Published in The Highlands Current
Charles Dunn, Beacon
This is an open letter to the Main Street landlords in Beacon.
Please take a moment to reflect on how your decisions affect this community. During the past few years, Beacon has seen a tremendous resurgence and growth in the real estate market. The housing market is at an all-time high, and many of the businesses in the city seem to be thriving.
Unfortunately, I have noticed a number of business owners pulling up stakes and moving to nearby communities. All too often the reason they are leaving is the same: as rents continue to increase, some entrepreneurs find it exceedingly difficult to succeed. read more...
Council vote expected in September
From The Highlands Current
By Jeff Simms
Public comment dominated the July 17 Beacon City Council meeting, the first since Mayor Randy Casale announced that the city is considering a six-month moratorium on residential building.
The ban is being considered, Casale said, because Beacon’s faster-than-projected growth could bring the city’s population uncomfortably close to the threshold its existing water supplies can sustain.
Beacon’s population is about 14,400, but with almost 1,000 housing units either under construction or review, that number could jump to nearly 17,000 quickly. The city’s water sources can accommodate 17,800, although its comprehensive plan projected Beacon would not grow that large until at least 2050. read more...
Historic Beacon estate could change hands
From The Highlands Current
By Jeff Simms
The sale of the 64-acre Tioronda Estate, the historic property on the outskirts of Beacon that includes the former Craig House psychiatric center, could happen within the next month.
An offer has been accepted on the property, said Beacon-based broker Daniel Aubry. He declined to provide the sale price, although a six-page brochure prepared for potential buyers gave an asking price of $8 million.
Aubry also would not identify who made the bid, other than to say it was a group of investors “who already own a considerable amount of property in Beacon.” They are paying cash, he said.
Aubry described the investment group as “very experienced people” who have worked in Brooklyn in the past. The parcel was never placed in listing databases, he said, but instead advertised by word of mouth. Read more...
From the Highlands Current
By Jeff Simms
The Beacon City Council is considering a six-month moratorium on residential development because of concerns about its long-term water supply.
Beacon Mayor Randy Casale said at the council’s July 10 meeting that the city is drafting the moratorium because Beacon is growing faster than expected but has not added new water sources to its inventory.
Because the council would have to schedule a public hearing and have the city and county planning boards review the proposed legislation, a moratorium would likely not be adopted until at least September.
However, the moratorium would be retroactive to July 3, with construction projects underway or already under review by the Beacon Planning Board exempted. As drafted, it would not apply to commercial building. read more...
News From the Howland Cultural Center:
Members and friends of the Howland Cultural Center . . .
Please read, and please share
This is an extremely important meeting for the Howland Cultural Center because we face a challenge. The ZBA agenda includes a request by the new owners of 475 Main Street, the building that immediately flanks the Howland Cultural Center, on both the side and in the back, for a variance (a waiver from the law's limits) to allow seven (7) residential units in the building. If they are granted the variance, they plan to build-up the existing one-story ell wing at the rear of their building to three (3) full stories, creating a brick wall that will block the light and drastically change both the appearance and character of the Howland's courtyard and its garden as seen both from Main Street and by those who use it on a daily basis. We do not deem the seven (7) apartments to be either a compatible or needed use, but rather one that will inevitably lead to conflicts.
We plan to be present at the hearing to voice our objections and would appreciate backing from our members and friends. It is a public hearing, so you can speak out if you so wish.
Zoning Board of Appeals, July 18th @ 7PM
Mayor Casale has proposed a 6-month development moratorium effective immediately due to concerns about water.
"Any application for residential development submitted to the City before July 3, 2017 or pending before a land use board as of the July 11, 2017 Planning Board agenda and the July 18, 2017 Zoning Board of Appeals Agenda is exempt from this moratorium. Any application seeking a modification or extension of an existing approval that does not increase the density (by unit or bedroom count) shall be exempt from this moratorium."
Current List of Developments:
The BCSD Board of Education passed the following Resolution at their meeting last night 7/5/17:
Whereas the Beacon School District is obligated to serve all school-age children resident within its bounds, and
Whereas the number of actual and potential resident students at present and in future years is of practical concern to the board, staff, taxpayers and voters of the district, and
Whereas the Board of Education is aware that enrollment projected by the Cornell Program on Applied Demographics do not consider sudden deviations from past trends, and
Whereas the City of Beacon has granted and is currently considering variances and site plan approvals for new multi-unit residences that will create a surge in it’s population, and
Whereas such surges in population may create a negative impact,
Therefore, be it resolved,
That the Board of Education feels that it is prudent and responsible that we voice our concern to the City of Beacon’s governing body, planning board, and zoning board of appeals on the pace of the growth that can be overwhelming, and
Formally request that the Beacon School District be designated as an interested agency under SEQR and provided with ample time to review and comment prior to variance and site plan approval the projection of school-aged children for the multi-unit residences being considered,
And directs the District Clerk to forward this resolution upon it’s approval to the Mayor of Beacon, to the Chair of the Planning Board of the City of Beacon, and the Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals of the City of Beacon.
Whereas, the Beacon City School District is keenly aware of its obligation to provide a quality education to school-age children residing in the District while addressing its fiscal obligations to its residents in consideration of the constraints imposed by the current tax cap structure; and
Whereas, sudden and unanticipated increases in student enrollment will adversely affect the financial and physical capabilities of the District to educate its students; and
Whereas, the municipalities served by the District, including the City of Beacon and the Towns of Fishkill and Wappinger, have recently experienced an increase in housing construction and development proposals that would significantly increase multi-housing units and the corresponding population; and
Whereas, the Board of Education, in proactively planning for such future increases, has initiated an enrollment study in order to project the potential student population and impact on infrastructure and staffing over the next ten years; and
Whereas, in addition to the enrollment study, the District must also closely monitor and collaborate with the municipalities served by the District in order to identify areas of potential growth.
Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Board of Education of the Beacon City School District hereby authorizes the Superintendent to request that the City of Beacon, Town of Fishkill and Town of Wappinger identify the District as an interested agency in all reviews under the State Environmental Quality Review Act for multi-family developments and residential subdivisions of land; and
Be it further resolved, by the Board that the Superintendent is further directed to request that said municipalities notify the District when such applications are received for review; and
Be it further resolved by the Board that the school attorneys are hereby directed to review and draft a response on behalf of the District to the School Impact Study dated June 26, 2017 for the multi-family Edgewater project in the City of Beacon, to be presented to the City of Beacon Planning Board at its meeting on July 11, 2017.
Sticking to the Plan
Beacon building inspector discusses the city’s growth
Via Highlands Current, By Jeff Simms
Tim Dexter, who has been Beacon’s building inspector since 1994, wears multiple hats, including fire inspector, plumbing inspector, code enforcement officer, flood plain administrator and zoning administrator. He spoke with The Current about planning, infrastructure and development. His responses have been edited for brevity... read more