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Putting the Gateway Law Under a Microscope

August 28, 2009

To the editor:

NOTE: The following is the text of my letter to the Gazette dated August 6, 2009:

The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and Croton’s 2004 Gateway law all have one quality in common: Very few people have read them. I urge residents to study the Gateway Law, which plays a fundamental role in proposed Harmon committee changes. It’s available on Croton’s website as part of its Zoning Code.

Let’s consider first how the Gateway Law defines and identifies what it calls its commercial gateways. These are clearly characterized as “the major entry points from surrounding municipalities and roads.” But ask Croton’s residents to list entry points under this definition, and they will invariably name four: the three exits to Croton from the north-south Expressway (Route 9). They will also definitely include Route 129 coming from the east.

Peculiarly, the Gateway Law identifies only three gateways. The first two are the Croton Point Avenue and the Municipal Place exits from the Expressway. The third is a most unusual choice: “the north end of the village along Albany Post Road (Route 9A).”

The reasons for excluding two very significant gateways that meet the Gateway Law’s own definition have never been satisfactorily explained. Unmentioned are the Senasqua Road gateway leading to the remnant Lower Village shopping area, and the similarly overlooked Route 129 gateway from Yorktown leading directly to the Grand Street shopping area.

The reason for including the Albany Post Road at the extreme north end of the village as a gateway into the Village is equally unclear. Few southbound motorists use it, preferring the Expressway. By any definition, the Senasqua Road exit is the first true gateway from the Expressway into the commercial areas of Croton. Yet Gateway Law framers ignored it.

Curiously, planners who claim to have the cure for what ails commerce in Croton have never seen fit to post a sign at the branching of Grand Street from Route 129 (Maple Street and directing motorists to “Business district” or “Shopping area.” Under the Gateway Law, the Grand Street shopping area simply does not exist.

New York State traffic statistics show that Route 129 (Maple Street) funnels two million vehicles through Croton annually. As if to underscore that Croton considers Route 129 a gateway, it has erected a very large sign on Route 129 near Jacoby Street at the entrance to the village.

Does this handsome sign bid welcome to motorists entering our fair village by pointing out Croton’s rich historical heritage? It does not. With the supreme lack of imagination so characteristic of Croton’s planning, it says, “Croton-on-Hudson. Incorporated 1898.” Before any makeover of the so-called Gateway Law is attempted, the glaring omission of two major gateways should be corrected.

— Robert Scott, Croton-on-Hudson


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