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Local Residents Rip Rivertowns Square

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – In a hot and humid board room, concerned citizens primarily criticized the Rivertowns Square project during a public hearing Monday night in Dobbs Ferry.

“Westchester is being overdeveloped,” said Linda Keil, a resident of Ardsley for the past 37 years.  “You’re in the middle of basically a depression.  Things will get better but there’s too much retail.”

With nearly 100 people packed into the board room and many standing and pouring out of the back doors, local residents lined up to have their voices heard on the project.  The representatives of the project gave a presentation detailing various parts of the proposal such as land use, economic affects and traffic studies.  Dobbs Ferry Mayor Hartley Connett eventually cut the presentation short as he noted how many local residents had come to speak at the public hearing.  Many stepped up the microphone and ripped into the project, citing concerns over traffic, pollution and quality of life.

Judy Lindey, a 48-year resident of Ardsley and the chairperson of the Ardsley Improvement Committee, asked the board how this could possibly help local merchants who are already struggling as well as the empty store fronts.  She also insinuated it may be hypocritical of the board to have noise and pollution policies in the village, but allowing this project.

“This traffic is going to make much more pollution than any leaf blowers,” she said in reference to the limitations village put on leaf blower usage.

Other residents were devastated by what Rivertowns Square would mean for the surrounding nature in the village.

“I love coming home and seeing the animals, now I come home and see on the Internet that 5 acres, not 4, 5 acres of that is going to be destroyed,” said Dobbs Ferry resident Nina Ross about the wooded area of the project.  “That’s very upsetting to me.”

Some did not see the financial incentives being worth it for the village to allow a project like this.

“I really question the premise of this,” said Robert Miss, a Dobbs Ferry resident for 23 years.  “That’s chump change for what this devastation is going to cost.”

Plenty of residents said they believe the scope of the project is simply too large and may be a better fit for the village if it were to be scaled back.

Additional public hearings were set by the board for Jan. 9 and Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m. in Village Hall.  The additional meetings will allow further presentations from the representatives of Rivertowns Square along with more comments from residents.

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