Brian Pugh: Zoning Update Study-is Community Driven and Locally Focused

brian-pugh-group-croppedTo The Editor:

The current zoning update study for the North Riverside Avenue area is intended to put policy meat on the figurative bones of that Comprehensive Plan (a strategic guide for land use actions of our community that was adopted on a bipartisan basis in 2017) and to help to meet the needs discussed by residents in 2018’s housing charette. Both the Comprehensive Plan and the housing charette identified creating new housing options and expanding our tax base as important issues.

The zoning update study is a community driven and locally focused effort to achieve these goals.

Currently, our consultant BFJ is helping the Village to assess residents’ desires, market conditions and how the current zoning in the areas described above fits with the needs of residents and the market. No specific plan has been proposed. I encourage all residents to participate in the survey for this study on the Village’s web site:

Residents at March’s public Zoning Study Workshop raised questions about parking, impacts on infrastructure, effects on neighboring properties (especially in regards to views) and affordability. These are legitimate concerns and ones that I believe the process will address.

Sadly but not surprisingly, the usual suspects attempt to demagogue the issue by seeking to scare residents with the boogeyman of “affordable housing” and “urbanization”. I hope residents will ignore these dog whistles and remember that we already have affordable housing developments and rental housing in our community and which is home to Village workers and volunteers, seniors and families.

While homeownership is the American Dream it’s not the right fit for everyone all the time–more than a quarter of the current residents of the Village are tenants. Some live in the Bari Manor complex (rent stabilized since 2003), others live in the many 2-4 family homes that dot our community.

We’ve been home to affordable housing develops organized by the Croton Housing Network located at Bank Street, Mt. Airy Woods, West Wind, Brook Street, Discovery Cove and Symphony Knoll for decades. They are home to family, friends and neighbors–people that might work at the Montrose VA or be retirees or people living with disabilities surviving on a fixed income.

When people inveigh against affordable housing and apartments they are inveighing against our current and future neighbors.

Some 10 years ago, the Village had a similar debate in regards to Harmon Rezoning–the outcome are the eagerly anticipated new mixed use buildings on Riverside Avenue that will soon be home to local businesses and residents. I encourage those concerned by the Zoning Study to reserve judgment, trust the process and remember our recent experiences as a Village before making up their minds on this issue.


Brian Pugh, Mayor

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