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VB To TZ Vista: “We’ll Write Our Own Txt Amendment, Thank You”

(from L to R): Deputy Mayor Don Hammond, Mayor Jen Laird White, Trustees Doug Foster and Maria Lorenzini.

(from L to R): Deputy Mayor Don Hammond, Mayor Jen Laird White, Trustees Doug Foster and Marie Lorenzini.

by Dave Zornow

Nyack, Oct 22 — The Nyack Village Board has decided to embrace an idea offered by Helmer Cronin construction, but reject the plan offered by the developer. The trustees unanimously opposed letting the builder add two additional stories to the proposed TZ Vista condos on the Hudson River waterfront, but agreed that the zoning code for that neighborhood should be examined and possibly adjusted. “We will make this a village text amendment as opposed to a developer text amendment,” said Nyack Mayor Jen Laird White.

About 40 people attended the meeting with an additional 130 watching on a live stream feed over Twitter produced by NyackNewsAndViews. In the months prior to last Thursday’s meeting, about 700 people had signed an online “Leave Nyack’s Waterfront Zoning Alone” petition opposing the developer’s text amendment permitting construction of a six story condo. The zoning code modifications requested by Helmer Cronin would have allowed changes to the building height and view corridors in exchange for underground parking and additional Hudson River access in the water front district.

After listening to comments from the audience and some proposed design changes from TZ Vista architect Drazen Cackovic, each trustee spoke on the issue. “The height being requested is too much,” said Village Board member Doug Foster. “The scale of the buildings is not in proportion to the neighborhood.” Foster said as a professional planner and a sailor he understands how important it is for residents and visitors to feel connected to the river and that it is important for Village Board to get this right.

“It is clear that the language in the code proposed by the builder should be improved by the Village Board,” said Trustee Marie Lorenzini. “I wouldn’t support six stories — but I do support the VB to create its own amendment.”

“The height is the biggest issue, followed by public access, ” added VB member Louise Parker. Both trustees and the public have pointed out that the village’s arrangement with access to the pier adjacent to the Clermont condominiums have been problematic for both residents and the village. “The deal for public access at the Clermont was a bad deal for the condo and the village,” said resident JC Brotherhood because the apartment complex at the foot of Main Street on the Hudson River doesn’t want to maintain the property. The Village Board has been frustrated with the condo because the original plan that boats would dock there on a regular basis has never been realized. “We need to make sure we have control over access,” said trustee and 60 year Nyack resident Don Hammond. “This is ten percent of our property,” he said. “We won’t have another chance to do this right.”

Despite rejecting Helmer Cronin’s proposal, Nyack’s mayor praised the construction firm for their efforts. “The developers have shown they are responsive and open to input from the public.” She also thanked the public for their voluminous input to the discussion and her fellow trustees for showing restraint in not injecting their opinions as the public discussion unfolded.

Designer Drazen Cackovic opened the meeting with a revised TZ Vista presentation based on recent public comments on the project. The changes included adding two-story townhouses fronting Gedney Street and adding a cafe/bistro space on the waterfront. Cackovic also offered an additional pathway to the proposed riverfront park between the two buildings on the north side of the former Superfund site. At the conclusion of the meeting, Cackovic acknowledged the unanimous rejection of the six story proposal by the public and the trustees. “We are looking foward to working with everyone on the next phase of this project,” he said. “Thanks to all of you for your input.”

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