So before the debate occurs about what should be built, let’s take a step back and take a crash course on zoning.
Back in 2007, Southeast residents and business owners joined the Town Board of Southeast to discuss the future development of our town. The group devised the "Master Plan” with the goal to bring balance between commercial development, infrastructure stability, demands on natural resources and residential quality of life.
Rural commercial was assigned to certain large properties to allow for commercial development while maintaining the concept of the Master Plan. The problem for Southeast is “gateway” roads, which have limited capacity to carry traffic or to be drastically physically changed.
Rural Commercial was assigned to properties to control the scale and intensity of development on “gateway” roads (Route 312, Route 22, Route 6) as these roads cannot handle high volume traffic and large developments would impact the quality of life for residents.
Rural Commercial does allow the owner to build. Current zoning on Crossroads 312 permits for the development of 46,000 square foot office, hotel, conference center, retail store. The developer can make money developing the property and bring opportunity to the community while protecting resident’s quality of life.
The developer has requested drastic, radical deviations on his property zoning. He desires the property to be zoned Highway Commercial -1A (to be referred as HC-1A). HC-1A is a very different type of zoning. It permits for over half a million square feet in commercial development, does not require buffers to hide buildings (think about half million square feet in full view on Route 312) and has severe deviations of ridgelines to authorize the hotel to be constructed on the highest peak.
The difference between RC and HC-1A is huge…..46,000 square feet compared to 560,000 square feet. The zoning request on Crossroads 312 is bigger than Highlands (Home Depot). HC-1A does not take into consideration: traffic, visual looks, or quality of life for residents on the Route 312 corridor. Zoning deviations shred the protections to ridge lines, slopes, wildlife habit, wetlands, which are protected in the Master Plan. This will have a domino effect on the whole town.
This particular change is not “spot zoning” but rather a modification to the Master Plan. “Spot zoning” cannot occur for Crossroads 312 – it’s illegal. Zone modifications for Crossroads 312 will revise the zoning on 4 other Rural Commercial lots in Southeast.
Once the town board votes “yes” on the zoning change, developers cannot be stopped and residents will have NO say to how much square footage will occur for the other Rural Commercial properties. The decision about Crossroads 312 is not about one property; it’s about the whole town.
Yes, folks a big box retail store could be coming to your neighborhood. The 4 other lots are located:
Pugsley Road — 52 acres on Route 312 by I-84 east, across from Home Depot. Imagine Route 312 with one and half million square feet of commercial buildings. Even if Route 312 cannot handle the traffic, it will not stop the property from getting the revised zoning HC-1A.
59 acres on Guinea — By Sallingers and I-684 – It’s a great location – close to I-684 and I-84 and would attract shoppers from Upper Westchester County.
52 acres on Wallach (Route 22) — On Route 22 across the street from Heidi’s Motel. How will this effect commuting traffic through Route 22? Could Mill Town Road be the next busy street to carry shoppers?
48 acres on Old Doansburg Road (Route 22) — Foggingtown Road residents, if Crossroads 312 passes you will not be able to stop the “big box” zoning on your neighborhood lot.
Southeast residents…is this what we want for our town? I don’t particularly want to see Route 312 turn into a congested, gridlocked Federal Road (Danbury). We should be seriously considering this topic. I am humbled that the developer of Crossroads 312 gets to make the biggest decision on how Southeast will progress.
Do we want Southeast to be a big box mecca (Loews, Costco, BJ, Walmart) for the local area? Is this balanced, common sense, responsible development for our town? You decide.
Next week: Change Rural Commercial zoning and the potential for developers on other properties to increase their zoning square footage.
Visit www.southeastresidentsforresponsibledevelopment.com and sign the petition to maintain the current zoning (Rural Commercial) on Crossroads 312.