The New Rochelle City Council will be busy Tuesday (March 12) afternoon and evening.
The large Echo Bay development, the vacant armory, a new farmer’s market operator and cabaret license applications for restaurants that want to use music as prime entertainment are all due for discussion at the council meeting in City Hall, 515 North Ave.
Residents will have key chances to address two issues – the Echo Bay development and the cabaret licenses – at hearings devoted to the topics starting at 7:30 p.m. But at a public comment section that follows, people can talk about any city matter.
The council will consider steps toward bringing a “grand market” downtown on Saturdays – a traditional farmers’ market souped up (so to speak) with ethnic foods, crafts, al fresco dining, children’s entertainment, arts and music and more. The weekly summer event will replace the Farmers’ Market that had been held on Fridays during the summers.
The Friday market would not disappear, but would move north to Huguenot Park along North Avenue by New Rochelle High School.
The council will also consider setting up a Friends of New Rochelle Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
The first part of the meeting begins at 3:45 p.m.
This will be the first of two meetings the council holds each month. By tradition, the council does not take the final vote on matters. Instead, the council members decide which items they want to vote on at the second meeting, on the following Tuesday, March 19.
In practice, however, the council occasionally does take a final vote on a matter, particularly if it is a time-sensitive issue.
Among the issues:
The city is reviewing a key study of the proposed Echo Bay development. With 285 rental apartments, 25,000 square feet for stores and a 5-acre waterfront park, the project has the potential to transform east New Rochelle and to take advantage of an extremely rare opportunity to open up new waterfront.
But what will it mean on balance? What about the noise? New children in the schools? New traffic?
All those issues, and many more, are addressed in the study.
And the report is public. Copies are available for viewing at City Hall and the New Rochelle Public Library downtown. It is also posted on line.
Called a draft environmental impact statement, the study is large and can seem daunting. But even a quick glance at it shows that it is filled with information and projections of ways the new homes, residents, stores and parkland can touch on the city’s life.
One hearing will be devoted to comments on the study.
Two establishments, Alvin & Friends and Zabidury Restaurant Lounge and Cabaret, have asked the city for permission to feature music for dancing, or bands with four or more musicians.
Alvin & Friends, located on Lawton Street, plans to move to a larger place a couple of blocks away at 12-14 Memorial Highway.
Zabidury is at 8 S. Division Street.
Another hearing is set to gather comments on the applications.
THE ARMORY: The hopes of many for a large food market and restaurants associated with celebrity chef Jeremiah Tower in the former armory have been dashed. The development team that pitched the plan abandoned it in February and missed a deadline to sign an agreement and pay a $50,000 fee. When the development team was chosen, back in September, it created bad feeling among another team, led by some veterans in the city, to create a center that focused more on performing arts (though it would also include restaurants, and both proposals included space for veterans services.)
Supporters of the veterans’ proposal say the city should give it another chance. Councilman Louis Trangucci said he and colleague Al Tarantino will raise the topic at the meeting.
GRAND MARKET & FARMERS’ MARKET:
The city will consider an agreement with the Downtown Business Improvement District to establish the Grand Market on the Library Green on Saturdays in summer.
The council will also consider a proposed contract with Down to Earth Markets to operate a new farmers’ market by the high school on Fridays during the summer. The company, formerly Community Markets, operated the Friday events on the Library Green for three years.