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Study: Croton Yacht Club the Wrong Site for Restaurant

Dennis Kooney, commodore of the Croton Yacht Club, points to high tide line left by Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Jessica Glenza
A view of Croton Landing Park near the Buchanan-Cortlandt-Croton 9/11 Memorial. A study by BFJ Consultants puts the best place for a restaurant just south of Croton Landing. Photo Credit: Jessica Glenza

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – A $17,000 study of the best use for the Hudson River site of the Croton Yacht Club is ... as a yacht club.

The study, commissioned by the Croton Board of Trustees, determined that the [55-year] site would not be appropriate for a restaurant, a use proposed by some community members to leverage more revenue in view of an estimated $3 million bulkhead repair.

"Knowing that there's going to be a lease, on a long-term basis, will help with membership renewals,"  Croton Mayor Leo Wiegman said. The club's current lease expires in May 2014.

The club now pays $12,500 a year to lease the village-owned property on Elliott Way. In 2011, the club paid $12,621 in school taxes and about $3,476 in other local taxes. In 2010, the 1.5-acre property was assessed at $635,989.

"This is good news for us," said Ray Clifford, a yacht club member who was present at the trustees' meeting Monday evening.

The study didn't quash a dining option entirely, however. Consultants BFJ Planning cited a restaurant as "the most viable opportunity for new revenue-generating development" along the waterfront. A proposed 105-seat restaurant would generate an estimated $1.3 million in annual sales and create up to 19 jobs.

The study found that the village could generate about $78,000 annually in new revenue on a 3,000 square foot restaurant near Croton Landing Park, if the village chose to undertake the project.

The most preferable location for a restaurant, according to BFJ Planning, would be between a small boat launch north of Croton Yacht Club and south of a small traffic circle before Croton Landing Park. It would be built on what is now green space and parkland, and would require a $750,000 capital investment by the village.

The proposal would face several hurdles, including a flood-prone location, limited parking and narrow vehicular passage between Croton Yacht Club and Croton Landing.

Because of the potential for flooding, the first floor would need to be at least nine feet above ground. That  requirement is the result of new base flood elevation levels released in January by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in this month as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

Additional parking would be needed to make the restaurant viable, either in the park or on Riverside Avenue on the other side of Route 9. A walking bridge across the highway would allow pedestrian access to Elliott Way from Riverside Avenue.

BFJ and village trustees cited Elliott Way's narrow passage between the Croton Yacht Club and Croton Landing as a concern – the road can barely accommodate two passing cars and has no sidewalks.

Whatever the fate of the restaurant proposal, the plan will likely be pushed to the back burner in the coming months as budget discussions dominate trustees' meetings.

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