Almost a decade after residential housing was first proposed for Stony Point’s waterfront, the public hearing for site plan approval for Eagle Bay commenced Thursday evening, April 22, via teleconference.
Residents who spoke expressed unhappiness with the size and scope of the project. Most felt the 17 acres of dry land Eagle Bay is to be built upon is too small for the four separate buildings containing 255 one, two and three-bedroom units. (Eagle Bay’s site plan also calls for a smaller commercial building suitable for a restaurant/office space, a public promenade that will be given to the Town but maintained in perpetuity by the development’s owner, as well as a 200-foot-long public fishing pier.)
Resident George Potanovic, President of SPACE (Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment) disputed the way former Building Inspector Bill Sheehan computed the number of units now proposed for the site, saying Sheehan used an interpretation in the Town’s building code applicable only to fresh water wetland when determining the number of units that could be built on dry land. “The Hudson River is not fresh water,” said Potanovic, adding the precedent Sheehan set could be used by future developers to allow them to include land under the river when calculating the size of future developments.
More than one person on the Zoom meeting voiced concern over the lack of a traffic study; the project’s builder, Eli Hershkowitz, has opted to install two traffic lights in lieu of conducting a study. The general area where the project is located is prone to flooding, and inquires about the drainage for the Hunter Place overpass and how Eagle Bay would be evacuated in case of an emergency were among the many questions callers put to the Planning Board.
Jeff Anzevino, Land Use Advocacy Director for Scenic Hudson, told the board that his organization, along with the Palisades Interstate Park Commission and SPACE would be at least three of the groups that will be “participating as consulting partners to ensure visual impacts from Eagle Bay on the Stony Point Battlefield Park, a National Historic landmark, are properly addressed. We would strongly recommend you defer the site plan approval process until the Army Corps of Engineers can complete its work so changes won’t be necessary to the site plan in the future.” Anzevino also asked if the applicant has had a consistency review to determine if the project is in line with New York State’s Coastal Management Program.
The CSX tracks that run right behind the project also raised a red flag among the townsfolk. Resident Donna Jessie shared Susan Filgueras’ concerns about CSX, asking, “What would happen if it does not allow for reconstruction or alternations to its overpasses, does the project still go forward? And if so, what is the liability to the town?” Walter Cintron, among others, questioned if the railroad will cooperate with plans to raise or lower bridges if the plan is approved before the Town and the railroad come to an agreement. Questions also arose over the impact on the Town’s sewage treatment plant.
Others expressed unhappiness over the three-minute limit for comment. With just 38 residents on the Zoom call and five speaking, Planning Board Chair Tom Gubitosa, noting only five people had asked to speak, reopened the floor to those who had more to say. “This is just one of the several public hearings we will have on this project,” he said at the outset of the meeting. He asked that the public continue to put comments/concerns in writing to the Board, noting that while many residents were on the Zoom meeting, some may be hesitant to speak in public.
Stony Point’s Planning Board will hold a workshop session on Eagle Bay on May 11 at 6:00PM and continue the public hearing will continue on Thursday, May 27 at 7:00PM.