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South Nyack: To Be or Not To Be?

Dissolve the Village of South Nyack? Hey, Not So Fast!

by Nancy Low-Hogan

In the past few weeks, there has been a growing number of people on social media voicing support for the notion of dissolving the Village of South Nyack. Indeed, a group of residents is currently circulating a petition calling upon South Nyack residents to support a referendum in favor of consolidating the Village of South Nyack with the Village of Nyack.

Photo Credit: Kenyatta Jones-Arietta via Instagram

Some residents have suggested that the Village of South Nyack should dissolve and become a part of unincorporated Orangetown–that is: have no local village government and allow the Town of Orangetown to be the governing unit. I am strongly opposed to this idea as I am convinced such a move would certainly dilute South Nyack’s identity and subjugate our needs and priorities to that of the rest of the town.

The idea of dissolving one’s village is frightening on several levels. Dissolving an entity as beautiful as South Nyack, with its broad, tree-lined Broadway, its history, its survival after the first Thruway cut its way through its heart, its Victorian homes–large and small–its famous residents, its mansard roofs, ah, I can’t bring myself to say “let’s dissolve this village and get on with it!”

South Nyack has been my home for 24 years. That’s literally the longest I’ve ever lived in one place in my whole life. I love it here!

In my view, dissolving a village as special as South Nyack would have to be for some very good reason — something solid, sustainable, smart, something profoundly beneficial to the village and the residents in the long run.

Dissolving a village because you don’t like its mayor or trustees is not a solid or smart reason in my view; that’s what elections are for. In South Nyack, Village Trustees run every 2 years and so does the Mayor.  Residents who are unhappy with village leadership should definitely take matters into their own hands by voting out of office the incumbents they are not happy with, and replacing them with candidates whose values correspond with their values and whose priorities line up with their priorities.

Dissolving a village because you don’t like the new owners of a major property parcel is also probably not a solid or sustainable reason. There will be other large parcels in the future and there will be other future owners residents may not like. It is not reasonable or realistic to dissolve a village every time this happens. A more sustainable solution to this problem is to elect village trustees and a village mayor who will select members of the Land Use Boards who will respect and uphold the village building and zoning codes, and whose vision for the village is consistent with your vision for the village.

What Would Be a Reason to Dissolve My Beloved South Nyack?

A solid, sustainable, and smart reason to consider dissolving South Nyack might include: a long-term vision for a corridor of villages, of which South Nyack would be a part, wherein South Nyack could be a crucial partner along with other villages in the realization of the vision.  The long-term vision for a corridor of villages such as this would include: 1) promoting sustainable land-use and environmental policies to ensure the long-term existence of the villages in the corridor; 2) promoting smart economic support and coordination among the villages to enhance the business capabilities of the corridor; and 3) promoting a governance structure that represents the values and priorities of the corridor to Rockland County and to New York State.

Rockland County Legislator Nancy Low-Hogan

The River Villages Corridor, as I’m calling it, would share services including police and DPW and would have one governmental structure. The economic, environmental, and governmental vision for the corridor would define the corridor and give it its identity. The identity would provide sustainable value to the partner villages.

Now, there’s a reason to consider dissolving the existing entity of the Village of South Nyack! As a partner village in a New River Villages Corridor, South Nyack could become something greater and better than it already is. In partnership with other river villages and with a shared vision for the economic, environmental, and governmental character of the corridor, the entity currently known as South Nyack could flourish, and its residents along with it.

Nancy Low-Hogan, Ph.D., is the former Rockland County Legislator, District 17.

Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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