Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Council approves zoning change for commercial district on border of downtown

Authorizes Pugsley Park construction
Pugsley Park renovation should be done by the end of the year.
Pugsley Park renovation should be done by the end of the year.

At Monday’s Common Council meeting, it was a return to the usual passing of resolutions for council members, with the main highlight of the night being the passing of the C3 zoning text amendments. Because Monday’s meeting landed on September 11th, the meeting began at 7:30 p.m. instead of 7, out of respect for the 9/11 memorial ceremony held at Riverfront Green Park. Corporation Counsel Timothy Kramer was not in attendance.

During the committee of the whole portion of the meeting, City planner Peter Erwin updated the council about the status of the renovation of Pugsley Park. The city received bids for this project on June 9 and received additional funding commitment from the state in August. Soon after, the city awarded the project to McCarey’s Landscaping Inc. of Middletown. “They attended a pre-construction meeting with us but unfortunately the delay in securing the funding that we needed caused the equation to change on their end. They submitted a withdrawal letter to us earlier this month,” said Erwin. 

Erwin added that after the withdrawal, the city immediately contacted the second lowest bidder for the Pugsley Park project, which was Con-Tech Construction Technology Inc, of Carmel. Con-Tech has prior experience working with the city of Peekskill and Erwin. “They’re hungry for this project and really excited about taking it on. They think they can finish it this year,” said Erwin. A resolution was added to the agenda, rejecting McCarey’s Landscaping Inc’s bid, and entering into a contract with Con-Tech Construction Technology Inc. which was approved by the council. Councilman Dwight Douglas abstained. 

After liaison reports and concerns and issues from council members, the council went into executive session at 8:00 pm. They would return for the passing of resolutions nearly an hour and a half later at 9:30 pm.

City Manager Report: Cannabis Dispensary

During the city manager report, City Manager Matt Alexander and Assistant Corporation Counsel Michael Hartman addressed council members regarding the current state of cannabis in New York. They informed the council that an injunction placed on the cannabis industry this past month, issued by Judge Bryant, is a response to a lawsuit filed by four service-disabled veterans who accused regulators/the Office of Cannabis Management of unlawfully prioritizing applicants with prior drug convictions while excluding others. This lawsuit now has the processing and distribution of cannabis licenses on pause.

Councilwoman Kathleen Talbot raised a question about what Peekskill is doing to combat smoke shops that are selling cannabis. Hartman responded “We’ve been looking at some local legislation. For example, Mamaroneck has a fantastic statute that they’ve drafted to fill some gaps. We’re looking at those and I expect to have a draft statute on Matt’s desk tomorrow. We won’t have many gaps existing for long.” 

Local Law for C3 Zoning Text Amendments 

A resolution to adopt a local law to amend sections 575-31c, 575-34B (1) and 575-34B (2) of the city code to allow mixed use buildings with bonus height on North Division Street by Common Council special permit in the C-3 zoning district was approved. 

This comes after two public hearings held on the local law on February 27 and August 21. The proposed zoning text amendment will allow the Common Council to consider authorizing the issuance of a Special Permit to allow four-story mixed use buildings on N. Division Street in the C-3 zone, with the option of authorizing two additional floors of bonus height to a maximum height of six (6) stories or 70 feet.

Reappoint and Appoint to Boards

Council members moved to accept the resolution reappointing Joseph Brady to the Board of Ethics. Brady’s term commenced Monday and will run till September 11, 2028. 

In addition, Blanca Villa became the newest member of the planning commission after receiving approval from the common council. Villa’s term commenced Monday and will run till September 11, 2026. 

According to the original agenda provided to the public, the final resolution of the meeting was a vote to settle a $1 million lawsuit. But the vote didn’t happen after the resolution was pulled at the last minute. Read more about the case here

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.