DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – Dobbs Ferry Mayor Hartley Connett and the Board of Trustees fielded public opinions on the pending Rivertowns Square project Thursday night in the Embassy Community Center.
Though some residents offered a positive outlook on the project’s likely impact, the majority of those in attendance voiced concern for what some felt was a large development in a small space.
“The biggest problem is the traffic it would warrant,” said Dobbs Ferry resident Hubert Herring. “Whatever else you want to say about the project is irrelevant, because the traffic would be a disaster.”
Apprehension about more traffic in Dobbs Ferry was the most frequent complaint. The project, located between the Saw Mill River Parkway and Lawrence Street, would include an apartment building with 202 units, a gourmet supermarket, retail and restaurant businesses, and a Sundance Cinemas complex with eight theaters.
Some residents see this combination as an exciting addition to the area.
“Sundance’s cooperation is the anchor this project needed,” said Dobbs Ferry resident Bettina Speyer. “It is the kind of hook Dobbs Ferry needs to become a truly unique destination.”
Before the public hearing began, Final Environmental Impact Statement attorney Mark Weingarten gave a PowerPoint presentation which highlighted changes that have been made in the past two years in attempts to mitigate common concerns from residents, such as traffic.
“The vision for Rivertowns Square has consistently moved in a direction that aims to maximize the pedestrian experience,” said Weingarten.
Despite changes such as a 67 percent reduction of the size of the proposed supermarket, and the addition of the state-of-the-art Sundance Cinema - which the developers said would tend to draw more traffic in the evening rather than at peak-traffic hours - many in attendance remained unconvinced.
“For the last two years, I have been living a nightmare,” said Dobbs Ferry resident David Santini. “The complications this project would bring to our community have me sick. We’re in the home stretch here on whether or not this project will pass. And right now, it does not look good for the home team.”
The Board of Trustees is expected to issue a decision on the findings statement for Rivertowns Square by the end of the year. There are several more steps in the review process before the board can vote on whether or not to approve the project.