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Dobbs Ferry Hudson River Views In Peril

In the now all too typical “development vs. quality of life” conversation, it appears that the incredible Hudson River views from the once thriving Rudy’s Beau Rivage property, a local landmark at the southern gateway to Dobbs Ferry, are in jeopardy of being lost to a developers vision, for a wall of condominium buildings at the street, approximately 141′ long by 35′ high, on the now vacant site. Frighteningly enough, the village of Dobbs Ferry may be prepared to ignore its own new rules, some 10 years in the making, prohibiting this type of development, which robs the entire village of existing views, for one developers benefit. Currently, under village law, a thorough View Analysis must take place by village advisory boards before permitting this project to go forward. This View Analysis must seek to mitigate to the fullest extent possible the adverse effects of construction on existing views. The item is on the agenda, as a public hearing, for the Thursday, September 12 Planning Board meeting. The developers response so far has been to propose mitigating the loss of the views from his own property, by opening up views from the neighboring Cabrini Nursing Home property to the south. While this is all well and good for the Cabrini property and is probably something that should be done anyway, it fails to address the village code requirement for the applicant to mitigate his own property. Unfortunately, this has become the all too typical way for developers in Dobbs Ferry to shirk their own responsibilities under village law, with tacit support from the village governance.

Existing public Hudson River views are called out as important to Dobbs Ferry, in the recently enacted village code:
Views to the Hudson River, from both public and private property, are particularly important and demand consideration in the review of development applications. The purpose of these standards are to preserve the scenic quality of these resources and thereby promote a high quality of life, preserve property values, and promote sustainable economic development by limiting development that would reduce their visual integrity and to ensure that development does not block observation of a scenic view from delineated public viewing places.”

As well, section 300-46 of Dobbs Ferry Code states:
When development occurs on or in the vicinity of a well-recognized landmark or outstanding view it can have a dramatic negative effect upon the general character of the community. As part of the Vision Plan process, the Village has identified significant scenic views and view corridors from selected viewing places throughout the community. Views to the Hudson River, from both public and private property, are particularly important and demand consideration in the review of development applications. The purpose of these standards are to preserve the scenic quality of these resources and thereby promote a high quality of life, preserve property values, and promote sustainable economic development by limiting development that would reduce their visual integrity and to ensure that development does not block observation of a scenic view from delineated public viewing places.”

It will certainly be interesting to see if the Dobbs Ferry Planning Board, which is supposed to have the first look at these applications and which appears to wield the most power and influence over development, will embrace its new powers to thoroughly address this issue.  Developers should be held fully accountable to village law, as opposed to the more typical rubber stamp reputation Dobbs Ferry has gotten over the past few years, towards development in the village, which comes at the expense of the quality of life of its residents.

For more information:

http://dobbsferry.com/Event/84-village-calendar/2013/09/12/272-planning-board-meeting.html

https://dobbsferry-rivertowns.com/2012/04/10/an-1850-dobbs-ferry-landmark-disappears-forever/

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