Ann Gallelli: Board Reviews New Zoning for South Riverside & Croton Point Avenue Area

Ann Gallelli, Village Trustee

Dear Neighbors:

At last Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting, a Public Hearing was opened to consider two Local Laws that would amend existing Village Zoning laws. The Village Board has been studying these proposed zoning changes for some time and has engaged AKRF Consultants to study the impacts and the possible outcomes if these laws are implemented.  AKRF representative Aaron Werner presented the study results at the Public Hearing.  

It is important to remember that this is the beginning of a lengthy process in which the Board is required to perform complete SEQRA and Consistency reviews.  Public input is an important part of this process.  To that end, this week’s Public Hearing was not closed and will remain open for more comments in the future.  Beyond that, it is important to understand that these are zoning amendments, i.e. changes to what might be legally built, and not actual projects.  

Here are the highlights of the presentation.  Proposed Local Law #11 would expand the area of the currently existing Harmon South Riverside Gateway (HSRG) area to include 4 parcels on Wayne and Clinton Streets as well as the lot on the southeast side of South Riverside, the location of ET Equipment.  (The latter site Is proposed to have its current split zoning of C-2 and RA-5 combined to all C-2).  Proposed Local Law #12 would affect only the 3 parcels on Croton Point Avenue, west of Route 9 which are located in the Light Industrial (LI) zoning district to allow Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Zoning.

Proposed Local Laws 11 and 12 would allow, by Special Permit, multi-family residential or mixed-use (residential above commercial) as a Special Permit Use in their respective districts.  While Mixed-Use development is already allowed by Special Permit in the HSRG area, this would also be extended to the TOD designated area. Both proposed local laws would allow Multi-family residential use as well by Special Permit.    The height and FAR restrictions in the HSRG zone would remain at 35’ and 0.8 FAR.  The new proposed TOD area in the LI district would permit 5 stories and a 1.2 FAR (Floor Area Ratio).

AKRF was asked by the Village to analyze the potential outcomes of these zoning changes if they were fully implemented within their respective zoning districts. They have provided data on the maximum buildout scenario where all existing uses would be replaced by Mixed use or Multi-family developments (an unlikely scenario). The analyses included total potential buildout data as well as schools, traffic and visual impacts.  All this data is available on the Village website under Projects and Initiatives.

While these proposed zoning changes may appear to be substantial, past experience indicates that buildout as a result of zoning changes  tend to be very gradual, usually dependent upon decisions by individual property owners.  As an example, in the 10-plus years since the Harmon Gateway Zoning was implemented which, for the first time, allowed mixed-uses (residential above commercial) in an area with 45 eligible parcels, only one mixed-use building has been erected with 8 residential units at 379 South Riverside.

The Board expects this to be a thorough process and welcomes public input.  Opening a public hearing on the proposed changes in the early stage, as occurred this week, is a way to ensure maximum knowledge and understanding of the proposed zoning changes.  It is hoped that residents will keep raising the questions that need to be answered as the proposals move ahead.  

Ann Gallelli, Deputy Mayor

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