegan said, “I’d hate to see that become a Wal-Mart style parking lot with more parking than is needed for the site.”

John Cronin, a resident who lives on Paulding Avenue, noted that it’s not enough for a project to meet certain requirements, but that is must also be financially valuable. If not, Cronin said, the entire community would suffer.

“I’m not opposed to it any longer,” Cronin said. “I’m happy about it. I’m happy what’s going to be across the street from me. It looks good.”

Philipstown board member Dave Merandy, who is running for Cold Spring mayor, declined to speak after he originally signed up to. Other notable residents at the center of the Butterfield discussion like seniors Donna Anderson and Shirley Norton also declined to speak despite signing up to.

The only village elected official to offer public comment, Stephanie Hawkins, who spoke briefly, complimented the historic district review board and the architect designer for working as hard as they did on the proposed buildings.

“I think a lot of work has gone into these,” Hawkins said.

The parcel of land where the project is set to be constructed was changed to B4A zoning and an environmental review was completed that indicated there were no significant adverse effects. The mixed- use site plan expects to bring a healthcare facility, commercial and retail space, office space, senior housing and three single-family residential lots.

Planning board members also had the option to sound off on the proposal at the end of the hearing. Arne Saari said he liked the possibility of a senior center, county services, stores, and a post office housed at Butterfield, but also had several reservations that troubled him.

Saari said the overall mass and scale of the project and the lack of parking are concerns. He also was worried about the utilities that tie into existing Cold Spring systems.

“These issues have all been discussed and I still have concerns about them,” Saari said. “And I’ll continue to look at them as we go forward.”

Planning member Jim Pergamo said he was pleased with the amount of green space left for the site. Chairman Barney Molloy said the village can be “very proud” of the accomplishments it’s reached so far regarding the project.

“We have a good project here relative to where it started and I think is an important milestone for the village,” Molloy said. “And hopefully going forward this is something that everybody will be proud to be associated with.”

The planning board voted 4-1 to close the public comment period after another week, with Saari voting against it because he wants public comment extended longer.

The next planning board meeting is set for March 18, the same date as the village election. Though there were some groans in the crowd because the two dates coincide, Molloy who is running for mayor, shot back, that if he can attend, anyone should be able to.

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