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Proposed River Development In Nyack Spurs Debate

Architect Drazen Cackovic explains TZ Vista plan Photo Credit: Tina Traster
TZ Vista's primer on its proposed develpment Photo Credit: Tina Traster

NYACK, N.Y. -- A standing-room-only crowd lined Nyack Village Hall recently to learn about a proposed residential project on the village's last parcel of undeveloped riverfront.

Many came to register complaints but others spoke in favor of TZ Vista, an upscale condo development that would add three six-story buildings with 120 units and underground parking atop a fallow brownfield near the foot of Main Street.

The meeting was held to explain the "text amendment" Bill Helmer, of Helmer-Cronin Construction, is seeking from the Board of Trustees. The developer wants the village to amend the waterfront section of its zoning code to allow six story, rather than four-story, buildings.

Village Attorney Walter Sevastian, in a 30-minute tutorial-like introduction, explained the definition of a text amendment, adding such a change would give village trustees more flexibility to negotiate with the developer, who could otherwise seek a variance.

"If it's in the best interest of the village as a whole, we can change it, or engage the developer more about it," said Sevastian. "Or we don't have to grant it at all."

A string of some 40 comments followed, which included everything from outright objections to the steel-and-glass modern architecture in the Victorian village to support for brownfield remediation of the six-acre former gas manufacturing and storage plant site and economic stimulus to the waterfront and the village.

"Sixty feet is pretty tall and the buildings would seal off the riverfront," said Nyack resident Henry Rend.

Laura Greenburg, who lives in the nearby Clermont, said "something will be built," adding that she favors the plan for its public access, sculpted gardens, and view corridors and river path.

A frequently raised issue was that the development would block river views. Sevastian explained granting the text amendment would increase visual access because the buildings would be taller but thinner, so the openings or "view corridors" between each of the three condo buildings would be wider. Additionally, the builder's plan includes a public pathway along the river.

If the developer is not granted the text amendment he can still build the same number of units in four-story buildings. Without a change in the code, parking for the complex would remain at street level.

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