April 13, 2014
State law requires that municipalities’ zoning laws be based on comprehensive planning. This is usually expressed in the form of a Comprehensive Plan (also known as a Master Plan). The Village’s current Comprehensive Plan dates from 1969.
In 2009, the Trustees created the Village of South Nyack Comprehensive Planning Board (CPB) to draft a new Village Comprehensive Plan for South Nyack. The five volunteer members worked to formulate a vision for the future of South Nyack. A survey was done of the residents and the results were used to help guide the CPB. Throughout, the CPB’s meetings were open to the public, although the public rarely attended. The CPB also briefed the Trustees regularly on their progress.
Towards the end of 2010 the CPB had coalesced on a vision and a set of goals, along with some specific recommendations. While there was consensus on the substance, the board was having trouble articulating the vision into the words for the plan documents. Also, a comprehensive plan must have an environmental impact statement. Because of these requirements, the Trustees hired a consultant to help the CPB draft the plan documents. Unfortunately the CPB was very dissatisfied with what the consultant produced. It didn’t express well what the board had intended. Shortly thereafter, the CPB suspended work on the plan.
Even though the plan remained incomplete, the main goals and proposals were supported by the Mayor and Trustees and they continued to promote key concepts.
The CPB proposed goals to promote economic sustainability and cultural sustainability for South Nyack. Their proposed a strategy to achieve these goals included a concept to redevelop Thruway Interchange 10. This came to be known as the Village of South Nyack Economic Sustainability Initiative. The initiative recommends that a feasibility study be conducted to explore the practicality of the plan. The Rockland County Legislature included the study recommendation in the Rockland County Comprehensive Plan. The study recommendation was also added to the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC).
In 2014, the Village applied and was approved for a grant to fund the study from the New NY Bridge Project Benefit Fund.
Comprehensive Plan Goals
The CPB proposed two goals for South Nyack:
When the Thruway extension came through South Nyack in the 1950s, it eliminated virtually all of South Nyack’s commercial properties. The Village is now almost exclusively residential. Since then, the Village has had to sustain itself solely on residential property taxes. Over the years, costs keep increasing and many of our South Nyack residents have found it harder and harder to be able to afford to live here. The CPB concluded that this was fiscally unsustainable. South Nyack must find a better business model to fund the services our residents need and deserve in a way that we can all afford.
South Nyack residents like the character of the Village and want to keep it that way. South Nyack is known to be a quiet, residential community. It has diverse demographics in both income and ethnicity. Its architectural vocabulary is primarily pre-war, but somewhat eclectic. But South Nyack lacks identity. The Thruway literally bisects the village. The southwestern hillside neighborhoods, including Nyack College, are cut off from the riverside half of the village. The neighboring Village of Nyack has come to serve as South Nyack’s downtown. Although South Nyack is a riverside community, there is no significant public access to the river. South Nyack would benefit from steps to establish a unique village identity that expresses its character.
The Village of South Nyack Economic Sustainability Initiative
Prior to 2012, the project to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project was only part of a larger project to improve the I-287 corridor from Suffern to Port Chester. The larger project proposed adding a mass transit system along I-287. This would have necessitated widening the highway as it passes through South Nyack. The overpasses in South Nyack would have to be replaced. The Thruway Authority drew up preliminary plans to redesign the circular Exit 10 interchange, dramatically reducing its size. This would have freed up a large tract of land on the north side.
The CPB recognized that the reconstruction of the Thruway through South Nyack offered an opportunity to leverage that work to bring benefits to South Nyack. Mayor DuBow had proposed covering over the Thruway and building a ‘lid’ park. The CPB expanded on that concept along with the Interchange 10 redesign to refine a proposal that would foster economic and cultural sustainability for the Village.