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Vote on New Westchester Shopping Center

Officials will be voting on the findings for the controversial Rivertowns Square developement. The development could be build off the Saw Mill River Parkway in Dobbs Ferry.

While much of the discussion over Rivertowns Square—the multi-use development proposed for Akzo Nobel’s former lot off the Saw Mill River Parkway in Dobbs Ferry—has focused on the environmental review process, tonight’s Dobbs Ferry Planning Board special work session will center on the site plan review and subdivision application.

The meeting takes place at 6:30 p.m. at village hall, 112 Main St. The state environmental quality review (SEQR) process is in its final stage where the Dobbs Ferry Board of Trustees, as lead agency, will issue a findings statement on the project. The site plan review process can commence while the SEQR process is still going on, however, SEQR must be completed before site plan approval is given.

“The goal is to present either a clear positive findings or negative findings and to find where the consensus is within the board,” said Dobbs Ferry Mayor Hartley Connett.

The Village will post a copy of the findings statement on the Village’s website after 12 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 7. Hard copies will also be available at village hall and the Dobbs Ferry Public Library, 55 Main St. at that time. The Village Board will vote on whether or not to adopt the findings statement at their regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at village hall.

Developers are proposing to build the following on the 17.7-acre 4-parcel site located in the middle of Lawrence Street and Ogden, Livingstone and Stanley avenues:

  • 18,000 sq. ft. gourmet market
  • a 123-room hotel (probably run by a division of Hilton hotels, yet to be determined)
  • a 33,600 sq. ft. eight screen Sundance movie theatre
  • 62,028 sq. ft. of retail/restaurant space
  • 202-unit rental apartment (which includes 10 percent of affordable housing, per Village code)
  • 1,228 parking spaces

While developers say Rivertowns Square will enhance the area by bringing in needed amenities and economic benefits—some local residents, like the Rivertowns Preservation Civic Association and the Ardsley School District, opposed the project saying it is just too massive and will be a fiscal drain on the community, in addition to exacerbating traffic and flooding, reducing green space and changing the character of the neighboring residential community.

Click here for all of our coverage on Rivertowns Square.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s document “The SEQR Cookbook”:

A positive findings statement means that the project or action is approvable after consideration of the final EIS and demonstrates that the action chosen is the one that avoids or minimizes adverse environmental impacts to the maximum extent practicable. A findings statement considers the relevant environmental impacts presented in the EIS and weighs and balances them with social, economic and other essential considerations. If the action is not approvable, a negative findings statement documenting the reasons for the denial must be prepared.

A positive findings statement would end the environmental review process and allow the project to continue on for site plan approval, which determines whether or not the project actually has approval to be built. The Dobbs Ferry Board of Trustees gives final site plan approval. A negative findings statement would send the project back for more environmental review.

“We’ve been at this [environmental review process] now for two years,” said Connett. “It’s been a lot of input from a number workshops, public hearings, work sessions, data on the DEIS and the FEIS has been collected by professionals and the Village’s consultants. We’ve gotten a lot of comments on the project, positive, negative and in between and we’re taking it all in. This will effectively give a very clear message as to the way board is leaning, positively or negatively.”


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