Rhinebeck Supervisor’s Message April 2019

APRIL 2019

What is the Rhinebeck Town Workforce Housing Law all about? The following is an overview of our proposed Local Law,
“Amending Town Code Chapter 125, Zoning in the matter of establishing a Workforce Housing District as a Floating District.”
Based upon the comments that we heard at our April 8, 2019 public hearing on this Local Law, it seems that there
is some confusion and misinformation. I am writing on behalf of the Town Board to try and make the intentions of the amendment clearer.
This Local Law is largely patterned on our Active Senior Housing-Floating (ASH-F) district in that any development
projects within the Workforce Housing district will be handled as a Local Law by the Town Board as opposed to a Special Use Permit by the Planning Board. The Workforce Housing District would be a Floating Zone and is designed to enable the Town Board to permit,
on a case by case basis, a workforce housing development in the Town of Rhinebeck within the Floating zone boundaries. While there is no specific plan at this time, this amendment would allow for one in the future.
The proposed Local Law creates a Workforce Housing District as a floating zone, in only the two Village Gateway
zones which are north and west of, and adjacent to the Village. These two Village Gateway zones were designed for and currently allow for development of residential neighborhoods within walking distance of the Village where central water and sewer services
are available, and were designed to: “(i) provide a diversity of housing types in the community; and (ii) to promote architectural design that is compatible with the overall historic character of the Village and the Town of Rhinebeck.” The districts adjoin
the northern gateway to the Village on Route 9 and the western gateway to the Village on Rhinecliff Road and Astor Drive in areas where compact Village-light development at a density of one dwelling for 6,000 square feet of land area is in keeping with what
is currently there. Our Zoning Map is available for reference on our website:

This Local Law creates a Workforce Housing Floating District for these two zones. The law does not, by itself, establish
or approve a project-specific workforce housing project. In order for a workforce housing project to be sited within these zones pursuant to this Local Law, the project developer would have to make an application to the Town Board for a project specific re-zoning
to allow for the project in accordance with the criteria set forth in the law and elsewhere in the Town Zoning Code. The act of re-zoning by the Town Board would be a legislative act. Before such a legislative act could be passed by the Town Board, the proposed
project would be subject to rigorous environmental analysis and the development of a concept and sketch plan which would be reviewed and vetted not only by the Town Board and its planning and legal consultants, but by the County Department of Planning, the
Town Planning Board, the Workforce Housing Committee, the Waterfront Advisory Committee and their consultants, and the public.
This Local Law is designed to assist the Town in meeting our workforce housing responsibilities as set forth in
the Town’s Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code, and by applicable decisional law in the State of New York. It is very possible that it may be years before a proposed workforce housing project comes before the Town Board for approval and mapping in accordance
with this law. However, the Town Board feels it is necessary and prudent to have this law in place in the event an opportunity presents itself for a sensible workforce housing development project. In the meantime, the existing underlying provisions of the
Zoning Code are applicable to these districts and will continue to be applied to any other non-workforce housing project or development proposed with these zones.
The advantage of creating a Floating Zone for the development of workforce housing is that the Town Board will have
absolute legislative discretion to entertain any workforce housing development project that comes before it, as well as the absolute discretion to deny approval of the project at any stage during, or at the termination of, the approval process.
We hope that you will review a copy of the latest draft of this law, an executive summary of this law, the full
Environmental Impact Statement Part 1 for the law, the “Affordable Housing” (former name of Workforce Housing) section of our Town Code 125-62, and our Town Comprehensive Plan “Appendix 5” which outlines the goals of the Town’s commitment to Workforce Housing; all available on our Town website.
The next public hearing on this local law is
Please come in and visit or contact me with your questions, concerns, and suggestions. I am in Town Hall weekdays,
I promptly answer my emails at
For all of you who celebrate I wish you a Joyous Easter and a Good Passover. For all who don’t celebrate, enjoy
this wonderful warm spring weekend.
With Warmest Regards,
Elizabeth Spinzia
Supervisor, Town of Rhinebeck