Hospital Conversion Plans in Beacon Meet Heavy Opposition

Beacon residents living near 11 Hastings Drive, a 20-acre site that includes the old St. Francis Hospital, turned out in force to speak at a city council meeting on Monday, October 4. They presented a united front in opposition to the potential developer’s request for a zoning change that would allow 60 apartments in phase one and 60 townhouses in phase two.

Residents had two main arguments against the project. The first was whether the city actually needs all this new housing stock. With the real estate market languishing, some pointed to the more than 50 homes currently listed in Beacon for under $240,000. The second objection was that the developer, Hudson Valley Housing Development Fund, was asking for a “fast track” decision from City Hall to change the zoning—a turnaround of 5 weeks—so that they could apply for funding which is only available during this window of time.

The developer also sited the views of the Mid Hudson Regional Council, which believes that creating additional affordable work force housing will inevitably spur economic growth.

Residents said they did not question the non-profit Hudson Valley Housing Fund’s record of quality building and upkeep. The company received the  ”Project of the Year” award by the New York State Association for Affordable Housing in 2008 for its Meadow Ridge II project, 52 affordable units for low income seniors located just north of the St. Francis site. But with additional issues including storm runoff, more students in the school system, and greater automobile traffic, neighborhood residents said it would be impossible to fairly assess the impacts all of these variables on the City in a month’s time.

 

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