The City of Poughkeepsie Planning and Zoning Board meeting on Wednesday evening saw passionate discussions as developers presented the most recent plans for a proposed three-story building consisting of 29 one-bedroom and 29 two-bedroom units. The project, proposed by the O’Neill Group, known for their previous development of the One Dutchess condominiums, aims to occupy a 3.3-acre formerly wooded lot along South Hamilton St. between Franklin St. and Dwight Ave. However, the proposal has sparked controversy among property owners and residents in the neighborhood.

Concerns raised by attendees have mainly focused on landscaping, traffic, and drainage. In response, the developers’ consultants presented significant changes to the landscaping plan, including adding hundreds of plants to screen the building and enhance visual appeal. A new traffic study was also delivered, addressing concerns raised in previous meetings. The study concluded that despite increased traffic flow in January compared to previous data, the road network still has adequate capacity to accommodate the project’s traffic.

However, public comments revealed deep-seated apprehensions about the development. Several residents expressed concerns about the impact on the historic neighborhood, citing issues such as construction noise, traffic congestion, and increased flooding. One commenter called for developers who align with the neighborhood’s values, emphasizing quality, environmental sustainability, and design integrity.

Another commenter highlighted previous denials of development permits for the site, suggesting alternatives such as affordable housing in the style of single-family houses to better integrate with the neighborhood’s character.

Drainage emerged as a significant point of contention, with residents expressing worries about existing drainage problems exacerbated by the development. Some argued that the project’s scale and shape must be reconsidered to better fit the neighborhood’s character and address water drainage and traffic concerns.

Chair Anne Saylor announced that due to the complexity of the issues raised and the late delivery of presentation documents, the public hearing would be continued to the next meeting to allow for further review.

Saylor highlighted the city’s commitment to housing development but stressed the importance of ensuring that developments align with the unique character of each neighborhood. She indicated a desire to see “more than some tweaks” in the next meeting to address concerns raised by the community.

The meeting ended with a motion to adjourn the public hearing, with Chair Saylor’s remarks underscoring the ongoing debate over the proposed development’s compatibility with the historic city of Poughkeepsie. As the city navigates growth and development, balancing housing needs and preserving neighborhood character remains at the forefront of discussions.

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