Stony Point Passes Resolution to Change Waterfront Zoning, Creates New Economic Opportunities for Marina Owners

BY CHERYL SLAVIN

At its regular meeting Tuesday night the Stony Point Town Board unanimously passed a resolution to amend the zoning code governing its protected waterfront (PW) zoning district. The changes come about after a months-long process, started last year, during which the town examined how to encourage further use of the marina areas and increase beneficial economic development. The new law will permit mixed use waterfront development for residential, retail, office, restaurant and marina uses, along with guaranteed public access to the waterfront through the construction of a continuous public esplanade along the river.

A public hearing on the proposed amendments was continued from the last meeting. Town planner Max Stach briefly brought the board up to date that the Planning Board had officially found no inconsistency between the proposed zoning changes for increased usage and the town’s 1994 Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP), although admittedly the LWRP only addressed marina uses and public access. He also reiterated that at the last meeting the board had voted to adopt the EAF part 3 and issue a negative declaration as to environmental impacts, including the increase in traffic that new development would undoubtedly bring to the area. He also noted that Kevin Maher, former town engineer, had submitted comments raising concerns about the long term capacity of the town’s sewer system and the capacity of the infrastructure to handle increased emergency services needs.

George Potanovic Jr., president of Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment, read a letter into the record voicing his concerns about the zoning changes. He asserted that the proposed amendments were in fact inconsistent with the vision of the LWRP, and urged the town to update the LWRP prior to adopting the new laws rather than “bypass the LWRP for (the town’s) own convenience as lead agency.” He also asserted that the potential adverse impact of increased traffic was not adequately addressed, and that the question of impact on water demand, sewer capacity and proximity to the CHPE and CSX rights of way had not been addressed at all. He concluded by stating that while SPACE “welcomes reasonable amendments” that would “allow new development along the waterfront,” they urge the town to examine more carefully the impacts of doing so.

Stony Point Councilman Tom Basile noted, “Stony Point’s waterfront has been an underutilized resource for decades.  This plan is an enormous opportunity to improve waterfront access for our residents, create jobs, and develop additional tax revenue.  A thriving waterfront district for Stony Point could also increase home values.  This is a critical step forward that has been a long time in coming.”

Stony Point resident Dwight Joyce’s remarks in favor of amendments that could bring greater economic growth and public waterfront access to the town and its residents were met by applause from many in the audience. Development along the river will be limited to areas already designated for marina use, with 5-acre minimum lots; therefore most if not all of the development will be limited to marina owners either individually or in partnerships. After the hearing was closed the board voted and passed the amendments, which will be posted on its website.

In other business, the board voted to appoint Vincent Agovino to replace retiring Police Officer Zayas. Stony Point product Agovino was sworn in by lifetime family friend Deputy Town Clerk Barbara Oyer in front of many friends and relatives, including his parents via Facetime from Florida and Police Chief Brian Moore presented him with his badge. The board also voted to hire Douglas Mann, 40 year member of Wayne Hose Company #1, to replace the retiring Robert Huslinger as part time police communications and security aide. Octogenarian Huslinger is stepping down after many decades of service with the police department.

The board set a public hearing on the matter of amending town code which governs garage and yard sales. The hearing will take place at the April 14, 2015 regular board meeting.

Rockland County Times names official journal of the town’s sesquicentennial 

The board also adopted a resolution designating the Rockland County Times as its newspaper of record for the town’s yearlong sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary celebration. Editor and publisher Dylan Skriloff is on the planning committee and has offered to carry publicity about the festivities in the paper. According to committee member Susan Filgueras, the first planned event, a concert by the Air Force National Band at North Rockland High School, will take place on May 4. The concert may include a musical number that had been composed during the American Revolution specifically with Stony Point in mind.