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The North Castle Town Board postponed scheduling a pair of public hearings last week for the proposed 34-unit residential project now called The Gateway on the site of the former Mariani Gardens in Armonk.
One hearing, which the board was to consider for Feb. 28, would gauge public reaction toward amending the deed to permit patios and privacy walls for units built in about an acre of land that had been restricted from development. The other hearing will address the establishment of an easement to build a stormwater treatment basin and install plantings at the site at 45 Bedford Rd.
Supervisor Joseph Rende said last week that the applicant still needed to resolve issues before the town’s Conservation Board and the Architectural Review Board so the Town Board thought it was best to hold off on scheduling its hearings.
Despite the postponement of the vote for the hearings before the Town Board last Wednesday, representatives for The Gateway were on hand two nights earlier before the Planning Board for a hearing on site plan review.
Concerns were raised by a few speakers regarding the widening of the intersection of Bedford Road and Maple Avenue to better accommodate traffic during peak hours if the project is completed and whether the town should be entertaining the matter at all because the property is in arrears with taxes by more than $1 million.
Rev. Garrett Mettler, the rector for St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church located directly across Bedford Road, said the congregation would welcome its new neighbor. However, Mettler pointed out that the proposed widening of the intersection could come perilously near the closest graves in the church’s cemetery. The closest headstone is currently 12 feet from the road, he said.
“We’re talking about encroaching on the grave of someone who’s been there and that is not the only one,” Mettler said. “So, it is an existing cemetery where people are buried.”
Armonk resident Ed Woodyard read a statement from Sharon Tomback, a resident of Banksville, who objected to the town entertaining the application while $1,136,553.53 in school, town and county property taxes are owed those jurisdictions since 2019.
She also expressed objections to how the 4.1-acre parcel has enjoyed the most lenient zoning in the town. Tomback called for officials to oppose a recommending relaxation of the deed restriction and establishing an easement.
“I remain concerned regarding the preferential treatment our community has afforded the property at 45 Bedford Rd. during the past 17 years,” Tomback said. “I remain extremely concerned for the negative impacts – water, sewage, drainage, traffic, etc. – that the proposed development of 34 housing units and 68 bedrooms will force on both the Bedford Road Historic District and the North Castle Landmarks Preservation District #1.”
Also discussed at the Jan. 22 Planning Board meeting was erecting a wall for a portion of the frontage on both Bedford Road and Maple Avenue and for a guiderail to be included with the wall.
Attorney Anthony Veneziano, who represents the applicant also said a property owner on Bedford Road is considering granting permission to allow for a crosswalk in front of the development across the street to the opening of Armonk Square.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/