Last week a very positive and exciting thing happened for Croton-on-Hudson. The Village Board voted unanimously to purchase the undeveloped property “Katz” property at the intersection of Municipal Place and Maple (Route 129). The purchase price was $900,000 which will be paid for through the Village’s Fund Balance and through a bond.
We have been advocates of this acquisition for over two years. It was initially opposed by Mayor Schmidt and Trustee Brennan. With the new Board majority last year, the idea gained impetus although the Mayor continued to oppose it until the vote last week.
Why is this important for the Village? Historically, the development of this site has been the subject of much concern among residents. Fourteen years ago residents vociferously opposed a McDonalds at the site. Following that, several other potential schemes for the site w ere put forth—most recently a big-box, major-chain drug store. Substantial input from residents during the development of our 2003 Comprehensive Plan indicated a consistent concern for the future of this site.
One outcome of the comprehensive planning process was clear, that the residents wanted small-scaled, mixed-use development in this commercially zoned area. No over-sized, stand-alone stores. A desire for pedestrian friendly, street-oriented stores and shops was key. Through our Gateway Zoning strict guidelines for development in this area were put into law. Equally important outcomes from the citizen input process called for keeping substantial green space as part of the areas future development and trying to incorporate the other needs of the community including space for community activities and opportunity for new Village revenue.
This acquisition allows the Village to take the lead in shaping this Gateway’s future development by embracing a strategy that meets all of the above needs. Owning this property also gives us flexibility in looking at other Village-owned properties, such as the Municipal Building, and incorporating them into a larger plan for meeting Croton’s future needs for public services and administration, recreation, and revenue.
Nothing happens fast in government and we won’t know the end result for some time, but this is an important step in defining the eventual “face” of our Village. We are very pleased that we were successful in accomplishing this. It shows what foresight and strong negotiation can accomplish.
— Ann Gallelli (914-271-5301), Charlie Kane (914-271-8524) and Leo Wiegman (914-271-1145), Village Trustees