DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – The Rivertowns Square project took another step in its development process Tuesday when the Dobbs Ferry Board of Trustees approved the environmental impact findings on the project by a narrow 4-3 vote.
The majority of the board agreed that the proposal has satisfied the potential environmental impacts to the greatest extent possible, allowing the application to proceed to a site plan review.
The project is planned for a parcel between the Saw Mill River Parkway and Lawrence Street on the Ardsley-Dobbs Ferry border and would include residential apartments, a gourmet supermarket, retail and restaurant businesses, and a Sundance Cinemas complex with eight theaters.
Trustees Vincent Rossillo, Donna Cassell and David Koenigsberg voted against approving the findings, while Trustees William Flynn and Victor Golio and Deputy Mayor Catherine Kay and Mayor Hartley Connett voted in favor.
The vote followed nearly 45 minutes of public comment on both sides of the issue. Several speakers asked the board to vote against the "positive findings" and strongly admonished the board members to consider working with the developers to decrease the size of the project. Others spoke in favor the development.
Susan Smith Santini said the board would not be representing the will of the community if it approved the findings.
"There is a complete disconnect between what the findings statement says and what the public has told you," Santini said. "People from all parts of this village have said it's too big. Make it right for our village."
Connett spoke in favor of the project, detailing the benefit of $300,000 in annual tax revenue as well as $8 million to $10 million in infrastructure and other improvements to be made by the developers.
Bill Crawford said he had been following the project since its beginning. Although the project was "big and scared him to death" at first, he said, the board and the developers had responded well to the community during the process.
"The millions (of dollars) that are coming in to upgrade the village is significant," Crawford said. "I'd like to see the project approved with the contractors having more conversations with us to make sure that our village maintains the quality of life we moved here for."