Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Council moves 201 N. Division Street proposal to Planning Commission

Proud children and council members pose for a picture in Council Chambers on Monday night. Photo by Jeff Merchan

Monday’s Common Council meeting provided a snapshot of local government in action: from certificates of recognition given to children for their service at a community Thanksgiving dinner to settling a lawsuit from a former employee to updates on several development projects including residential housing and cannabis dispensaries. 

At the beginning of the meeting, council members moved to add a resolution to the evening’s seven item agenda. The eighth resolution allows the city manager to settle a lawsuit filed by Joseph Acosta, a former Section 8 housing inspector, against the city of Peekskill and individual employees, for the amount of $17,000.  The council unanimously accepted this resolution which releases the city from further claims. 

201 N. Division Street Special Permit

In other action, the council passed a resolution referring the 201 N. Division Street project special permit application to the planning commission for a recommendation. 

Developer James Guerriero proposes to construct a 125-unit mixed-use building with bonus height at 201 N. Division Street. To read about Guerriero’s revamped plan for the project, which he presented at last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting, click here

Rendering of the Howard Street side of the proposed 201 N. Division Street project. View is from Pugsley Park across the street.

During public comments on agenda items, when no one came to the podium to speak, City Clerk Cassandra Redd informed the council that she received ten public comments, all of which were put into the record but not read to the council. 

At the beginning of the meeting, nine youth of various ages received two certificates of appreciation for their community service and participation at the second annual Thanksgiving dinner last month at the Red Door Creative Space on Brown Street. The event was a collaboration among three local businesses; Red Door Creative Space, Unlabelled Awards and Mummies Jerk Sauce

Dymondez Evans, Angelica Fernandez, Trinity Hardy, Lisa Lush, Christopher McNair, Avante Perez, Dalton Savva, Morgan Savva and JT Savva were called forward to receive their certificates and pose for a picture with council members. According to Unlabelled Awards founder Carol Dunkley it’s nice to let young people know their efforts are appreciated and doing so publicly instills confidence. 

After the youth received two acknowledgements, one from the city and another from Unlabelled Awards, council members were presented with their own community service certificates from Unlabelled Awards. Councilpersons Brian Fassett, Ramon Fernandez, Kathleen Talbot, and Deputy Mayor Patricia Riley were all taken aback and expressed their gratitude. Mayor McKenzie received a bouquet of flowers from Khaleesi-Milan Gross. Councilman Dwight Douglas was not present at this week’s meeting. 

City Manager Report 

During City Manager Matt Alexander’s report to council members, he spoke of a multitude of topics. Alexander told the council that Chief of Police Leo Dylewski met with the Citizen Complaint Review Board (CCRB) for the first time, earlier in the day, for an orientation meeting.

Alexander informed council members that city staff have received and reviewed three cannabis applications. Tonight, (Tuesday) a public hearing will be held by the planning commission regarding Gracious Greens, LLC, who are seeking a special permit, final site plan approval, and parking waivers. Gracious Greens is proposing turning the first floor tenancy at 32 North Division Street into a cannabis dispensary. More information here.

Rendering of proposed cannabis dispensary on N. Division Street. Public hearing is tonight at Planning Commission meeting.

In addition, Alexander spoke of illegal housing issues that have been affecting the city. “We met with our attorney and outside counsel and discussed where overcrowding has become a dangerous issue – not just for the people who live inside the building but also for city staff who respond, either in an emergency or in a testing method.” He added city staff will be returning to the council with more information about their recommendations. This comes after a fire at a three-unit home on Fremont Street left 32 people unhoused almost two weeks ago.

For his final remarks to the council, Alexander informed council members that at the latest Quality of Life meeting, the committee discussed ways of cleaning up Peekskill. He proposed the city have a campaign next year, called “Clean Up Peekskill 2024.” The DPW is currently working on the details and creating a brochure. Alexander added he will return to the council with more information before the end of the year.  

No citizens spoke during the citizens desiring to be heard portion of the meeting. The council received one email that was put into the record. 

Editor’s Note:  This story was updated at 8:53 p.m. to reflect that three community businesses hosted the community dinner, not the city of Peekskill. 

About the Contributor
Jeffrey Merchan
Peekskill native Jeffrey Merchan is a 2022 graduate of Peekskill High School. He is the Collegiate Journalist at Peekskill Herald, funded by a grant from the DJ McManus Foundation. He is currently enrolled at Westchester Community College where he is studying journalism. As the inaugural recipient of the McManus grant, he will be covering city government, schools and feature stories with a focus on Peekskill’s growing Hispanic community.