“I see no end in sight here,” said Brian Rivenburgh during a public hearing before the Maybrook Village Board last week.
Rivenburgh owns a commercial property—the former Panera Realty building in Maybrook—and was seeking relief from the moratorium on development in the B2 district.
After purchasing and partially renovating the property, Rivenburgh said he listed it for sale about four years ago. He advised the board that buyers are only interested if it can be rezoned to residential. In order to take the matter to the ZBA, the moratorium would have to be lifted or he would have to obtain relief from the village board, first proving that the moratorium has created a hardship for him.
The parcel however, sits squarely in the area of the village that is the focus of economic development efforts. When asked if the move would fit in with those plans, Deputy Mayor Robert Pritchard said “Absolutely not.”
The public hearing was the first time Rivenburgh had spoken with the board in a long time and he admitted he was not aware of the status of their economic development efforts, only that he continues to see blighted properties surrounding his own, making it harder to sell his property.
“Until something happens to these properties, nothing’s changed,” said Rivenburgh.
Deputy Mayor Pritchard explained that there is a lot going on that has not yet been publicly announced and “all of these things are just beginning to come to fruition.”
Pritchard advised him of some of the progress in the last few months, from the purchase and demolition of a nearby property and creation of a municipal parking lot, to the Crestwood project and other projects coming to the area including a private school and conservatory.
Mayor Leahy also noted that the owners of the Galaxy property are seeking funding for a road to connect Main Street and Henry Henning Drive. Meanwhile, the village board has started the concept of the Main Street revitalization and the grant applications. They plan to have public meetings in the “not too distant future” to present the concept and get public input.
“I ask residents to be patient and to understand that we are doing everything possible to move our village along,” said Mayor Leahy.
The board closed the public hearing, encouraging Rivenburgh to sit with the deputy mayor and village planner to go over what has been done and the future they envision for the area. They also noted that while they could look to pass another local law in August to continue the moratorium, their goal is not to extend it but to let it expire as they anticipate additional progress by that time including the completion of SEQRA.
Rivenburgh could choose to pursue the normal ZBA process for a zoning change after the moratorium expires.
“I cannot stress how hard we are working on this,” said Mayor Leahy.
The mayor admitted that his commitment to the economic development of Maybrook is what kept him from running for the position of Montgomery Town Supervisor this fall. Instead, he plans to seek re-election in Maybrook next March.
“I’m committed to this. I want to see this go through,” said Mayor Leahy.
In the meantime, “extensive work” is underway at the George C. Bullis Community Center (library) including a new AC unit, new carpet, seal coating of the parking area and some outdoor repairs as well. The village board voted to accept the bid of Lowe’s for the carpeting, as it was the lowest with a warranty.
The board is considering a new local law based on the Town of Wallkill’s law addressing delays of utility companies in removing the damaged or old utility poles left behind when they install new poles. The village attorney is to review the law.
The village has received $4,999.99 from Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, as part of the county’s partnership with local municipalities to promote community events, which promote tourism and help with economic development.
Maybrook is also the recipient of a $25,000 grant for their police department through Senator Bill Larkin and the board thanked Sgt. Mike Maresca for his work on the grant application.
In other business, the board approved a request to once again “Turn Maybrook Teal” for ovarian cancer awareness and announced that the Bike Rodeo is coming back to Maybrook as part of the festivities of Celebrate Maybrook on August 26.
The next meeting of the village board is August 21. For more information, visit: villageofmaybrook.com.
By RACHEL COLEMAN