Vision for Comprehensive Planning
the past decade, Hastings has been moving deliberately toward the development
of a comprehensive plan. Public
discussions, as well as professional and community studies, have been used to
define and focus the plan. In
1988, a document entitled Planning Principles was developed to “foster
land use that is appropriate to the location, size and character of the
community.” The Zoning Code
was revised and adopted in 1994. This code has been augmented by specific
legislation regarding issues such as accessory apartments, steep slopes and
affordable housing. Together, these documents have been utilized over the
years to help shape a village which people enjoy and are proud of.
Nevertheless, the need for a supplemental review of those documents was
deemed essential in order to allow the village to respond more appropriately
and more quickly to the changes facing it.
1996, under mandate from the Board of Trustees, the Planning Board initiated a
process to facilitate public involvement in a review of current policies and
an assessment of potential opportunities and threats which could impact the
village. The goal was to develop
a community vision which would provide a comprehensive framework on which to
base future decision-making.
process started with a review by professional planning consultants, Ferrandino
& Associates, of all prior plans (dating back to the fifties) and a
baseline study of conditions in and around Hastings today.
In 1996, five public meetings were held to inform citizens of the study’s
findings and to provide them with the opportunity to express their concerns
and desires. Five study groups - population & housing, community
amenities, village core scenarios, business district, and the world around us
- were formed and held over twenty-five separate meetings. Each group prepared a report, all of which were then combined
into one document, “A Community Vision for Hastings’ Future”.
Three critical-issue forums were held in 1997 to obtain public comment
on the document and findings.
Although a wide range of views and interests were
expressed during the process, two goals were almost universally endorsed, and
serve as the basis for the
1. The first goal is to
maintain our existing character as a village community.
The size of both physical structures and population growth must be of a
Village scale, and every effort must be made to continue and enhance the sense
of community. A viable downtown
and healthy local institutions (e.g. schools, library, volunteer fire
companies) are critical in accomplishing this.
second goal is to re-establish our connection to the Hudson River.
The waterfront must be reclaimed and developed as an integral part of
our community, and recognized as part of our regional context with neighboring
Hudson River municipalities.
Basis for Strategic Actions
In order to accomplish the goals identified above,
several findings of the study groups were deemed as critical factors on which
to base an action plan. These
factors should be recognized and accepted in order to ensure a balanced
community for the future.
1. Hastings is a mature village with few open areas that are
either not built on, institutionally owned, or dedicated as open space.
Almost all of the residential areas are built out.
There has been only a 3% growth in housing units since 1970.
2. There are underdeveloped lots/areas in the commercial
district, but the zoning in the district is so restrictive that there is no
economic incentive to infill or redevelop these areas.
Furthermore, these underdeveloped portions of the commercial district
are often hilly and rocky with steep and narrow streets and may be unsuitable
for intensive development.
3. Green areas and open space are extensive and their
maintenance is critical to the character of Hastings.
The fact of open space, the appearance of having open space, and the
access to open space are important and must be considered in planning,
particularly if any of the few remaining undedicated larger tracts are
4. In the commercial district as well as the residential areas,
traffic flow, pedestrian circulation and parking are major concerns and must
be considered carefully, particularly in any growth plans.
has and wishes to retain a diverse and dynamic population.
Economic factors that are tending to sharply increase housing prices
will, over time, reduce this diversity. We
should strive to maintain our traditional mix of age, income level, and
IV. Proposed Actions
the Planning Board recognizes that planning is a dynamic process and the
community’s vision will continue to evolve in response to changing
circumstances, the study
process has identified key policies and decisions which warrant immediate
attention. In an effort to provide a framework for the implementation of these
recommendations, a strategic action plan has been developed.
The action plan outlines, by land-use type and summary vision
statements, the related planning principles, current goals, and related
village actions required to achieve the vision.
The steps identified in the action plan are of two general types:
those designed to lead directly to the achievement of a goal and those
where the goal is clear but the means to get there need more detailed study.
In order to proceed efficiently with either type of action, several
broader, enabling steps are necessary.
the village should formally adopt this Community Vision and Strategic Action
Plan as the comprehensive plan which will guide future land-use decisions
within the village and provide a context for our Zoning Code and other
in order to ensure that all implications of the proposed actions are
considered, it will be important to receive input on an on-going basis from
the appropriate village boards and commissions.
To achieve this, the Planning Board will convene regular meetings with
the Affordable Housing Committee, the Parks and Recreation Commission, the
Conservation Commission, the Architectural Review Board and other boards and
committees as appropriate. Coordinated
activity among these bodies will be essential to the implementation of the
strategic actions and, ultimately, the achievement of the vision goals.
by hiring a professional planner, the village will be in a better position to
proactively engage in planning, rather than simply reacting to issues as they
The Hudson River is a unique and significant geographic feature of Hastings-on-Hudson. Access to, visibility, use and enjoyment of the waterfront are vital to the community.
1. New development in the
Waterfront District should be primarily a combination of residential,
recreational, and appropriate water-enhanced commercial activities.
Therefore, clean-up activities should provide for future development of
all potential uses.
2. Visibility of the Hudson
River is important and building design must provide for open-view corridors.
Structures and plantings should not wall off the river;
some west views should be open even at street level; special attention should be given to the most public views.
Figure 1 provides a representation of some of these ideas.
3. The land lying between
the Hudson River and the MTA Metro-North Railroad, although designated as a
“waterfront district,” is an integral part of the village, and requires
public streets and adequate provision for north-south vehicular circulation
with appropriate east-west crossroads.
4. The waterfront should be
open to the public, with full pedestrian access from north to south and a
broad plaza connecting the existing village core and the river.
consideration should be given to the preservation of historic elements on the
waterfront. Items such as the
water tower and portions of selected brick structures should be woven into the
planning of any future development.
for the waterfront should be coordinated with that of the business district
and the rest of the Village to ensure that the proper level of integration
1. New York State approval
of Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).
2. Maximum possible
clean-up of the waterfront.
3. Establishment of a
community consensus on waterfront development guidelines emphasizing its
relationship to the rest of the village, and the enhancement of the
transportation node in the vicinity of the railroad station.
See Figure 1 for an illustrative example of the goal.
4. Ultimately, development of the waterfront in a manner
consistent with and reflective of Village goals.
Related Village Actions
participation in LWRP process.
Prepare, finalize and
communication with NYS agencies and all waterfront property owners and
district zoning in accordance with the LWRP.
Determine where land
acquisition may be required to accomplish appropriate development.
Establish a ‘special
projects’ funding plan, and explore opportunities for outside funding.
village core is essential to the economic and socio-cultural
well-being of the entire village.
area that includes the train station and its plaza, the library and the
municipal building should be enhanced as a dynamic pedestrian and
transportation node, especially since this area is key to the future
integration of the waterfront and the village.
Figure 2 identifies the area deemed the Village Core, and presents a
conceptual approach to planning for the area.
quarters are encouraged above stores in the central business district.
3. Non-retail (e.g. residential, office, service) uses should be encouraged inside the current business district but outside the area of retail concentration. Areas not effectively part of the business district, such as along Warburton Avenue south of Washington Avenue, should be considered for rezoning to a form of residential use.
Related Village Actions
1. Redraw the zoning map to
reflect that area within the commercial district which is considered to be the
downtown - including the Food Emporium property.
2. Review and amend the Zoning
Code to ensure that new commercial development is confined to the
commercial district and part of the waterfront.
3. Amend the Zoning Code
to provide greater flexibility with respect to parking requirements for
new businesses in the commercial district, and to better reflect the different
intensity of uses located within the business district.
4. Develop a downtown
parking plan, perhaps as part of the LWRP.
5. Build on initiatives to
be established by the Chamber of Commerce and the Historic Rivertowns to
promote a variety of activities within the downtown, such as special events
programs highlighting restaurants, boat clubs, street markets and art
Continue efforts to improve signage and streetscapes.
It is important
that Hastings remain a unified community with a diverse population
utilizing a central school, library and recreational facilities.
1. Separate, enclosed
residential enclaves should be discouraged.
2. Future development
should provide housing and amenities for people of varying income levels and
ages, including housing for the elderly.
3. New housing should be
encouraged in already developed areas, including the waterfront and the
downtown. New housing on the
large tracts will need to be carefully designed to relate to and or connect
with existing neighborhoods and to preserve their open space character.
4. Hastings can absorb an
increase in population, but such an increase should be limited to the capacity
of the community infrastructure.
5. New residential
development should be designed to produce more village and school tax revenues
than any additional costs of village and school services attributable to the
1. Completion of plans and
approvals for 30 affordable housing units on sites throughout the Village.
See Figure 3 for locations identified by the Affordable Housing
Committee as possible sites.
2. Development of
guidelines for addressing the scale and style of potential residential units
in the waterfront district as part of the LWRP.
3. Completion of a plan for
development of Ridge Street.
4. Review potential for
infill housing opportunities and assess the impacts of such housing on
Related Village Actions
1. Support the affordable
housing committee in its efforts to move forward with the construction of
affordable housing units on multiple sites. See Figure 3 for possible
2. Undertake the
development of scenarios for addressing the vacant parcels of land located
along Ridge Street. Rezone Ridge
Street as appropriate.
3. Secure funding for Ridge Street infrastructure improvements.
Parks, Trailways, and Other Public Spaces
spaces, both those conducive to solitude and those for community gatherings,
are essential to village life, as are the pedestrian routes needed to access
1. Development of the
waterfront must include one (or more) public, water-related parks.
2. Any new development in
the village should accommodate expansion of the existing trailway system, as
identified on Figure 4a, and promote connections to regional trailways.
3. Park areas should be
periodically reviewed in light of changing community needs and desires related
to both passive and active recreation.
1. Adoption of the trailway
plan as identified on Figure 4a.
2. Physical expansion of
the trailway system by acquiring additional right-of-ways and easements, and
undertaking trail construction in accordance with Figure 4b.
3. Upgrade Draper and
MacEachron Parks as part of a comprehensive, on-going parks and recreational
4. Establishment of design
and use concepts for development of parkland on the waterfront in conjunction
with the LWRP process.
5. Development of
activities to address the social and athletic needs of the teenagers in the
Related Village Actions
1. Publish and distribute
parks and trailways map.
2. Initiate an effort to
organize community-based park volunteers.
3. Develop a long-term park
restoration and maintenance program.
4. Install additional
benches, information kiosks, and other amenities which will enhance the sense
of community and provide small, informal gathering places.
5. Investigate potential
renovations to the Harmon Community Center to make it a more welcoming
6. Investigate ways to
expand and acquire land for incorporation as part of the trailway systems as
identified on Figures 4a and 4b.
7. Determine most
appropriate methods to acquire additional parkland on the waterfront.
Large Land Tracts
The remaining tracts of open private land provide an important
environmental asset and play a major role in defining the character of the
1. In light of village
topography and the extent of existing development, the impact on traffic,
parking, sewage, drainage, solid waste, soil conditions and air quality must
be considered in any future development of open land.
2. Several of the major land tracts line the major roadways in Hastings. The open space character of many of those parcels is important to the environmental and aesthetic quality of the village. See Figure 5 for those parcels exhibiting open space character.
1. Development of a
greenspace overlay plan to be mapped on the larger open tracts located along
the major roadways.
2. Completion of an
assessment of potential cluster housing and setback options related to overlay
Related Village Actions
1. Develop a greenspace
overlay zone with related legislation.
3. Review the zoning of all