The Town of Harrison/Village of Harrison and the County Executive’s Office released a joint press release Thursday saying that the luxury, transit-oriented Avalon development at the Metro-North train station in Harrison will now set aside 5 percent of its 143 units at below market “affordable” rents.
The media release said the affordable units were made possible through cooperative actions by the MTA, which owns the property, the developer, AvalonBay Communities, the Town of Harrison and Westchester County, which found a formula to make seven units affordable that kept the project economically feasible for the builder, while also keeping the overall density and number of units at levels that the Town Board felt was appropriate for the community. Financing from the County is also expected.
“This is an example of how housing gets built and home rule and local zoning is still respected,” said County Executive Robert P. Astorino in the media statement. “I want to thank all the parties for their cooperation in moving the project forward.”
While other municipalities, notably White Plains, have affordable housing laws on their books requiring developers of market rate housing to set aside a percentage of affordable units, the Harrison announcement is specific to this one development at this time.
The county will provide up to $1 million in subsidies for seven apartments and in exchange the county expects those units to be counted toward Westchester’s obligation to develop 750 units of affordable housing under a 2009 settlement reached between the federal government and the County. Harrison is one of 31 communities, part of a former consortium of communities that applied for federal money through HUD (Housing and Urban Development), designated for the settlement’s affordable units.
The MTA’s involvement in the project includes giving its 3.3 acre site to AvalonBay in exchange for 475 commuter spaces in a parking garage to be built by AvalonBay.
Occupants of the affordable units will be determined through a lottery among qualified applicants whose income does not exceed 60 percent of Westchester’s median income.