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August 8: Rhinecliff Day

on Thu, 07/23/2015 - 21:12

The Rhinecliff Volunteer Fire Company and Rescue Squad has big plans set for Saturday, August 8 to commemorate 100 years of service to the Hamlet of Rhinecliff and its Fire Protective District. The fire company looks forward to sharing a full day of free family fun & outdoor festivities for the hamlet and surrounding communities.  (See the flyer here.)

Festivities will begin at 11am at the center of the Hamlet at the Memorial where a Hamlet photo will be taken to mark the event and the importance of all the community members within it. Kids of all ages are encouraged to decorate their bicycles and scooters and join a parade led by Rhinecliff Fire Equipment. The procession will go from the monument to Firemens’ Field located on Valley Way Road where the remainder of the day’s activities will take place. A large tent complete with a dance floor with be set-up for people to relax out of the sun (or rain).

A variety of children’s games and events suited to different age groups will take place between 11:30 – 2pm. Games activities include both individual and team games, a bounce house and face painting. A Kids Fire Olympics will take place with inventive firematic games such as a water bucket brigade, obstacle course, and tug-o-war, to mention a few.

As the sun heats things up from 2pm – 4pm, demos and music will take place. There will be $1 burgers and franks served throughout the day with affordable beverages available until 6pm. A pie baking contest will supplement a plethora of homemade pies made by the Rhinecliff Ladies Auxiliary. Pie contestants should register their entries at the tent by 6:15pm. Judging will commence at 6:30pm after which everyone will be invited to partake.

Beginning at 4pm, a skateboard competition will take place for teenagers presented by The Boardroom of Red Hook. For information, visit

The day will conclude with a contra-square dance led by caller, Eric Hollman, known for zesty, “spaghetti contras”, as

Town Board to vote on Master Plan for Rhinecliff Dock

on Tue, 04/07/2015 - 14:25

On Monday, April 13, the Rhinebeck Town Board will vote on a resolution approving the Waterfront Revitalization Master Plan for the Rhinecliff Landing.  The meeting starts at 6:45.

The master plan was prepared for the Rhinecliff Waterfront Advisory Committee by the LRC Group in Poughkeepsie. It was made possible by a grant of $10,000 from the Town of Rhinebeck and a $20,000 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  LRC began work on the plan in January 2014 and completed it in October 2014.  

The master plan has already been reviewed and approved by the Rhinebeck Planning Board and Conservation Advisory Board (CAB).  The Town Board has also been reviewing the plan for the past few months, and on Monday it will vote to give its approval. 

The resolution indicates that the CAB did express concerns about some of the potential future uses described in the plan, but these concerns aren’t specifically identified.  

The resolution states that in giving approval, it is the understanding of the Town Board that future grant applications and projects implementing any part of the plan will be subject to a full environmental and consistency review, as well as Town Board approval, before any action is taken.  This passage in the resolution is apparently a response to concerns expressed by Town Board member Joseph Gelb at a meeting in February.  Mr. Gelb wanted to make sure that even if it approved the master plan, the Board would still need to approve each component as the project moves forward.  (There's more on that meeting in this article in the Daily Freeman, and there's more about the plan here.)

The main goal of the Waterfront Revitalization Master Plan is to increase use of the Rhinecliff dock.

Nw York Times looks at icebreaking on the Hudson

on Tue, 02/24/2015 - 21:09

NBC aboard Coast Guard Cutter breaking ice off Rhinecliff

on Tue, 02/24/2015 - 20:48

Rhinebeck Zoning and Planning Boards approve new Blackwood proposal

on Mon, 02/09/2015 - 10:51

The Rhinebeck Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board have both unanimously approved the new plans for an addition and other modifications to Carolyn Blackwood's house at 64 Grinnell Street.  

The ZBA had denied Mrs. Blackwood’s initial request for an area variance in August.  She then withdrew the application from the Planning Board and filed a new application and a new design with both boards in November.  

The new proposal, as Mrs. Blackwood's attorney, George Rodenhausen, told the ZBA in a presentation back in November, is totally redesigned.  (The site plans are here, and the minutes to the ZBA meeting are here.)

In the original plan, the house was 4,096 square feet — much more than twice the Rhinecliff average of 1,640 SF, and significantly more than the 2,300 SF permitted by Rhinecliff zoning.  The size was one of the main issues cited by the ZBA when it denied the first request for an area variance.

The new design calls for a house with a floor area of 2,962 square feet.  That is still about 660 square feet more than permitted by zoning, so the applicant again requested an area variance from the ZBA.  This time around, the ZBA granted the variance with a unanimous vote on December 17. 

As noted in the ZBA's resolution, "unlike the last application where there were many opposed to the prior application, there was no person opposing the application outright."  Robert Heywood voiced concerns about the possible effect on the views from his parents' house to the south, but everyone else who spoke at the meeting expressed support.  

Another of the main changes from the first plan is that there is no longer a long, tall hedge running from the house to the garage.  The hedge would have blocked a view of the river from Grinnell Street, and it was one of the main points of controversy about the original plan. 

As with the first proposal, the new design involves removing a 1997 addition to the nineteenth-century house and restoring the exterior with new siding and traditional windows. The applicant has requested and received a demolition permit in order to do this work, which will also require jacking the house up while work is done on the foundation and basement area.

Like the old plan, the new plan features an addition located a slight distance from the original house, but with a difference.  In the first plan, the original house and addition appeared as independent structures, and they were connected by a hallway in the lower level (largely below street grade).  In the new plan, the house and addition are connected by an above-ground hallway.  

The goal, explained Mr. Rodenhausen, is to fit in with the traditional Rhinecliff grouping pattern, with a two-story structure connected to a one-story structure.  Connecting the two structures this way, rather than through the lower level, is also more efficient in terms of the space needed for circulation.  That's one of the reasons the new plan involves less square footage than the original proposal.

The side of the hallway facing the street will be be made of etched glass. The new addition will have stone-clad walls on the south and east sides, and a gabled roof, not the flat roof of the original design.  The front entrance will be visible from the street, as opposed to the first design, which hid the entrance behind a hedge as part of the "hidden pavilion in a garden" scheme.

The new design thus addresses nearly all of the issues that had been raised concerning the first proposal with respect to size, design, and relationship to the neighborhood.  In its letter to the ZBA, Hudson River Heritage reviewed these changes and then stated the following: "Given all of these modifications, as well as the demonstrated sensitivity both to the concerns of Ms. Blackwood's fellow hamlet residents and to the spirit and intent of the standards described in the town comprehensive plan and zoning law, Hudson River Heritage is pleased to endorse the current applications."