Developer to Opt for 48 Affordable Units at Armonk’s Old Lumberyard

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Developer Michael Fareri is now choosing to have an all-affordable housing project at the old lumberyard on Bedford Road
Developer Michael Fareri is now choosing to have an all-affordable housing project at the old lumberyard on Bedford Road.

The owner of the old lumberyard property in Armonk is prepared to ditch his plan to build 30 market-rate condominiums at the site and will pursue an application for 48 affordable units.

Local developer Michael Fareri, who received approvals to construct a 36-unit building at the Bedford Road property, had most recently been trying to move the six affordable units to help redevelop his property at 37-41 Maple Ave. He had also argued that it was difficult to erect a building with affordable units interspersed with market-rate condos.

Attempts to reach Fareri late last week and on Monday were unsuccessful.

North Castle officials made the announcement of the change at the June 22 town board meeting. Fareri is tentatively scheduled to appear at the July 11 planning board meeting, said Town Attorney Roland Baroni.

It appears he will sell the property to Westchester County, he said. He could also retain the land and build the units himself.

Supervisor Michael Schiliro said the board made the announcement to keep the public informed. He said the town has no issues with Fareri switching gears and providing the town with more affordable units. There are 25 affordable residents currently under construction or scheduled to be built in town.

Since the affordable units are smaller, there can be additional apartments in a building of the same size. The number of residences are determined by floor-area ratio.

“We have provided the applicant, Michael Fareri, with all the tools he needs to build what he said he was going to build,” Schiliro said.

“In this particular case, he’s making the decision to move this project forward with the affordable project and not the one that he had last proposed to us and had given him the support to move forward on.”

Councilwoman Barbara DiGiacinto stressed that Fareri made the decision to switch proposals on his own.

“We never denied the applicant the right to move those six affordable units from the lumberyard property to Maple Avenue,” she said.

There has been recurring friction between Fareri and the town government in recent years. He has often been critical of the town board for putting unnecessary restrictions and conditions on his proposals.

In February, when officials were originally reluctant to go along with moving the affordable units to Maple Avenue, he first raised the possibility of opting for a 48-unit.

At last week’s meeting there was concern raised about density, how many schoolchildren would be generated by the project and the possibility of a strain on services.

Resident Norma Hill said she had no problem with more affordable housing near downtown Armonk but was concerned that 48 units would be too much for the area to handle.

“This is a pretty scary situation should it come to pass,” Hill said, “and something we need to be concerned about is the impact on the town itself and the number of services.”

During the discussion of Fareri’s latest decision, Councilman Jose Berra made sure to compliment Swiss Re for working with the town to craft an amendment allowing for ground-mounted solar panels on commercial properties. It could also be viewed as a swipe at Fareri.

It’s nice to be able to deal with people when you can take them at face value, and I want to commend Swiss Re for that,” Berra said. “They’re very forthright to deal with.”

 

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