To the Editor,
As we start the New Year, many people have noticed that long-awaited outcomes from the Harmon Gateway re-zoning of 2012 are starting to occur. The passage of this zoning amendment was the outcome of a group of residents who came together to address economic development in the Harmon Commercial area. As an outgrowth of their report, and after three years and $479,000 of taxpayer-financed litigation caused by a small group of naysayers, the zoning for the Harmon Gateway was successfully amended to permit the kinds of development we are currently seeing.
In general terms, the amended zoning allows the Village Board to issue a special permit for Mixed Use buildings with three stories, but no higher than existing height restrictions of 35 feet, at least 50% of first floor being commercial, and specified parking requirements for residential and commercial components.
In 2015, the first of these permits was authorized (5-0) by the then Village Board for 370 South Riverside (also known as Dairy Mart) for 6 residential units while keeping the current commercial establishment intact. While it was approved first, a second mixed use building, approved by the current Village Board (5-0) in March 2016, at 379 South Riverside (called Riverside Apartments, formerly Nappy’s), began construction earlier this year. The latter mixed use building calls for 11 residential units along with first floor commercial. Both these developments are similar to the existing 3-story buildings on the south side of South Riverside but the new ones have met parking requirements which the existing ones did not have to meet.
Both these developments will enhance the commercial viability of the Harmon Commercial Gateway area of the village while providing much-needed housing for a range of people, seniors, empty nesters, young singles and couples, seeking smaller living spaces close to shopping and the railroad.
The completion of these two mixed use buildings will provide us with insights for future proposals in this area as well as incentives for small business development. Two small steps for a prosperous new year for the Village.