Local business owner appointed to fill the vacant seat of Common Council


By Michael Trapani

At Monday evening’s meeting, the Common Council voted to appoint Peekskill resident and former BID president Brian Fasset to the Common Council seat vacated by Mayor Vivian McKenzie when she took office as mayor in January 2022. Fassett resigned his position as President of the Peekskill Business Improvement District (BID) last week. He is the CEO of Vivid RGB Lighting, based in the Peekskill Evening Star building on Main Street. 

“I want to thank Mayor McKenzie and the council for this vote of confidence and appointing me to this incredibly important seat” said Fassett said in short remarks after being sworn in. “To the residents of Peekskill, I will do my very best to represent all of you.” He then took a seat with the Council and participated in subsequent votes. 

Lee Esther Brown speaking at Monday’s Council meeting.

Fassett’s appointment was questioned by Lee Esther Brown who ran unsuccessfully for a Council seat in November’s election. During public remarks at the meeting, Brown said she wasn’t mad or angry but disappointed. “You campaigned on inclusion,” she said to Mayor McKenzie. “I find it (the appointment) biased and partisan.” She wondered if all the same questions were asked of the six candidates who applied for the post, including herself. She said she was excluded because she was told her answers about whether she’d run in 2023 were vague. She cited the 1,303 votes she received in the November election and noted that she was the next top vote getter as a reason why she should’ve been appointed.  

In a press statement released by the city on Tuesday, Mayor McKenzie said, “We look forward to having Brian become a part of the council and believe he will make an excellent addition. Brian’s years of experience as a business owner along with his community involvement and enthusiasm make him the perfect candidate to complete our council. We look forward to working alongside him as we lead the City through continued growth and transformation.” 

Brian Fassett, the newest member of the Common Council.

Fassett is a founding partner of Eclectic Precision, a design firm established in 2000, and Vivid RGB Lighting, an LED product development firm founded in 2011. Drawn by the beauty of Peekskill, Fassett and his husband Sepp Spenlinhauer purchased the historic Peekskill Evening Star building in 2015 and then moved to Peekskill in 2016 after living in Crown Heights Brooklyn for 15 years. During his time in Peekskill, Fassett won a seat on the Peekskill Business Improvement District (BID) Board of Directors in 2018, and just completed his fourth year as President of the Board. In addition, Fassett led the effort in 2019 to form Peekskill Pride, a nonprofit organization with a mission to create safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community, where he currently serves as President of the Board. 

He will need to run for election for the council seat in 2022. 

Other items on Monday’s agenda included two public hearing on rezoning the areas at the edge of the downtown, ahead of upcoming development projects. The hearing on the proposed zoning changes brought out two residents asking about property values and how the city will benefit from all the development. Aaron Clough of Howard Street asked about specifics regarding the Broad & Howard development and heard from developer Chuck Lesnick who spoke of the composition of the residential project he’s hoping to build. City Manager Andy Stewart explained the timeline about the public hearing and the next steps. City Clerk Debra Petrosky read letters from five residents in favor of the zoning changes. One other resident spoke in favor of the zoning change. 

The council issued  a special permit to allow residential, commercial and light industrial for the SOLO  Project on South Street, south of Louisa Street and authorized  the bid for the Fleischman’s Pier reconstruction project. They set a public hearing for Feb. 28 for the issuance of a special permit for Caring for the Hungry and Homeless of Peekskill (CHHOP).

In other matters, the council appointed Tim Kramer as they city’s Corporation Counsel.