Despite nearly unanimous opposition throughout the community, Continuum continue to push forward in hopes of gaining approval for a massive assisted living facility at the gateway to Irvington.
It appears that we are nearing a decision by the Planning Board as to whether they will recommend that the Board of Trustees approve this project, making irreversible changes to Irvington in the process. According to this recent article in the Hudson Independent, the final recommendation could still go either way.
IT IS CRITICAL THAT THE COMMUNITY SHOW UP AND VOICE THEIR CONCERNS AT THE MAY 1 PLANNING BOARD MEETING.
As currently proposed, the Continuum project is actually 11% larger than the initial plan which had been described as “too large” and “a failed plan” by the Planning Board last October. That “failed plan” was 105,000 square feet, while the new plan is 117,000 square feet.
WHY SHOULD WE OPPOSE THE PLAN?
This project is simply too large for the location and provides no benefits, but many drawbacks. The project violates Irvington zoning code for height, density, coverage, setbacks and more. Here are just a few concerns that have been raised by the community:
- Size and Scale: this project is like no other commercial real estate development in the Village. It’s three times the size of the Main Street School and brings no benefit to the Village. Why should we change our zoning laws simply to support the financial goals of a huge commercial developer with no ties to the community?
- Impact on character of the Village: the proposed construction is at the gateway to Irvington. This will be the vision people see when they drive north along Broadway. For a community that has worked hard to retain its character and charm, the idea of putting this massive commercial structure at such a key location is baffling.
- Traffic: anyone who has driven the Station Road to Irvington High School corridor knows that traffic comes to a near-standstill during commuting and school transportation hours. New developments to the north and south will further aggravate the situation. The location, where two northbound lanes merge, is already troublesome, and left turns into or out of the property will be dangerous. Approval of this plan will further impact traffic issues, both during the extensive excavation and construction period, and thereafter, particularly during shift changes and with extensive deliveries.
- Impact on IVAC: Our Volunteer Ambulance Corps have been a shining star in the community. Yet we know that IVAC is already stressed, with fewer volunteers to meet ongoing needs. If built, this project could increase the burden on IVAC by 45% – an additional 180 calls per year. What will the impact be on the health and safety of Village residents when the ambulance and its staff are unable to respond to our needs because they are away at another call?
- Provides no benefit to Village residents: the request is to change our zoning laws for this new use and to allow development that is not currently permitted in terms of setbacks, height, coverage, density and more. Yet the applicant has not demonstrated that this use is of greater benefit to the Village than the multifamily housing for which it is zoned. Either would generate a similar amount of tax revenue. Yet that latter could be done in a way that does not require special permits or zoning changes. Why should we change our Village laws solely to meet the financial goals of a single commercial property developer?
- Unnecessary demolition of a potentially historic building. The property, known as “Hillside”, strongly contributes to the historic character of Irvington. Local architects and preservationists have suggested that it may qualify for the national historic registry. There are other proposals which would take an adaptive reuse approach, retaining the historic building.
- Tree removal: any resident who has had to remove a single tree knows that Village boards work diligently to protect every tree. Yet this plan calls for the removal of 129 trees.
- Water runoff: the site is located in a spot that already has many challenges with water run-off, resulting in overflows in the Barney Brook area. The proposed removal of 129 mature trees, combined with significant excavation and increases in coverage will clearly have a negative impact on water run-off.
- Development risk: this would be the first assisted living facility built by Continuum, whose previous development projects have included a casino and luxury apartment buildings.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
- Attend the Planning Board meeting the evening of Wednesday, May 1 (7pm at Village Hall). And bring a friend or neighbor. We need to have a strong showing in opposition to this project.
- Send a letter to the Planning Board, Mayor and Irvington Board of Trustees, expressing your concerns about this project. Planning Board letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org; you can see the email addresses for the Mayor and Board of Trustees members in the lower right of this page.
- Volunteer: we need volunteers in each neighborhood to help with outreach, communications and more. Drop us a note at ProtectIrvingtonNY@gmail.com to let us know you’d like to help.
- Sign the Protect Irvington NY online petition. And make sure that every adult in your household has signed it.
- Send a link to this page to at least five of your friends and neighbors, asking them to help out. Post a link to this page as a Facebook status update or share it on Twitter.