Below, you will find a few copies of letters that have been sent to the Mayor and/or the Board of Trustees. Use these as a guide to write your own letter expressing your concerns about the proposed zoning amendment.
Personalization is key!
I read your email from yesterday afternoon and just walked out of the planning board meeting where your consultant tried answering some questions.
I would greatly understate to only say I am concerned with both the content of the proposed changes as well as the fashion this very important change is being handled by the board of trustees.
For one, I clearly don't understand WHY the current zoning language needs changing, none of the arguments from your consultant were convincing or reassuring. In your email from yesterday afternoon only, which links to more than one hundred pages of dense information, you yourself don't explain anywhere as to ANY positive change would bring to the village. You don't deny that there will be a "possible" environmental impact, but we can be certain that adding 3,000 or more people to our lovely little village will for sure have a negative impact on many aspects.
Why does there seem to be such a rush to approve this? Without properly debating it in the community? I am still curious about the missing positive aspects of this change that will impact 10% of the properties in the village - in my view - negatively.
I strongly urge you and the board to take time to educate and openly deliberate this important issue. Transparency is necessary if you want the support of your fellow residents.
We all love our village because of its character, it's scale and size and it's close community - 40 beds per acre? 40 foot buildings? It doesn't sound like Hastings on Hudson to me. And again: what do we get from it? If these proposes facilities are non-for-profit, probably tax increases and real estate values falling.
Quality over quantity- that's the heart of our village. As an architect I do love development, but this is definitely not the path! Because there are good and bad examples (the board should walk south on Warburton from Hastings into Yonkers if you all need an example of bad planning) and the Artis project is clearly another idea on how to expand faulty ideas into a pristine area and destroy it; do you envision Andrus the same way? Is your vision for Hastings to become a retirement/assisted living/nursing home etc. town?
To use a renowned architect's words: Less is more.
The board should at the very least slow this process down, open it to all and take a deep breath before moving on any decision, really WHAT'S the rush?
Looking forward to the upcoming board meeting on Tuesday.
Thank you for considering.
Dear Mayor Swiderski and members of the Board of Trustees:
I am writing to express my objections to the Zoning Text Amendment for Senior Housing that is currently under review by the Village. While I agree that the stated goal of making our village more "senior citizen friendly" is a positive one, it must be balanced against equally important goals, such as maintaining the unique character of our village and protecting our "green entryways" to the village.
The potential population and traffic increases caused by this amendment are far too high. Under the Village's own study, the number of person in the affected parcels would increase by as many as 2,300 looking even at just 40% of the affected properties. As was raised by the Planning Board members on June 15, the 40% seems under inclusive and there is no real protection against the redevelopment of much more than 40% of the affected properties.
The Village study also calculates an increase in traffic of up to 5, 000 - again based on just 40% of the affected land. This is far to much for our small community to handle. Another traffic consideration not addresses by the study is the increase in potential emergency medical services likely associated with an aging population.
Under current law, an assisted living facility could only be built on a parcel that is 7 acres in size, with a maximum density of 12 bed per acre. This amendment would decrease the parcel size to just 2 acres with a maximum density of 40 beds per acre. There has been no information to suggest that so a great need for senior housing exists in our community. In face, the Village's consultant was unable even to explain where the 2 acre to 40 beds/acre came from before the Planning Board on Tuesday night.
By the mayor's own official message on July 17, 2015, "as you approach from the south or east, Hastings is surrounded by a green belt that gives one a sense of a village in a pastoral setting." In that same email it was implied that our village would not want to "change the character of these gateways," however, this zoning amendment would have that very effect on our southern border.
I request that the Board of Trustees slow down the approval process of this Zoning Amendment to give the public an opportunity to comment. There is no need to rush the process at the expense of depriving the community a chance to be heard.
Jennie E. Mooney
Dear Mayor Swiderski and the Board of Trustees,
I may not be able to attend the meeting tonight and want to express my objection to the proposed amendment. I am writing to express my objection to the Zoning Amendment for Senior Housing that is currently under review by the Village. As I understand the importance in making our village more friendly/affordable to our seniors, I believe that the proposal under review is not the proper method. The repercussions of allowing this amendment will wreak havoc on our Village and its resources.
The increase in traffic on our roads, specifically Tompkins, Broadway, Pinecrest, Warburton, and James, will be unbearable. I encourage the board to come visit these roadways during the morning and evening commutes, so that you can understand the amount of traffic these roads currently have. This Amendment will no doubt lead to increased traffic and with that increased costs in maintaining these roads, which are already in poor shape, as none of them have sidewalks. Additionally, the increase in traffic will cause an issue for the many people and students that travel across these roadways whether they are walking to school, out for a stroll or biking. As it stands James and Tompkins serve as shortcuts for people traveling South on the Saw Mill River Parkway and Executive Boulevard. As the Board must be aware, the Boyce Thompson project in Yonkers is scheduled to open this month and one can only image how that will have a negative impact on said roadways. To allow this Amendment at this time without knowing the true impact that Boyce Thompson will have on our roadways is irresponsible.
The scope of this amendment is not the proper fit for our Village. Proposing 40 beds for a 2 acre parcel is unconscionable. With such a large increase in bed comes all of the ancillary people in connection with them. With each person comes the increase of the number of family members visiting, doctors, nurses, maintenance workers, etc., that will be traveling across our roadways. This increase in people will also require an increase in police, fire, and ambulance workers. Additionally, there is a concern that our volunteer fire department can't handle the scope and size of these buildings in the event of a fire. If that is the case, it will undoubtedly lead to additional resources being spent on the fire department.
Finally, I have not seen anything to suggest that our Village needs these type of facilities and what benefit they will serve to the citizens of our Village. As I understand the entities seeking this Amendment will not be paying any real estate taxes to the Village. Therefore, not only are they going to be a drain on our village financially, they will not be adding any financial benefit.
As I understand from the Mayor that he does not want to change the character of the Village's gateways, this amendment will specifically do that. The Souther border/gateway of our Village will be immensely affected by this amendment. There is no doubt that the largest tracts of green space that will be subject to the new Amendment comprise of our Southern Gateway- Tompkins and Broadway.
There are many questions I have regarding this issue. It seems as if this is not a nameless and faceless change to our code, even though it seems as if it is the Village seeking this Amendment. The criteria for the EAF is coincidently identical to the Artis Application. A concern is who is bearing the cost for Chazen. It appears that the EAF form does not provide enough information to make an informed decision regarding this amendment. Also, it appears as if there have been no specific recent studies performed in order to substantiate the data provided in the EAF. The statement by Chazen to say that "no direct development effects will occur as a result of this action" is wrong. In the absence of a meaningful scoping process the lead agency can't adequately asses the full realm of the significant adverse environmental impact that could arise and therefore must be studied before taking action on this proposal. If the board does take action and issues a negative declaration, it is clear that it is being done in the absence of an adequate record. Furthermore, I wouldn't think that our Village would want to participate in a bare bones SEQRA review to the detriment of the citizens of our Village.
I request that the Board of Trustees not make this change to our zoning code and in the interim give the public an opportunity to comment and fully understand the ramifications of this Amendment.
Peter & Jessica Constantine