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Tarrytown Lawsuit vs. Sleepy Hollow Dismissed

The exclamation points are flying in emails about the "exciting" news to hit Sleepy Hollow yesterday. The lawsuit Tarrytown filed to halt GM site development was dismissed by Westchester County Supreme Court.

Sleepy Hollow Mayor Ken Wray released a statement today brimming with palpable excitement, in fact he used the word "exciting" twice.

Westchester County Supreme Court on Wednesday announced its dismissal of the lawsuit Tarrytown had filed to halt the large-scale development known as “Lighthouse Landing” on the General Motors site.

This will “allow the Village to enter a new and exciting chapter in its history,” wrote Wray. “With this news we are poised to proceed with the most exciting project Sleepy Hollow has seen in a long time.”

Wray looked forward to using the Special Permit, already in place, to begin working with a developer selected by GM. The selection has yet to be announced, as it seemed to be pending the outcome of this lawsuit.

“This next phase of our history will see the realization of much-needed tax dollars for the Village, Town, County and school district, create 1,800 jobs for the region, build new infra-structure for the entire Village and bring an infusion of new businesses to the area," said Wray.

Tarrytown had filed a lawsuit against Sleepy Hollow for allegedly failing to take a “hard look” or make sufficient mitigation efforts at the traffic and environmental impacts the project would have on its neighboring village.

Just days after a complaint was waged from Tarrytown’s traffic consultant in July, 2007, Sleepy Hollow issued a 129-page review of environmental issues.

With the issuance of this Final Environmental Impact Statement the project shrunk some from a proposed 1,562 resident units to 1,177 among many other reductions in square footage of office space, commercial space, and the size of hotel (this time without a conference center.)

Westchester County Court stated in their 25-page decision to the Village signed by James W. Hubert, Acting Supreme Court Justice, “the review of environmental impacts on the streets of both Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow was nothing short of comprehensive.”

The court seemed to call Tarrytown out on their own inaction in similar circumstances, namely their riverfront development known as Ferry Landings. “It is worth noting that this Court can find no evidence in the record that any of the Route 9 mitigation approved by Tarrytown for Ferry Landings [and adopted in the FEIS for Sleepy Hollow] was ever implemented by Tarrytown.”

The Special Permit requires the developer to provide shuttle service from Lighthouse Landing to the Tarrytown Train Station, and to create speed bumps and curb extensions where necessary.

The court noted the positives to come:

  • 45 of the 96 acres of the development (46 percent) designated as open space for public use and recreation.
  • A brownfield cleaned up “mitigating, if not reversing, 100 years of soil contamination.” 
  • Affordable senior and work-force housing construction. 
  • A net fiscal surplus between $630,000 and $1.5 million dollars for our shared school district.

Finally, to Tarrytown’s claim that they are an "involved agency," the County disagreed, calling them instead an “interested agency.”

In conclusion, writes Hubert, “the Petition is dismissed.”

Tarrytown Village Administrator Mike Blau this afternoon said they are drafting a press release in response to the news.

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Scott Croft September 13, 2012 at 06:11 PM
I'm a Tarrytown resident. Will my (school) taxes now go down in exchange for the taking of parking spaces (noted in the environmental impact statement) on Rt. 9 in our village? In essence, isn't that the trade-off? ...somehow I doubt it.
Patricia September 13, 2012 at 06:27 PM
The new developed land will benefit both villages in the long run. If Tarrytown had done there homework and actually looked at the facts they would have never filed suit. But as usual they run on emotion and not facts, I see it in most of their dealings. If you took the money that they spent on fighting most of their fights it would more than outweigh what they gain.
CAROL September 13, 2012 at 07:34 PM
As a Sleepy Hollow resident, my school taxes did not decrease from any development in Tarrytown why should Tarrytown benefit from tax relief due to development in Sleepy Hollow!
Scott Croft September 13, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Carol- Perhaps I mistakenly assumed Sleepy Hollow residents would also see their (school) tax bills decrease, as Sleepy Hollow's taxes always seemed higher than Tarrytown's. I always thought part of the benefit of the development was going from a payment in lieu of taxes on the site (which was lower as the land was undeveloped) to full-fledged property taxes (fully developed). But I also know there is also likely a corresponding increase in the cost of services, the largest being school taxes which both towns share. I just want to know how this will change Tarrytown...?
Krista Madsen (Editor) September 13, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Just issuing a correction on my original title of "dropped" when it was "dismissed." Much different, my apologies!
Gargamel September 13, 2012 at 09:07 PM
isn't anyone out there upset about how long this went on and how much all those lawyers must have gotten paid? not just the local ones but those NYC types! there was no need for this and it cost all of us big bucks and lost opportunities. some one should get the costs and publish it. then see both sides duck for cover !
Patricia September 13, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Why do you think the taxes will go down? The schools already operate at a cut rate budget and have been making cuts ever since the "star program" was put in to place. If they get more revenue from development then it should be used to bring the schools up to par. People spend as much for cable and cell phone yet they complain about school taxes.
Robert Solari September 13, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Now lets put everything behind us and start this development before someone else decides to throw a monkey wreach.
Truth Revealed September 14, 2012 at 04:58 PM
This whole lawsuit is just another display of arrogance by the Village of Tarrytown and it's Trustees.. How can you build a giant waterfront project and then cry, pout, and stomp your feet when the neighboring village wants to do the same. Oh I know why... Because Tarrytown wont get any revenue from Sleepy Hollow's project (or any kickback's, under the table envelopes, etc). Maybe Tarrytown will put a toll barrier at the top of the Division St. bridge ramp... aahhhh now were on to something!! $5 toll for residents and a $10 toll for everyone else. The toll will only apply when the yankees are playing a home game. Trustees are exempt.
Patricia September 14, 2012 at 09:21 PM
100% correct. The Trustees have been showing a great display of arrogance over the past few years. It is starting to seriously show up in ways no one could ever dream of. The people who are running the village (actually just one or two) (men) have been given a long leash by the others and it is starting to show.
Jasper September 15, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Patricia, do you honestly think anyone spends $10,000 - $15,000 a year on cable and cell phone service? If you do, I'd suggest calling your cable company and asking for a discount.

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