The recent article on The Osborn zoning amendment does not mention that in three- and-a-half years of publicly-noticed process, the City Council held nine public hearings. The Council extended the area around The Osborn that would receive notice of the proceedings and made sure that signs were posted on The Osborn’s property indicating that changes were under review. All changes sought by The Osborn were made fully available to Rye citizens, including Osborn neighbors. Most, if not all, Council members met repeatedly with neighbors in person or on the phone to discuss the Osborn request.
Throughout the hearings, the City Council heard all public concerns, though many were concerns that will be more appropriately addressed by the Planning Commission as part of the site planning process that will be required of The Osborn, or by the Board of Architectural Review. Over the years of Council public discussion, prominent issues were repeatedly reviewed, such as flooding (state law and Planning Commission supervision will apply as The Osborn augments its drainage basin system), traffic (two traffic studies received and an Osborn commitment to fund another report on Osborn School’s traffic issue and cooperate in resolution) and rock chipping (The Osborn stated its intent to build close to grade to minimize rock removal and to plan construction to minimize disruption to its own 400 residents as well as neighbors).
As a part of this three-and-a-half-year process, and as a result of discussions among The Osborn, its neighbors and the City Council, The Osborn agreed to modify its request, including by reducing FAR and building heights, and increasing setbacks.
By the City Council meeting on June 15, after nine public hearings and numerous other discussions with The Osborn and it neighbors, the majority of the City Council believed a thorough, extended and fruitful discussion was completed and ready for decision. A vote was held with a 6-1 required super-majority of the Council approving the zoning amendment.
We have learned once again that the zoning process, that deliberately does not call for submission of a specific building plan, is not well understood. We hope that Osborn neighbors, working with our land-use boards as The Osborn develops its plans, will find the continuing process responsive.
Throughout this zoning amendment process, the City Council has been committed to thoughtful deliberation, transparency, public input, and rational decision making. Though there may be differences of opinion and in the conclusions drawn, we remain dedicated to trying our best to do what is best for Rye.
- Rye City Council Members William Henderson, Emily Hurd, Carolina Johnson, Julie Souza, Ben Stacks, and Mayor Josh Cohn.