The held the final leg of the Public Hearings on the Monday evening. Some members of the public addressed concerns—mostly on zoning changes—but others spoke about the board with nothing but admiration for the work that had gone into the Comprehensive Plan.
“Thank you to the public for coming out and for making very insightful comments,” said Trustee Dan Brakewood. “For challenging and stretching the plan and improving it, thank you.”
The Comprehensive Plan, which is now backed by the Port Chester Planning Commission, is to preserve the existing residential neighborhood character of the Village by reducing potential density. The Comprehensive Plan would accomplish this by eliminating new multi-family homes from being constructed or existing homes to be divided in certain areas.
The plan also seeks to channel future mixed-use development opportunities to the Downtown, train station and other key areas of the village to enhance the vibrancy of the central business district while relieving development pressures on the Village’s residential neighborhood.
The public hearing was closed but the window to submit written comments to the Village Manager will remain open for 10 days.
“This is not something that is legally required but it is good to make sure the public has every chance to raise any issues they might have,” said Frank Fish of BFJ Planning. “Some people listen to the public meetings and like to have time to sit, think and write a letter. It is just a courtesy to the public.”
Most of the concerns raised by members of the public during the hearing surrounded zoning changes.
The proposed zoning amendments are needed to implement the goals and vision of the village’s draft Comprehensive Plan. These amendments will work with the Plan’s policy recommendations for the future development of the Village. The core intent of the proposed zoning amendments is:
- to reduce future density increases in residential neighborhoods
- preserve existing neighborhood character
- identify areas for limited growth
- improve development predictability
- eliminate floating zones
Homeowners have previously shown concern about the zoning changes because certain areas, which currently fall under multi-family, could be rezoned into single family.
Legal multi-family homes that fall in rezoning areas will be allowed to maintain their multi-family status. This would not necessarily reduce density immediately but potential density is something the Board hopes to limit.
An amnesty program that would allow people to come to the building department and check the legality of the residences structure is in the works. Nothing has been agreed up by the Board but a proposal was made. The proposal includes a possible waiving or reducing of certain fees or penalties for working proactively with the building department.
“We are very pleased that things are moving forward and happy that, give or take a few days, we should be meeting the Mayor’s deadline of Halloween or November,” added Fish.
There was a brief update from , whose is to redevelop the site into a mixed residential and commercial complex. Previous concerns of the trustees and residents the on the Port Chester public school system. The proposed comprehensive plan would also set zoning rules governing the former hospital site.
"We want to thank the board for making the amendments to the comprehensive plan to allow the flexibility to let us move forward with our development plans,” said Tony Gioffre, White Plains attorney and Starwood representative. "We’re still working with our team and staff to bring a development proposal to the board for approval.”
Despite apparent progress, certain trustees still question Starwood's overall community contributions.