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Rye Brook Ice Rink Proposal Raises Concerns for Greenwich

A proposal for a 4-rink facility on King Street in Rye Brook has Greenwich officials raising concerns about traffic, storm water runoff.

 

The Village of Rye Brook has scheduled a public hearing for later this month on a proposal to build a four-rink ice sports facility in the Reckson Park office complex on King Street.

Reckson LLC is working with QMC Group is proposing a , on the Greenwich border at 1100 King St. in Rye Brook. The office complex is just south of St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church located at the corner of King Street at Sherwood Avenue.

The facility would and open seating for 320, and 244 parking spaces. The developer hopes to have the facility built by Sept. 1, 2013, in time for next year’s hockey season.

Despite concerns about increased traffic and storm water runoff raised by Greenwich and Rye officials, the Rye Brook Board of Trustees voted on Jan. 8 to schedule a public hearing on the proposal for Jan. 22. The village's planning board already approved the project in a 4-2 vote on Jan. 3.

During the Jan. 8 meeting, William S. Null, the lawyer representing Reckson, gave a brief overview of several steps they have taken to address some of the Rye Brook planning board’s questions, and written concerns submitted by Greenwich Town and Rye City officials.

Reckson expects it will answer local officials' concerns, discuss additional drainage and other studies, and present computer simulations and information from meetings with representatives of the Doral Greens and Bellefaire subdivisions which abut the Reckson property, Null said. That information should be gathered by the Jan. 22 hearing, Null said.

During its Jan. 10 Board of Selectmen meeting, Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei said the planned facility will have "several potential impacts" upon Greenwich.

"There is a lot to think about. One of things they need to assess is hours of operation and this thing will run well past midnight," Tesei said. He said that the developer presented a traffic study conducted during daytime hours mid-week and did not include traffic generated from "several schools and Westchester Airport."

King Street is a major north-south thoroughfare bisecting Greenwich and Westchester County, and the only access to Brunswick School, Convent of the Sacred Heart school and the airport. He said the road is considered a "bi-state highway" and traffic studies also may be subject to review by both the Connecticut and New York State Departments of Transportation.

Tesei also said that the project may be interpreted as "an intensifaction of use and there’s potential environmental impact with the manufacturing of ice." However, at Tuesday night's meeting, Null said there wouldn't be any impact from the creation of ice in the facility. The ice is pure water and has no additives, Null added.

Tesei also said that at the Jan. 8 meeting questions were raised on whether the proposed use "is applicable under the town of Rye Brook planning regulations." Originally, Rye Brook approved the construction of more office buildings—a plan that has since been abandoned.

One point that needs investigation, Tesei said, is the developer's assertion that  traffic only will enter King Street from the south side of the road. "The developers say traffic will only enter from New York," Tesei said at the selectmen's meeting Thursday. "We have to look at that."  He also questioned the financial viability of the project given the competition from Cheslea Piers  and Twin Rinks ice rink facilities in Stamford. 

Greenwich also asked Reckson to conduct more studies into similar ice rinks in the country, which during the Jan. 8 meeting, Null said they were working on.

"The question was asked whether it would be used by NHL teams for practice," Tesei added. "They said no."

When asked about Greenwich’s concerns on storm water runoff , Null said it wouldn't be directed towards the Byram River.

The City of Rye was concerned about the impacts the facility could have on the Blind Brook and its watershed.

“Both of our communities have struggled with the impact of flooding to homes, businesses and community facilities along Blind Brook,” Rye City Manager Scott Pickup wrote in a letter to the Board of Trustees. Pickup stated the proposal will increase the impervious area in the watershed and asked the board to consider the potential impacts the project may have on flood elevations.

Null said there would be less impervious surface with the new facility than there would have been with a previously approved 280,000 square foot office building that was never built. He said there existing drainage systems are large enough to handle the runoff from the increased impervious surfaces.  

The president of the Doral Green Homeowner’s Association asked about chemicals used in the building cooling system and noted Reckson has been a good neighbor for many years. Bob Richardson, of the Greenwich King-Merritt Association asked Rye Brook Mayor Joan Feinstein to delay the public hearing so the public would have time to review new information from Reckson.

Feinstein said she felt it is important that all have time to review additional information, but that opening the public hearing on Jan. 22 will help identify any additional concerns that may need to be considered. The public hearing will remain open until all questions and concerns have been resolved, Feinstein said.

Tesei predicted, "They will have challenges from within their own population."

The public will be allowed to comment about the proposed four-rink ice facility  at the Jan. 22 public hearing scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at 938 King St., Rye Brook, NY.

Mirella Hajjar January 12, 2013 at 02:28 AM
grow up Greenwich and stop whining!!!!!!
Jude Allison Revoli January 12, 2013 at 10:29 AM
It sounds to me like poor planning based a lot on assumption. The board assumes there will be no flooding, assumes the traffic directory will flow rightly, and assumes this is just another project. But change is hard. From day one, the unknown has at once been exciting and terrifying. I've learned to welcome change, as it usually means I have grown into another phase, another era, one which offers a different perspective from which to view the world. I personally would be concerned that such frivolity in a small space as described could increase the possibility for unwanted behavior such as from people who have no stake in either Greenwich or the facility. It's kind of like renting out your home. What doesn't belong generally becomes a maladjust and has no qualms about showing his true colors, I.e., apathy borne of jealousy and resentment. That's where the trouble begins, but not where it ends.
Karen January 12, 2013 at 06:37 PM
@ Mirella, clearly you live far enough away from this proposed Ice Rink... to not be impacted!! its not whining on the part of Greenwich, its asking for a dialogue. Years ago when they wanted to add another office building on this same property, it was "strongly suggested" that they add an entrance on the other side, and not King St side, but NO, residents of NY cried foul... so why is it OK to clog up the roads that meander through Greenwich but not NY??
Frank Bevalaqua January 12, 2013 at 10:33 PM
The irony is Greenwich has it's own obsolete town rink (Hamill) which is badly in need of renovation and expansion. There have been several proposals to expand Hamill to 2 sheets of ice, committees formed, feasability studies, etc.. However, the town of Greenwich has done nothing but allow the rink to decay. As a result, most of the hockey players who live in Greenwich are forced to skate in places like Stamford, South Norwalk or even Brewster - creating even more traffic and driving for Greenwich residents. Now that Rye wants to build new rinks, there are people from Greenwich who want to stick their nose into that project too. Just think, if Rye builds four sheets of ice, there will be no need for a rink in Greenwich, and we can just bulldoze Hamill. Then maybe the haters will be happy.
KeepRyeBrook10573 January 17, 2013 at 04:27 PM
“While there might be a regional market for a Tri-state ice arena, it is a use which should not be placed in a quiet corporate park surrounded and proximate to substantial residential neighborhoods,” wrote Parish in his letter to the village. “It belongs in a downtown area, in a shopping plaza, in a commercial strip area, in an amusement park, but not at this site.”
KeepRyeBrook10573 January 17, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Most people do not realize the gravity of the proposed addition of the rinks in Rye Brook and what effect it will have on our town, our property and our quality of life. Foremost, the citizens of Rye Brook need to understand that what is being proposed is not merely a “rink.” This is a four rink arena with one rink alone having a capacity of 1600 persons. This is not a rink; this is an arena. While I do understand the need for tax revenue for the school and especially in light of the possible tax issues coming up for the town, the people who bought homes, who pay taxes and who live here should not be the victims nor "sold out" for a one-time hit to alleviate the tough issues. The residents of Rye Brook should not be the pawns sacrificed. We purposefully moved to a small, quiet town to avoid the exact type of life that this facility will create.
KeepRyeBrook10573 January 17, 2013 at 04:29 PM
These types of rinks have massive traffic, which I have experienced first-hand. The quality of life surrounding these compounds is something that I want NO part of for my life and family. There are 1600 seats in one rink alone, and 300 in each of the three others, which accumulates to over 2500 seats for fans. With the addition of these rinks, there will most likely be an additional bar and restaurant added as well. With the possibility of four high school games a night, there will be a mass influx of visitors to our town from the players to their parents and fans, as well as all the necessary buses and increased car traffic this will inevitably cause.
KeepRyeBrook10573 January 17, 2013 at 04:29 PM
This will be the biggest arena, and thus the most desired to play in. This is not a rink for families and their children to go skating in. This is an arena meant for high levels of competition. These types of buildings are usually built in industrial and commercial areas, where there is ample space for additional traffic and an increase of people on game nights. Reckson, however, while commercial plot it is in a residential area, and thus is not suited to accommodate the proposed arena. The flow of traffic from the Hutch and 684 will make King Street a nightmare. We would also need to bolster our police force and additional public services to accommodate the arena, which will also increase our taxes as citizens of the town. It is apparent that the people proposing this do not care about the community or our quality of life
Randy Blair January 18, 2013 at 01:39 AM
This well flat out be great. Congrats to the developer for finding a real need and trying to fill it. Everyone should stop whining
CTNico January 22, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Agree. Greenwich residents seem to think the private sector is a better solution that investing in public infrastructure. If that is your view, then the very least you can do is not impede private progress because you are worried about 50 more cars on a road.

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