Scores of area residents attended Tuesday’s public hearing to review an application to amend the . Overflow attendees, unable to find seating in the board room, watched the proceedings via television in a nearby community room.
William Null, an attorney from Cuddy & Feder, which represents the developer Urstadt Biddle, reviewed the amended plan which had been .
Null summarized, “The existing shopping center is 40 years old and is in need of updating…and over 100 parking spaces are to be added.”
He then conducted a walk through of the basic tenets of the plan, which include razing the nearby vacant bank structure and subsequently incorporating the bank property into the expanded Chilmark site. The amended plan also includes adding 7,900 square feet of retail space, updating the facades of existing stores, re-grading the property, constructing a pedestrian walkway and installing shoebox style lighting (to decrease glare).
Addressing concerns voiced at the previous board meeting, increased landscaping has been added to act as a screen for the anticipated long expanse of exposed wall of the proposed CVS.
While Null suggested the project would be an asset to Biddle and community itself, Board Members and many residents raised concerns.
Board member Jay Neveloff observed no modifications to the internal traffic pattern had been made, referring to the plan as a “labyrinth,” and further noting, “It may be marginally better, but traffic pattern is still a difficult challenge.”
Stuart Halper, also a board member, doubted shoppers would use parking provided in the rear parking lots, which would cause excessive circling in the main parking area.
“The expectation is that they are going to circle to find a spot in the front, and not park in the back,” said Halper.
Residents, and others impacted by the plan, had plenty to say as well.
Village of Ossining Mayor Bill Hanauer expressed a number of recommendations regarding quality of life, traffic and water runoff. Suggestions included the addition of a sidewalk for pedestrians, re-timing lights and left turn signals at the Ramapo Road intersection and ensuring water runoff would not negatively impact the drainage system.
Rocco Circosta of Ramapo Road—and a one-time Briarcliff Manor employee who worked on the 1982 Chilmark plan—suggested, “The current plan does not comply with current zoning regulations and should be reviewed."
He added Biddle should reapply for subdivision approval since there is more than one structure on the site. Circosta pointed out the handicapped parking spaces are also not compliant with the village code.
Photos depicting problems with the site were also submitted by residents.
Charles Bradley, of Meadow Road, expressed concern about current site maintenance, providing pictures depicting handicapped spots filled with snow, which is illegal. Bradley said he fears maintenance and parking regulation enforcement will become worse with the increased traffic CVS will bring.
Charles Mosello, of Pleasantville Road, generated a round of applause when he described the current site plan as “patchwork” and suggested an alternate plan which would reconfigure the site to facilitate flow and pedestrian safety. Mosello also presented photos illustrating the obstruction of handicapped spots and parking space blockage by delivery trucks making deliveries through front, rather than rear, doors.
Potential legal issues arose as well.
Stephen Smalley of Orchard Road questioned the legality of A&P to enter into parking agreements, as proposed by the developer, since A&P has filed for bankruptcy.
Due to the length of the hearing and the number of opinions yet to be voiced, the Planning Board agreed to continue the hearing at next month’s meeting.
Other agenda items included:
- A public hearing for site plan approval of property located at 445 North State Rd. Linda Whitehead, an attorney representing Comstock Development, reviewed plans for 14 two-bedroom condominium residential units with two commercial spaces on ground floor. These units are being developed under the affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH). Building Inspector David Turiano said, “There were no exceptions to plan and details are still being worked through…but no issues.”
- An application for a reapproval of a conservation subdivision for a 26-acre property located on Cedar Drive East and Long Hill Road East was reapproved for one year.
- Additional zoning text amendments were put off until next month.
The next meeting of the Planning Board is scheduled for April 12, 2011.