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The Historical Roots of Croton's Planning Problems

January 17, 2008

The problem with the many solutions being offered to solve Croton’s declining attractiveness to retail enterprises is that all fail to recognize that the suggestions propose to treat individual neighborhoods piecemeal instead of treating Croton as a whole.

Croton originally had two retail neighborhoods. One was located along Grand Street in the Upper Village, and dated from stagecoach days in the 18th century. The second, clustered around Croton North Station and the “landings” (docks) in the Lower Village, had been spawned by sloop, steamboat and railroad traffic in the 19th century. Each was firmly entrenched within a residential area.

In the early part of the 20th century, another retail strip sprang up along a short portion of South Riverside Avenue to serve Clifford Harmon’s burgeoning new Harmon-on-Hudson community created in 1907. By then-existing standards, linear parking on village streets was adequate. Although Harmon was absorbed by Croton in 1932, it managed to retain a surprising amount of separate identification, even having its own Harmon post office until the 1960’s.

Croton’s Population Growth
First, let’s examine Croton’s growth patterns. The following table portrays the growth of Croton’s population during the 20th century:

1900: 1,533
1920: 2,286 (+753, 49.12%)*
1940: 3,843 (+1,657, 72.48%)**
1960: 6,812 (+2,969, 77.26%)***
1980: 6,889 (+77, 1.13%)
1990: 7,018 (+129, 1.87%)
2000: 7,606 (+588, 8.38%)
————————————————————————
*Attributable to the electrification of the Hudson Division of the NY
Central and the opening of the Croton yards and shops in 1913.
**Attributable in part to the acquisition by Croton-on-Hudson of Harmon and Mt. Airy.
***Attributable to the post-World War II building boom.

The year 1960 represents a watershed date. In the sixty years between 1900 and 1960, the population of Croton grew by 344 percent. In the forty years between 1960 and 2000, its population grew by less than 12 percent. This shows near saturation in population.

The Birth of Suburbia
In 1900, most of the American population lived on farms. American culture was still imbued with rural values, and a powerful sentimental tilt toward country living ruled the national imagination. After the Second World War, the United States made two major decisions: First, it resumed the suburbanization begun in the 1920s that had been halted by the Great Depression and the war. America’s industrial cities were overcrowded and dirty, and the air was polluted. There was plenty of cheap, open rural land to build on outside the cities. That the resulting suburbia of look-alike Levittowns turned out to be a disappointing cartoon of country living and not the real thing is a tribute to the optimistic Americans’ desire to view the world as they hope it to be, not as it is.

Second was the political decision in the 1950s by President Eisenhower to build the interstate highway system, the largest public works project in the history of the nation, if not the world. One of its basic purposes was to be able to move troops and evacuate cities should a future nuclear conflict erupt. It was also envisioned as an economic stimulus program to get the country moving forward. Gasoline was cheap and oil reserves were abundant. It seemed like a profusion that would go on forever.

No one anticipated that interstate superhighways would lead to an explosion in motorcar use or a catastrophic disinvestment in American cities. And no one foresaw the debasement of the suburban landscape with strip malls, shopping centers, supermarkets, and office parks springing up at freeway off-ramps. Who could fail to notice them with their gigantic parking areas a kaleidoscopic sea of parked cars in every direction as far as the eye could see? The automobile was now king.

Croton’s First Fatal Mistake
Starting in the 1950’s, Croton approved a developer’s plan for the construction of a strip mall that brought something new and dangerous to traditional patterns of the community. The plan called for the strip mall to be constructed in the very population center of the village, instead of at its periphery. The Van Wyck shopping center was an L-shaped strip of retail stores set back from the street, anchored by a Grand Union supermarket, and fronted by a vast asphalted open space with nary a tree or even a blade of grass—a virtual parking garage.

A major fault in its design was the inadequate unloading access provided behind it. How the drivers of huge eighteen-wheeler tractor-trailer combinations manage to back them into that narrow alley is a feat that never ceases to amaze. Although the area devoted to parking met the requirements of the zoning ordinance and seemed generous, it quickly turned out to be barely adequate. Interestingly, this was not Grand Union’s first foray into the village. Earlier, a much smaller Grand Union occupied the Elliott building on Old Post Road North.

Why did the village fathers allow this first strip mall to be built? The reason was simple: Its open plaza concept complied with its new zoning ordinance. Such zoning ordinances were typically devised by engineering firms and packaged and had been sold to municipalities for decades, eliminating the need for authorities to consider local design issues. This is why strip malls in Croton have the same cookie-cutter look as those in Illinois or California.

Croton’s packaged zoning law embodied several attitudes widespread in suburban communities at the time. One was that an “old-fashioned” downtown now had little value, especially when compared with the value of easily available parking. Driving around to purchase the necessities of everyday life didn’t seem like a bad idea. Gasoline was inexpensive. No one gave a thought to the possibility that someday oil wells would begin to run dry or that the price of gasoline would rise astronomically. Driving to a supermarket to do one’s shopping at a single location was immeasurably more attractive than tramping from downtown store to downtown store, and carrying bundles home on foot.

Almost simultaneously, the only portion of Governor Rockefeller’s ambitious superhighway paralleling the Hudson to be constructed. Now called the Croton Expressway, it effectively obliterated the former Lower Village shopping area at Croton North Station. A vestige remains along the east side of South Riverside Avenue.

Superimposed on the traditional pattern of village life in which residents had walked everywhere, the new pattern of adding strip malls would turn out to be a disaster. The historic pattern of small town life was also damaged by a new notion that people—even the store owners—should not live over a delicatessen or a dairy or a hardware store, nor should milk or hardware or newspapers be sold in a residential area, as is done in cities. Thus was born the new look of suburbia. Dwellings above stores were the historic version of “affordable housing.” We no longer build living spaces over individual stores, and this is one reason for the need to build affordable housing in older communities in Westchester.

Croton closed its eyes to the fact that a supermarket-anchored shopping center in the heart of the village vastly increased automobile traffic in a centuries-old street grid ill-suited to handle large volumes of traffic. Little did Croton know a truism they were to learn belatedly: Shopping centers are more properly located near the outskirts of small communities. The downtowns of small communities are the wrong location for such automobile magnets.

Aggravating the Error
Most communities would have been happy with one shopping mall with its associated ugly parking lot holding a sea of cars—but on the outskirts of town. In quick succession, other developers proposed to build additional multi-store strip malls within Croton, each anchored by a large supermarket of a major grocery chain. Approval came swiftly. Before residents knew what had happened, two additional strip malls, anchored by supermarkets and with associated parking lots, had blossomed in downtown Croton.

Across Maple Street from the Van Wyck shopping center a second strip mall was built, anchored by an A&P supermarket. One still risks life and limb in trying to go from one these malls to another by crossing busy Route 129. (A pedestrian may cross at the Municipal Place light—but there is no sidewalk on the north side of Maple Street here.) This was followed by still another strip mall. Anchored by a ShopRite supermarket, it was built at the south end of South Riverside Avenue on the site of a drive-in movie that closed in 1966. It was less than a mile away from the other two strip malls.

Another A&P-anchored strip mall would follow later at the north end of the village along the old Albany Post Road (Route 9A), as well as a tiny strip mall called Cortlandt Plaza. In each case, the strip mall was set back from the road and separated from it by a large, unsightly parking area. Sometimes arranged in right angle L- or Z-patterns, the malls were nevertheless strip malls, Village fathers were so busy congratulating themselves on their good fortune in attracting abundant revenues to village coffers from commercial taxpayers, they never paused to count the cost in ugliness and impracticality. In effect, Croton did what even animals won’t do. It soiled its own nest

A visitor from outer space arriving to study Croton’s culture and customs could easily get the impression that residents must belong to a cult of car worshippers. Otherwise, why would they create so many places for highly polished and chromed vehicles to be parked in the village and in the railroad station parking lot, if not to be admired or revered? An astute outer space visitor with a sense of aesthetics and good taste would see it differently: It was obvious that Croton had allowed parts of the village to become nothing more than automobile “slums.”

— Businessperson

Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part series on Croton’s planning problems. For Part Two, see “Trouble in Paradise: Croton’s Rocky Romance with the Automobile.”

On February 11, 2008 2:25 PM, TeaDrinker said:

First, we want to establish at the outset that we will not permit one commenter concealed behind the skirts of anonymity to criticize any other contributor for posting anonymously. Nor will we permit a commenter to make homophobic remarks about a contributor. “Just the Facts” has done both. In our opinion, his reckless, malicious comments go beyond the rights guaranteed by freedom of speech.

Second, Crotonblog has been accused by “Just the Facts” of defending a contributor whose work has appeared on Crotonblog. Received anonymously or not, we read, review and even copyedit such works as needed before publication. Understandably, we will defend our editorial judgment against all comers. Crotonblog is not a mere corkboard on which anybody can pin anything.

Third, “Just the Facts” has stated about Crotonblog, “comments are supposed to be a place where users can express an opinion.” Wrong. Comments are intended to be remarks, good, bad or indifferent, about the pieces to which they are appended. He seems more inclined in his comment to want to carry on a vendetta with one author and other commenters. If “Just the Facts” wants to express an opinion, a letter to the editor is the ideal medium.

Fourth, without offering any proof other than his obsessive suspicions, “Just the Facts” has accused Crotonblog of colluding with contributors, a serious charge that cannot go unchallenged. We have no knowledge of the identities of persons who comment or contribute unless they have revealed their identities to us, period. Judging by the single-minded preoccupation of “Just the Facts” with “Businessperson,” we have to agree that anonymity is the best shield against the sociopaths in our midst.

Fifth, we would remind “Just the Facts” that if he does not like Crotonblog or its content, he can merely walk away. Posting comments on Crotonblog is a privilege, not a right. And it can be revoked at will. Skating closer and closer to the thin ice of tolerance, as he does with each succeeding comment, “Just the Facts” is rapidly wearing out his welcome. In Crotonblog’s circle, a guest does not insult the host, no matter how bad the chocolate mousse may have been.

On February 9, 2008 6:11 PM, Just The Facts said:

Editors,

You are clearly biased in this case. Although I didn’t mention it at the time, (text deleted by Crotonblog).

CP comments are supposed to be a place where users can express their opinions. My only problem with BP is that (s)he was down right rude to me and others who dared disagree with him/her. Your biased defense of someone who has no curteosy for opposing viewpoints sounds more like the editorial policy of NCN not CB. Very dissapointing indeed.

By the way, I did check with an attorney, you are entirely incorrect, you can not defame a psuedonym. I find it funny that BP can post repeated times calling me an idiot and CB has no issues. The minute I suggest that BP is so annoying that no one wants to be around him/her it raises to defamation. Glad CB supports its friends, but it certainly is not defamation. Nice try though…

On February 7, 2008 6:22 PM, TeaDrinker said:

To: “Just the Facts”

First, we find your statement that you cannot libel an anonymous person while concealing yourself behind the skirts of anonymity to be amusing and misleading. Once again you do not know what you are spouting, and we suggest that you consult a libel attorney. For your information, an “anonymous” person can indeed be libeled if his or her identity is known to some.

Second, we have reviewed your exchanges with various persons and find that you have responded to reasoned, even scholarly pieces with personal attacks on the posters. Why you insist on fiercely attacking the messenger instead of challenging and disproving the message is your problem. Please don’t make it ours.

Third, our position is simple and straightforward. Please understand it. As we said, if you insist on posting what we consider to be libelous or defamatory statements about anybody, we shall remove them, period.

On February 6, 2008 6:30 PM, Just The Facts said:

Editors:

I think your concern regarding defamation is misplaced in the second paragraph of your post. As you state in the first paragraph of your post, the identity of posters including “Businessperson” is anonymous to all. Thus, there is no way to defame an anonymous poster. I am sure that “Businessperson” will be more then happy to write up an 1800 word essay on the subject.

I realize that the Editors of CB feel beholden to “Businessperson” for the articles (s)he has written, but I suggest the editors take a look at the postings of “Businessperson” in the comment sections throughout the site. Upon doing so, Editors will note that “Businessperson” has elected time and time again to criticize and insult other posters for their ideas. I could make a long list of the insults thrown my way (and thrown towards Benedict, Ms. Grant and others) by “Businessperson”. I have generally found CB to be even handed in the past, but I think the Editors are a bit blinded on this ocassion.

Leo Wiegman:

Once again you have proven to be the gold standard on how to write an article that conveys valuable information in an informative and interesting manner. One that does not put down other viewpoints, but does a great job of expressing your own. Great job, once again. It is absolutely criminal that you didn’t get re-elected last year and I wish you were running for Charlie’s seat

Businessperson:

Since you have chosen once again not to address my substantive points, I have nothing to say to you.

On February 6, 2008 2:35 PM, Leo Wiegman said:

Dear Zoning Aficionados Benedict, JTF, BP, et alia: These spirited discussions of zoning led me do some research on the light industry zone here in Croton. Did you know:

-90% of the “LI” zone in Croton generates ZERO property tax income. -And of the small piece that does generate property taxes, 90% of that is on the market.

You can read more here: “Light Industry in Croton: Major Changes Ahead”.

Leo Wiegman

On January 30, 2008 8:02 PM, TeaDrinker said:

We can assure “Businessperson” and other readers that because their comments pass through the independent filtering medium of TypeKey, their identities are unknown to us or to any reader, unless, of course, they have signed their own names to the comment.

We have been concerned, however, that some of the remarks made by “Just the Facts” may be defamatory and thus libelous unless the individual about whom they have been made is a public official or a public figure in the public eye. In the event of a suit for libel being brought by a defamed party, of course, any cloak of anonymity will necessarily disappear.

There is always inevitable tension between freedom of speech and libel laws. This is to notify “Just the Facts” and all other readers that we reserve the right to remove any comments or remarks that we deem to be defamatory of another person as soon as we become aware of their having been posted on Crotonblog. We do not wish to be put in the position of being guilty of publishing a libel, however inadvertent the circumstances.

On January 30, 2008 2:24 PM, TeaDrinker said:

I am writing this from snow-bound Chicago. The temperature has now risen to one degree above zero. At the risk of unleashing another torrent of invective from “Just the Facts,” I have to say that he simply refuses to understand what I have written. In the two-part essay that set him off again, I traced the growth of Croton-on-Hudson and its zoning efforts. He completely ignores the point I made: the automobile is the culprit that grievously damaged Croton. I wrote, “The strip mall brought something new and dangerous to traditional patterns of the community.” That something, of course, was the automobile—but it was the automobile in swarms.

He seems fixated on strip malls, not recognizing that it was the accompanying acres set aside for automobile parking I described as “automobile magnets” that changed the complexion of downtown Croton forever. When you think about it, Grand Street and the two time-honored shopping areas surviving along South Riverside Avenue are nothing but primitive strip malls with insufficient parking by today’s standards. In answer to the rhetorical question about why the village fathers allowed this first strip mall to be built, I wrote that it was because “its open plaza concept complied with its new zoning ordinance.” The open plaza, of course, was a huge parking lot.

The inappropriately named “Just the Facts” does not seem to be able to handle facts but can only splutter abuse and spew contumely. His viciousness makes me wonder whether the investment of time to prepare such essays for the Crotonblog is worth the irrational verbal abuse they invite from this one individual. I could not find a Gideon Bible in this luxury hotel room, but I recall a verse in Proverbs and in collections of quotations that goes something like this: “Instruct a wise man, and he will thank you; instruct a fool, and he will berate you.” Perhaps I should just take comfort from Frank Zappa’s observation, “There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

If the virulent attacks of “Just the Facts” do anything, however, it is to prove the wisdom of anonymity on the Internet—and I mean anonymity not only to prevent identity theft. Otherwise, I might find my car “keyed” or my tires slashed—actions frequently associated with such frustrated, sociopathic individuals. My inevitable worry is: If hackers can enter the computers of the Department of Defense, how secure is the Crotonblog?

On January 29, 2008 4:03 PM, Devil's Advocate said:

Just No Facts:

Coming from someone who HAS put up significant amounts of capital for real estate development in Croton and beyond AND who owns a consulting firm, I find Businessperson’s commentary intelligent, interesting and thought provoking. Your comments on the other hand are petty, personal and a clear indication of your lack of knowledge and expertise.

Let me say this, as a real estate practitioner, I would hire Businessperson in a heartbeat. His/her insight traces the history of how we arrived at where we are now and then incorporates it into strategies for the future, it is NOT theory and textbook mumbo jumbo.

Perhaps you are so incompetent that you have hired and/or know so many substandard consultants because you continually hire the bad ones, or perhaps they turn down working and/or knowing you because it is so obvious you rediculous, and dont want to get involved with you.

On January 29, 2008 12:03 PM, Just The Facts said:

Businesspeson,

Here is a question for you, how does your gigantic head fit through the door of your house? Any person who would take being called a “know it all” as a compliment is truly in a league of their own (I am sure you will take that comment as compliment as well).

So, now it comes out that you are not even a “businessperson” but a consultant. Consulting has got to be (text deleted by Crotonblog). Think about it, if someone really knew business why would they be telling others how to do it rather then making the money themselves? Well, because they either are full of hot air or are too chicken to do it themselves. If I had a dollar for every corporate washout and failed entrepeneur I know who became a “consultant” I would be out shopping for my own personal jet. You know the old saying opinions are like a$$holes, everyone has one…” To think that a “consultant” had the audacity to criticize others on this blog by saying “It never ceases to amaze me how people who have no knowledge of the realities of starting up a business are so ready to offer uninformed suggestions for risk capitalists to lose their shirts and damage existing businesses in the process”. What a joke “businessperson” why don’t you go out there and risk your capital instead of telling others what they should think. Geez, what a complete hypocrite you are.

On January 24, 2008 6:04 PM, TeaDrinker said:

To weewill: Thank you for your kind words. I well recall when Bill Butcher’s Community Trust Company occupied the red brick building now used for Sunday School and other purposes by its next-door neighbor, the Asbury United Methodist Church of Croton. How did we ever manage to find parking there when it was a bank? The Community Trust Company had absorbed the earlier First National Bank of Croton. In turn, the Bank of New York absorbed the Community Trust Company about 1975 (Lenny Fristrom, now retired in Florida, was the local manager), and at the end of last year the Chase monster swallowed the Bank of New York. Big banking fish always swallow smaller banking fish.

I appreciate your attempt to moderate the running battle that “Just the Facts” seems to want to engage in with me. Your suggestion that he and I run for office is a compliment I must decline to act upon, in part because I much prefer the low-key role of consultant where I get less guff. Moreover, I am out of town almost as much as I am here.

“Just the Facts” has made it his mission to argue every point, no matter how much documentation I present. Smarting under some recent correction by me to a statement by him, in a retaliatory comment “Just the Facts called me a “know-it-all.” I take that as an inadvertent compliment. Much of what I know about planning I learned from academic and professional “know-it-alls” who were willing and patient enough to impart their knowledge to me. My only aim is to correct the vast amount of irresponsible misinformation about planning being circulated on the Crotonblog.

As for either of us running for office, that would be a mistake on my part (and I say this in all modesty) because I may know too much on the narrow subject of planning and what’s best for a community, and a mistake on his part because he very obviously knows too little.

On January 24, 2008 6:01 PM, TeaDrinker said:

To Benedict: Thank you for your kind words. To answer your request, here are some random thoughts that may be of help to you. Anyone desiring to open a retail store in Croton has a tough row to hoe because of its seven scattered retail areas. Shoppers in Tarrytown can start at the north end of the village near the Warner Library and walk south between two unbroken lines of shops. At Main Street they can turn west and repeat the experience almost all the way to the station. Here’s what I would do to explore Croton’s possibilities:

  1. Examine the available retail locations and observe the foot traffic passing each. Get a small hand-operated counter and count the number of pedestrians walking past each location in, say, random 15 minutes on weekdays and weekends. This is especially important if your business is dependent on walk-in trade.

  2. Deciding on the kind of business is more difficult. Many Croton residents commute to New York daily or against the grain across the county as far as Connecticut. This gives them exposure to shopping facilities at their destinations. It’s difficult to compete with specialty shops at the other end of the line. You might even profitably spend a couple of evenings at the Croton station to see how many passengers are exiting trains at Croton station with shopping bags with identifiable logos. Any retail business in Croton will also compete with other businesses in Croton and to an extent with those in malls at the Mohegan Lake Town Center, Jefferson Valley, Yorktown Heights and even Mt. Kisco. Talk to other local business owners to get a handle on their start-up experience in Croton and their feelings on customer loyalty. You simply cannot do too much research at this stage.

  3. Now collect data on rent, length of lease, cost of heating, air conditioning and utilities, if not included in the rent. Start-up costs (remodeling, furnishings, etc.) are treated separately as one-time costs. Taxes are usually levied against the owner of the property.

  4. Although wages are not ordinarily included in overhead, in this study you should include wages, unemployment taxes and social security contributions for the expected number of employees (including yourself and family members) and miscellaneous expenses like advertising, telephone, postage and shipping. This total of overhead and the other fixed monthly expenses is sometimes called “the nut.” Next you must estimate how much revenue the business must throw off to meet such fixed expenses. Estimate how much revenue the business can reasonably be expected to yield each month and each day. If any business requires that you work well over half the days of the month merely to meet such fixed expenses before the business turns a profit, it is not likely to be a very profitable business during lean periods or in the long run. Rent will be the largest component of your fixed monthly expenses, so try to negotiate that down as low as possible. Try to learn the rental history of each property. Some locations seem to be jinxed for unfathomable reasons.

  5. At any potential location, investigate who will be your neighbors. If you are opening a yoga studio where quiet and meditation is important, you don’t want to be next door to a music school. Investigate parking habits near your prospective locations. Too many cars “circling the block” looking for parking space is not a good sign.

  6. For whatever reason, Croton has not been a good location for some niche businesses: a computer repair store, a coin store, and a health food store, to name a few. A longtime copy center closed when copiers proliferated. But businesses satisfying more elemental needs, such as a bakery, also have not succeeded here. Steer clear of any business that may invite a chain operation to come in and compete with you if you make a success of your venture. Croton had a small, family-owned VCR-rental store that was driven out by Blockbuster. Customer loyalty is no match for cutthroat pricing. Restaurants have a universal fascination, but unless you attended the CIA or have a degree from Johnson & Wales and are familiar with restaurant economics, a restaurant can be a black hole into which you pour money.

  7. Croton’s zoning code makes provision for home-businesses that are accessory to residences. If you have some specialty (including consulting) and have room in your home to set aside and furnish for business use, check the village zoning code that lists permitted home occupations. A home-based business can be almost recession-proof.

  8. Form a corporation to protect your home and personal assets if you run into trouble. Open a bank account in the name of your business. Do not merge business and personal income/expenses. Keep them separate and at arm’s length.

  9. Finally, I wish you good luck in whatever you do.

On January 18, 2008 1:46 PM, Benedict said:

Great stuff! Really interesting. Do you have any insight into what the challenges are in opening a business in Croton now? Let’s say someone gave you startup money and told you to start a successful retail store in Croton, what type of business would you choose and what roadblocks would you encounter ie zoning, taxes, parking, town regulations etc?

On January 18, 2008 11:08 AM, weewill said:

You, Businessperson – and you, Just the Facts, are what we need in Croton. Your posts demonstrate good solid analyses of both the history and the current business environment in Croton. You have clearly researched (or lived) the history of this ever changing environment. While you may disagree on some of the assumptions or opinions, you bring up interesting history and state your conclusions to that history clearly and with conviction. Neither of you are totally right nor are you totally wrong. Your arguments and debate result in quality solutions. I don’t particularly care what names you call each other. I thank you both for your healthy debate and disagreement. They are enlightening and stimulating and help plan our future.

I urge you to consider running for office as Village Trustees. As you’ve so aptly demonstrated in your posts, a village elected official has tremendous power. He or she has the tools and the authority to map the very future of the village. Ideally, decisions made will take into consideration our rich past as well as a realization of whatever unknown may lie down the road. Hindsight is only valuable when it helps steer the future.

P.S. One piece of upper village history that’s missing in your posts, is mention of the fact that not only was the Grand Union a big presence on Old Post Road South, but so, too, was the A&P. It was located on the Grand Street side of Wondrous things. And the Methodist Church buildings housed the only bank in town; the old County Trust. That was old-fashioned one-stop shopping!

On January 18, 2008 12:53 AM, Just The Facts said:

Businessperson,

One of the thesises that you appear to be making in your editorial is that zoning laws created the strip malls that populate Croton today. However, I am not sure that such conclusion is valid. The true question is whether or not zoning laws existing at the time these strip malls were built prohibited or restricted more traditional forms of development (like “Main Street” type development). In the absence of such prohibition, it would not have been the zoning laws that resulted in the strip malls being built, but the concious choice of developers and entrepeneurs who made use of a permissive zoning law and developed their sites and opened their stores to serve the free market as it existed in that day (i.e. car culture with cheap gas) rather then with a long term view of what development and stores were best for Croton’s future.

Thus, if strip malls are attributable to zoning laws, it is because zoning laws were too lax, not because zoning laws were too restrictive. I am quite surprised to see you making this case as you have made the opposite point repeatedly in your previous posts, namely that developers and entrepeneurs should be left to the demands of the free market and not zoning laws (i.e. Gateway) in determining what to build/open in Croton. While I, and others, have argued that perhaps it is in Croton’s long term best interest to prohibit parking lots, drive throughs, big box stores and McDonalds.

Thus, I ask you Businessperson, which one is it? Should zoning in Croton be more lax so that developers can build whatever today’s marketplace is clamoring for, or should the village through its zoning laws (and hopefully with a well reasoned and long term view) guide such development through restrictive zoning laws? If we repeal Gateway, will our children bemoan the day that we allowed such enterprises to set up shop in Croton?

P.S. I hope that you respond in a serious manner rather than by calling me names. Of course, since I haven’t been able to stop you in the past I don’t expect to do so now….



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