The Examiner

Armonk Developer Ponders All Affordable Units for Lumberyard Site

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Developer Michael Fareri
Developer Michael Fareri

The owner of the former lumberyard property in Armonk is mulling another change in plans for the site.

Developer Michael Fareri is considering an alternate proposal to convert the already approved 36-unit condominium proposal with six affordable units to a building that would contain as many as 48 affordable residences.

Fareri said last week that he has had to consider the change because the North Castle Town Board has thus far refused to permit him to relocate the six affordable units to another property he owns at 37-41 Maple Ave. near Amonk Square. He has argued that Maple Avenue is preferable because it would move the affordable apartments to a more desirable location in the heart of downtown and help ease the downtown parking shortage due to the less stringent residential parking requirements.

The matter is currently scheduled to be discussed before the planning board at its next meeting on Feb. 29.

Fareri said he is also pressing to get on the Feb. 24 town board agenda in hopes of convincing officials that the relocation plan is the best way to go.

“The easy solution is to allow me to move the six units to a different location,” Fareri said.

To make the move, however, he would need a zoning text amendment granted by the town board because of restrictions on the percentage of residential space in a commercial zone.

In addition to the benefits to the town, the developer said it is more economically feasible for him if he didn’t mix the different types of units because of the large disparity in price between the market-rate and affordable units.

Fareri said he would be able to ask for 48 units because he would reduce the size of each apartment to maintain the approved floor area ratio.

Director of Planning Adam Kaufman said any plan to switch to affordable units would only need planning board approval.

Supervisor Michael Schiliro said he was puzzled by Fareri’s latest move with the former lumberyard parcel, one of a series of changes he’s made to his applications at the site at 162-170 Bedford Rd. since he was granted an initial approval about eight years ago.

He said that it appears as though Fareri is trying to use the leverage of changing his plans from a condominium project to all affordable housing as a threat to officials, which Schiliro doesn’t see.

“People have approached me and said we need more affordable housing in our town,” Schiliro said. “I don’t view it as a negative.”

This is the second time in less than six months Fareri would appear before the town board in hopes of receiving permission to relocate the affordable units. In September, he was rebuffed by council members who said the density bonus that Fareri had received was in large part due to the market-rate and affordable apartments being in the same location.

However, Fareri responded that there have been five other instances where the town has permitted an off-site location for middle income or affordable units, including Armonk Square. Brynwood Golf & Country Club is also being allowed to find an alternate location for its seven affordable units.








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