SLEEPY HOLLOW, NY-Just how the sudden withdrawal of Roseland Property Co. will affect the Lighthouse Landing project here is up in the air at the moment. However, a press conference scheduled for tomorrow at Village Hall may provide some answers.

Late Wednesday, Roseland Property, a joint venture partner with General Motors Corp. on the redevelopment of the former GM Minivan Assembly site, issued a statement which began, “After six years of hard work and an exhaustive environmental review, we are deeply disappointed to announce today that we have withdrawn our plan for the redevelopment of the 98-acre GM property in the Village of Sleepy Hollow.” The statement went on to say that “the terms imposed by the village during the final stage of the environmental review process scaled back the project to the point where it became economically unviable for our company.”

Geoffrey Thompson, a spokesman for the Short Hills, NJ-based developer, says the company would have no further comment except for its statement, which said that its plan would have “transformed a former industrial property into a vibrant and vital riverfront community.” Roseland concluded by saying that “opportunity is now gone. This is a tremendous loss for the village and the Tarrytown School District in particular.”

Janine Fruehan, a spokesperson for GM, says in response to the Roseland statement that the firm’s withdrawal “was mutually agreed to.” She adds that GM will now make it a priority to find a developer to replace Roseland on the Lighthouse Landing project. GM ceased operations at its assembly plant in June 1996 and later demolished the building.

The controversy over the scope of the project and the recent changes made by the Village of Sleepy Hollow in the Seqra process led to GM filing a legal action in New York State Supreme Court in White Plains on Nov. 21. The original Lighthouse Landing development plan filed in February 2003 called for a mixed-use project of 1,562 residential units; 185,000 sf of retail space, 95,000 sf of office space, a 150-room hotel or inn and open space.

According to GM’s court papers, the Final Environmental Impact Statement reduced the residential units to 1,250, the retail component to 132,000 sf, the office space to 35,000 sf, the ratio of residential units was cut from 72% to 51% and the overall open space and public area was increased from 26 acres to 39 acres. In addition, GM contends in court papers that the village’s Findings Statement has further reduced the density to 1,177 residential units and also provides for the Village Board “to retain the authority to change the use of one of the proposed buildings, which would have the effect of further reducing the residential density by an additional 131 units.”

GM also complained in its court action against the village about other requirements included in the village’s Findings Statement concerning regional flood control studies, bond obligations, and park improvements. It concludes its court filing by stating that the Village Board’s actions “had drastically interfered with Petitioner’s property and threatened to destroy its economic viability as a development site and a major portion of its value.”

GM’s Fruehan tells, “we’re confident we can resolve this issue,” in connection with the lawsuit against the village. The adjoining Village of Tarrytown has filed suit against the Village of Sleepy Hollow charging that the Lighthouse Landing’s project is too large.

Sleepy Hollow Mayor Philip Zegarelli, while not commenting on Roseland’s withdrawal from the project, did tell that he is using the “Goldilocks” defense in connection with the GM and Village of Tarrytown lawsuits. “Tarrytown says it’s too big, GM says it’s too small, we’re right in the middle and I think that it is just right,” he says.

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