Editor's Note: This letter was sent in by Rye resident Janet Hawkins.
Dear friends and neighbors in Rye,
Your voices are needed at an upcoming Planning Commission meeting this Tuesday, June 5, at 7 p.m. at City Hall. Plans are afoot to change the zoning on the property at 120 Old Post Road (the old Mobius building) at the corner of Old Post Road and Playland Access Drive. The zoning change would allow a 150-room Hampton Inn to be developed there. It is important to note that if the zoning is changed and the hotel goes in and does not succeed, it would leave our city vulnerable to a host of other “residential projects” (i.e., Westchester County housing initiatives) that the county could deem appropriate because of this potential zoning change.
At 100 percent occupancy, the proposed hotel would provide additional tax income to the City of Rye of approximately $180k (in reality, the sum could be much less). Although this may seem desirable, please remember that the costs to the community would be high as well. Our emergency services would be on call seven days a week around the clock, as opposed to M-F, 9 to 5.
A vast majority of us chose to make Rye our home because it is a fantastic place to raise a family: award-winning schools, a lovely downtown, a beautiful coastline, and a safe, family-focused community. There is nothing like Rye, NY, on a Saturday morning when children are occupying fields all over town. Whether they’re high school, middle school, or elementary school students, children in Rye feel comfortable walking around--to school, to town, home from practice or from a friend’s house. Putting a hotel at 120 Old Post Road would change how the city’s residents view safety. A transient population not vested in the community would be converging on Rye. We would be putting a 150-room hotel a quarter mile from 1,000 high school students, 800 middle school students, and 600-plus elementary school students, exposing thousands of Rye kids to people spending time in our city only because they got a great room rate.
In recent years, there’s been a huge push to “Go Green” in Rye. If the zoning for 120 Old Post Road changes, the students who walk past the site on their way to school--many independent of adults--will be walking past a hotel, with all the uncertainty that entails. If enough older kids were to get together and pool their money, they themselves could rent a room in the hotel as a place to hang out. If you’ve followed the police blotter, you’re aware of the issues that continually come up at the Marriott Courtyard; imagine all that a short walk away from the middle and high school campus.
When you reflect on the Rye community and all it has to offer, and on what draws people to pay a premium to live in this town, it’s hard to understand why a zoning change for a Hampton Inn is being considered. The tax revenue from a hotel is not going to make a big impact on Rye’s financial outlook. In fact, the same amount of revenue could be had from the property taxes on three significant new houses in this town. We are a creative group of residents. There must be a better use for the Old Post Road property, one that would both fit the community and be profitable. The Planning Commission is open to our ideas.
We wanted to make you aware of this potential and very significant zoning change. After the June 5 meeting, the Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council as to whether or not they support the change. A change in zoning will most likely mean a Hampton Inn.
If you have an interest in this issue, kindly make time to come and listen or voice your own opinion, next Tuesday, June 5, at 7 p.m. at City Hall. It is important that the Planning Commission know the concerns of Rye residents. Please spread the word to others who are concerned as well via email. Let’s see if we can get a fantastic turn out on Tuesday evening.
Rye Residents Concerned About a Hotel at 120 Old Post Road