March 4, 2022 Update: The Upside Down

Aerial rendering of the propsed construction at 135 Beekman Ave

Sleepy Hollow's Mayor wants to change Village law to benefit the owner of one building

The Trustee Hearing (Tuesday 3/8/22)

A public hearing about repealing recent changes to Sleepy Hollow's Zoning Code (aka "Local Law 3") is happening on:

Tuesday, March 8, 2022, 7:00 pm.

Please submit a comment. It's easy!

Email: Paula McCarthy <>
In person or letter: 28 Beekman Ave, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

The Background

A contractor bought 135 Beekman Ave in 2020 and began designing a new apartment building in coordination with the Building Department and Planning Board.

As called for in the 2019 Comprehensive Plan, the Village undertook a careful process of overhauling Downtown's zoning. Those changes were adopted in 2021 via "Local Law 3." It made many great improvements, including design standards for new buildings on the two blocks of Beekman Ave that have houses on them.

Since no approvals had been given to 135 Beekman Ave by the Planning Board, the property became subject to the new zoning law. That led the contractor to modify their plans, likely in consultation with the Building Department. Oddly, the contractor's revised proposal does not adhere to the current law.

The Law

The law is quite clear on how it applies to 135 Beekman Ave. Buildings can't be more than 25' tall once they get 80' back from the sidewalk. The proposed building is ~45' tall until ~135' back.

Here's a quick rundown on it from Bike Tarrytown's Director:

The Stranger Things

In the Upside Down world that is Sleepy Hollow's government, the Village is defending the contractor. First, the Building Department made up some rationale for why the design is OK and convinced the Planning Board of it.

After significant pushback at the Planning Board's 11/18/21 public hearing, the Chair asked the Building Department for a written determination interpreting how the proposal complies with the law. (As of 3/2/22, that document has not been created. Perhaps because it is impossible to justify the Village's position?)

The Planning Board's Chair was not moved by further public comments at the Board's 12/16/21 meeting, nor by a lawyer there saying they were going to submit an appeal to the Zoning Board. That promised appeal was filed on January 18, 2022:

(A separate hearing on that will take place on 3/16. See details later in this newsletter.)

The correct course of action would be coordinating with the contractor on how to fix their design. There are multiple ways to fix it, like shifting some of the building to be over the driveway.

Instead, the Village wants to roll back the whole set of zoning changes!

The Conductor -- Ignore Him

Mayor Ken Wray will orchestrate some elaborate, sweet sounding narrative for why the zoning needs to be repealed, how they'll submit better zoning later, etc. Don't be lulled by his soporifics. To push this through, the Mayor has rolled out his standard tactics: lying, bullying and silencing opponents.

Rolling back the zoning changes would allow the contractor to ram their proposal through before any subsequent zoning updates are enacted.

Do note, the existing code does need one tiny typo corrected in order to clarify allowed heights at the front ends of buildings. This can easily be fixed by a simple amendment.

The Other Hearing (Zoning Board, 3/16/22)

A public hearing on the appeal to the Zoning Board is taking place on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, 7:00 pm. You can comment via...

Email: Sean McCarthy <>
In person or letter: 28 Beekman Ave, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

The Substance

If your curious about what the contractor is proposing to build, check out our Director's public comment on it:

The Second Opinion

Here's a write up on this mayhem from our sister organization, Livable Tarrytowns: | | T: @BikeTarrytown | F: @BikeTarrytn