Final Port Chester Comprehensive Plan Hearing: Zoning Concerns

The public hearing was closed but the window to submit written comments to the Village Manager will remain open for 10 days.

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.

Brade August 11, 2012 at 04:58 PM
What Trustee Didden chooses to ignore (Because he can't be that dense) is the link between community outreach (Yes undocumented immigrants are in our community like it or not) and code enforcement. Clearing illegal and substandard housing has been a challenge on multiple fronts. Constitutionally, gaining entry to these houses is largely a voluntary affair. The court can compel introspection but we all know the ineffectual village court has long been a bottleneck for building code cases. Depending on who you know, your case can be held up for years, fines dropped, adjournments guaranteed month after month. (while the land lord who is pulling those strings continues collecting absurdly high rents) Reaching out to this immigrant community is a good way to fight the system of substandard housing abuse and neglect because they are the ones largely being victimized by this system. Informing tenants of housing standards and laws (even if they are illegal tenants) without the threat of deportation, which the village isn't capable of doing anyways, can encourage greater access to those eyesores and death traps that we all know plague our village. If the landlord is under no requirement to let our officers in then "deputizing" their tenants to open those doors is the next best step.
Brade August 11, 2012 at 05:18 PM
*inspection not introspection
Bart Didden August 11, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Brade, you must think that undocumented people are stupid, they are not, they are very smart. They are here because they can earn a living, maintain a place to sleep and send a majority of whats left to their family who are many times in another country. I give them a lot of credit for taking the chances, and doing what they need to do to survive. Thinking that you can "deputizing" them will do anything is just nuts. They know they need to stay under the radar, and they know that if they report unsafe conditions that will just remove one more potential place to stay and make the demand even higher, along with the rents. Trust me, they are not reporting anything! They know what they are doing and we are just kidding ourselves to think that they are going to help the government that is unwilling to help them. Keep supporting outreach with our out of touch Mayor, we can get more of what you railed about, nothing, nada, zero, zilch. Just more of the same and no progress.
George Datino August 11, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Let us be clear. Illegal/Undocumented Immigrants are a contributing factor to the oveercrowding issue in our community however the real culprits, criminals, parasites who have caused this problem are the greedy property owners (who I am assuming are legally in this country because they own property) who have made a concious decision to build illegal apartments and overcrowd legal space all in the name of money. Not every single person living in an illegal apartment or overcrowded situation is in this country illegally. I am not saying that people who are not in this country legally are innocent but even though there is some overlap, these are two seperate issues. For me, the blame for overcrowding falls more squarely on the greedy and corrupt.
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