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Comprehensive Plan - First Workshop
Village of Croton-on-Hudson
       Comprehensive Plan

   Public Workshop Summary
         August 15, 2000

 Buckhurst Fish Jacquemart, Inc

Introduction



Croton’s Comprehensive Plan Committee and Buckhurst Fish Jacquemart (BFJ) conducted the first public workshop for the Comprehensive Plan on August 15, 2000.  The goal of the workshop was to elicit input from Croton residents on issues which need to be addressed in the Village.  Approximately 50 people attended.  

The workshop opened with remarks by Mayor Elliott and Ann Gallelli, chair of the Comprehensive Plan Committee, followed by a slide presentation by Paul Buckhurst of BFJ.  The presentation gave an overview of the planning process and highlighted key existing conditions and issues in Croton through a series of photos.  

After a short coffee break, participants divided up into seven working groups, with each group focusing on a particular theme.  To help guide the discussions, each group was asked to list four assets and four problems relating to their topic and was given a list of focus issues.  The groups then spent approximately 45 minutes discussing the issues and their recommendations.  One member of each group recorded the responses and another presented the group’s findings to the workshop participants.

The agenda for the workshop is presented on the next page, followed by summaries of the roundtable discussions as presented at the end of the workshop.  The ideas and recommendations developed at the workshop will be used to help shape and focus the ComprehensivePlan.  














INTRODUCTION: (15 min)
Mayor Elliott: Welcoming Remarks
Ann Gallelli: Introductions
Workshop Agendas

SLIDE PRESENTATION (15 min):    

Review of Existing Conditions & Summary of Key Issues (Paul Buckhurst)





ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS* (45 min):
Topics:
Residential Design
 Commercial Areas
Transportation
Environment/Open Space/Trails
Community Facilities/Village Services
Waterfront
 Image & Design

*       Participants will sit at topic tables, each with a facilitator.  The note taker records the discussion on sheets of paper supplied.  From five (5) to ten (10) tables may be used, depending on attendance and number of topics.

SHARING IDEAS AND VISIONS (30 min):  The facilitator from each table gives a summary presentation of the roundtable discussion

 

Discussion Topics

Seven roundtable groups were formed to discuss a specific element of the Comprehensive Plan.  Suggested topics for each roundtable group were assigned as follows:

Table 1: Residential Design
 teardowns/size of new houses on old lots
review of zoning regulations relating to housing scale
provision of affordable housing
 integration of new subdivisions into Village

Table 2: Commercial Areas
fragmentation of commercial areas
 appearance of commercial areas
future mix and distribution of retail activity
identity of “town center”

Table 3: Transportation
need for traffic calming
 expansion of pedestrian amenities
 quality of public transit
 transit links with Croton-Harmon railroad station

Table 4: Environment/Open Space/Trails
improvements to and maintenance of existing Village parks
 trail system through Village and connecting parks
 street tree maintenance
trail system signage

Table 5: Community Facilities/Village Services
 expansion of recreational programs
 need for senior center/community center/teen center
expansion of Village services (e.g. fire, ambulance, sanitation)
 improvements to Village water and sewer systems

Table 6: Waterfront
 additional pedestrian access to Hudson River and Croton River waterfronts
 additional vehicular access to Hudson River waterfront
 future use of Village-owned waterfront property

Table 7: Image and Design
commercial streetscape
residential areas
image of gateways
 appearance of public open space

SUMMARY DISCUSSIONS
Table 1: Residential Design

Assets
sense of a village, not a suburban community
access to river/views of river
natural beauty/”greenscape”
 streetscapes with trees
“walkability”/”accessibility”
accessibility to recreation areas
decentralized recreation areas
diversity of housing styles and character

Areas of Improvement
mix of community institutions or other uses in residential areas can be disruptive
available parking is inadequate
 scale and quality of housing
cost of maintaining existing housing
 preservation of Croton’s natural beauty
 enforcement of zoning laws
regulation of accessory apartments
preservation

Recommendations
Housing:
 clarify and enforce zoning laws, including law on accessory apartments
 address practice of teardowns
integrate newer structures and developments into existing neighborhoods
defray costs of housing maintenance
 address need for affordable housing

Visual and Design:
Preserve viewsheds
Encourage historic preservation efforts and architectural review

summary discussions

Table 2:  Commercial Areas

Assets
local businesses that contribute to community
owner-occupied businesses
variety and distinctiveness in business types and appearance
scale of shops is suitable for small town/absence of chain stores

Areas for Improvement
more diverse retail and businesses to meet needs of residents
 business viability
 inadequate parking in Upper Village commercial areas
 traffic in Upper Village
 appearance of commercial areas
 perception that starting a business in Croton is difficult
 fragmentation is a function of geography; should be managed but not changed

Recommendations
Retail:
 encourage more diverse businesses
discourage chain stores
maintain smaller scale of shops
 encourage retail that can support home businesses

Business Attraction:
clarify business zoning regulations
 create Village commercial development plan
establish a liaison between Village and business owners
identity of a “Village center”… is it needed?

Visual Appearance:
introduce tax incentives to encourage building improvements
allocate public/private money to improve building appearance
place utility lines underground or behind buildings

Parking and Traffic:
 designate one-way streets in Upper Village to allow parking on both sides of the street
 introduce traffic calming measures

summary discussions
Table 3:  Transportation

Assets
railroad
pedestrian bridge connecting waterfront to Village
senior bus service

Areas of Improvement
pedestrian safety, especially for children (schools near major roads)
traffic down Route 129/Grand Street
coordinate commuter traffic from train station with commercial deliveries

Recommendations
Bus Service:
petition for additional commuter buses to station, to reduce commuter traffic
introduce jitney bus service to ferry people between shopping areas and from designated            residential areas

Traffic:
improve parking in Upper Village
 reschedule commercial deliveries to minimize traffic tie-ups during peak traffic hours
implement traffic calming measures to reduce speeding, especially near schools
enforce speed limit in Village

Pedestrian Needs:
improve demarcation of pedestrian crosswalks
 encourage sidewalks in built-up areas; review if needed in other areas
develop review system to determine where sidewalks needed in other areas of Village

summary discussions
Table 4:  Environment/Open Space/Trails

Assets
Hudson and Croton Rivers
playgrounds
rural character
variety of terrain and natural features
parks, trails, preserves
human scale and connection via walkways/trails
picture tunnel
Croton Dam

Areas of Improvement
better access to Hudson River
handicap access to parks and riverfronts (Black Rock, Senasqua)
more pedestrian connections to trails, walkways, sidewalks (also connections at station)
better signage for trails, parks
trail maintenance

Recommendations
Parks and Trails:
develop maintenance plan for trails
improve sidewalk/trail links and signage
clarify plan for Black Rock Park
address geese overpopulation at Senasqua Park
post trail map on Croton web site

Open Space and Waterfront:
introduce zoning/conservation easements to permanently protect open space areas, such as Croton Gorge and Con Edison easement lands
improve public access to waterfront
clean up mouth of Croton River
prevent overdevelopment of riverfront, maintain natural character of Croton

summary discussions
Table 5:  Community Facilities/Village Services

Assets
high quality of services (fire, ambulance, police)
active volunteerism
good water system

Areas of Improvement
inadequate cultural and recreational options
 more variety in recreational facilities
 maintenance of existing facilities
 sewer system
 sidewalks

Recommendations
Community Facilities and Services:
develop multi-use community center for seniors, artists, children
develop public spaces for performances and art exhibits
expand recreation options to include tennis courts and an ice skating rink
extend sewer system
improve sidewalks, especially on Old Post Road North and in school areas
 create incentives to encourage volunteering
improve maintenance of facilities, such as addressing rat problem at Duck Pond Park

Other Recommendations:
 Croton Point Park: address imbalance between the services Croton provides for the park and the level of access residents have
 address disparity among community members over willingness and ability to pay for new facilities
ensure balance between commercial and residential tax base when exploring new development

summary discussions
Table 6:  Waterfront

Assets
accessibility to rivers
river views
recreational uses, such as fishing, sailing and boating

Areas of Improvement
noise of trains and compacting operations
pedestrian access to river
 park maintenance and clean-up
need for services at parks (bathrooms, water fountains, limited commercial)
improve lighting, security, police

Recommendations
implement noise abatement measures
provide services to parks (bathroom, water, limited commercial) to increase usage
focus on increasing pedestrian access
enhance security through lighting, police patrol and other measures
clean up parks and develop maintenance plan

summary discussion
Table 7:  Image and Design

Assets
Village atmosphere
scale of neighborhoods, children on streets
Croton history – left-wing residents, artists community
natural environment: rivers, trees and parks
 proximity to rivers

Areas of Improvement
improve quality of major gateways, especially Croton Point exit off Route 9
sidewalk maintenance and design continuity
visual connections – e.g. landscape treatment between different areas of the Village
signage regulations
overhead utilities
hill near Duck Pond

Recommendations
Signage:
 develop stronger signage ordinance for storefronts
improve access and signage leading to Vassallo Park
place historic markers along trails
develop distinctive street and road signage

Design and Appearance:
improve appearance of new pedestrian bridge at Brook Street
emphasize artistic character and quality in streetscapes and facades
encourage attractive sidewalk reconstruction
enhance historic character of homes

Other Recommendations:
develop “tree trail” to Upper Village, identifying trees  (e.g. White Oak in Vassallo Park)
address redesign of traffic “rotary”/signage in Upper Village
create “Village Green” in Upper Village
 encourage higher profile for the arts

attendance



comprehensive plan committee:
Ann Gallelli
Paul Doyle
Justin Casson
Kurt Carlson
Roger Solymosy

Georgianna Grant, Village Trustee, liaison to Comprehensive Plan Committee


Buckhurst Fish & Jacquemart, Inc. (consultants)
Paul Buckhurst
Frank Fish
Bonnie Braine
Elana Vatsky Mass

Residents