The Northern Westchester Examiner

Mini-Town Center Project Draws Mixed Reviews in Cortlandt

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Domenick Esposito speaks out against Cortlandt Crossing last week.
Domenick Esposito speaks out against Cortlandt Crossing last week.

Plans for a new shopping center across from the Cortlandt Town Center received mixed reviews from residents at a public hearing last week.

Acadia Realty, owners of the 8500,000 square feet Town Center, is proposing a total of approximately 170,000 square feet of retail space on 17 acres of the 36-acre property on Route 6. The property currently is mixed zoned, 27 acres of which are residential. Acadia is asking the Town Board to rezone seven additional acres to commercial to make room for the shopping center and the remaining 19 will be left undisturbed.

“The project provides new stores and services that we feel the town should have,” said David Steinmetz, attorney for Acadia. “This project is absolutely fiscally beneficial to the town and the community. We think for Acadia and this community this represents some wonderful opportunities.”

While no specific businesses were mentioned for Cortlandt Crossing, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement outlines three separate retail stores in the rear of the property (50,000 square feet, 30,000 square feet and 25,000 square feet) with a 38,500-square-foot fitness center slated on top of the 50,000-square-foot business.

In the front of the site, plans are outlined for a 13,500-square-foot retailer, an 8,420-square-foot restaurant and a 3,500-square-foot bank. Also included in the layout are 756 parking spaces and 780 new trees.

The project, which will undergo a site plan review from the town’s Planning Board, is expected to provide the Town of Cortlandt and Lakeland School District with $1.4 to $1.7 million in property taxes annually. Currently, the property generates $71,000 in taxes.

“I see a lot of positives here. This is an opportunity for many reasons,” said David Wahl of Conklin Avenue. “I don’t think this opportunity arises every day. Everything has its time. This is its time.”

Ray Reber, speaking on behalf of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber was a strong proponent of appropriate commercial development like Cortlandt Crossing which will create jobs and enable residents to shop local.

“This is a very worthwhile project and the best use of that property,” Reber said.

Disagreeing wholeheartedly was Tony Czarnezki of Jo Drive who urged the Town Board to declare a moratorium on any new development along Route 6and Westbrook Drive.

“We simply cannot sustain another shopping center on Route 6,” Czarnezki maintained. “This defies logic and sound planning. It’s unwelcomed and ill-advised. We don’t want or need Cortlandt Crossing. Cortlandt Crossing is an invitation to a dead mall party in the Town of Cortlandt.”

Siding with Czarnezki was Domenick Esposito of Lux Lane, who said town officials should not be enamored with a new traffic signal at the intersection of Baker Street, and the creation of a town sewer district that would serve Cortlandt Crossing, Mohegan Beer and Soda (which may have to relocate), and Pondview Estates, an approved housing complex slated to replace Lakeview Cottages. The public improvements are estimated to cost $4.85 million.

“Are we really looking to increase traffic so we can have a traffic light? We’re not solving the problem, we’re compounding the problem,” Esposito remarked. “Do we need another restaurant? We have two across the street. Do we need another supermarket? I can’t eat that much. We don’t need it. We need to preserve the land, not destroy it.”

According to a traffic study, Cortlandt Crossing will generate approximately 160 trips during weekday a.m. peak hours, 623 trips during weekday p.m. hours, and 809 trips during Saturday midday peak hours.

Steinmetz reminded the board Acadia could build a 90,000-square-foot commercial building and residential homes on the property as-of-right but feels strongly in the plan it has proposed.

“This property will not remain in its current state. Something inevitably will happen,” he said.

The public hearing will continue at the Town Board’s February 10 meeting.

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