The Examiner

Brynwood Sumbits 98-Unit Luxury Community for Armonk

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An artists’ rendering of Brynwood’s plans.

Revised plans calling for less than 100 luxury residences at Brynwood Golf & Country Club in Armonk have been formally submitted to the Town of North Castle but questions regarding density and environmental concerns persist.

The latest drawings, which were filed with the town on Aug. 31, propose 98 units consisting of a mix of high-end two-, three- and four-bedroom residences measuring from 1,900 to 3,900 square feet in 21 structures. While the size of some of the units would increase, they would be marketed toward empty nesters and active adults with few, if any, school-age children anticipated to live at the site, said Jeffrey Mendell, a principal in the Brynwood ownership.

“We think this is a great benefit for the entire Town of North Castle,” Mendell said. “Financially, this is a win for the town, it’s a win for the schools, we’re saving a beautiful property, enhancing it, preserving it for all time.”

The applicant’s representatives estimated that the reconfigured plans would generate more than $1.8 million in total annual property tax revenue. About $1.2 million would go to the Byram Hills School District while the town would receive about $272,000 a year. That does not include more than $1.6 million in one-time building fees.

Brynwood also plans to build a smaller clubhouse, reducing its size from the current 89,000 square feet to 61,800 square feet; guest capacity would go from about 400 to 250 people. Similar to the original plan, renowned golf course designer Rees Jones would reconfigure the 18-hole course.

Originally, Brynwood proposed 243 units last year but those plans were scuttled after a majority of the previous North Castle Town Board criticized the project’s density. That number was reduced to 123 units as part of another revised plan earlier this year but it was never submitted to the town.

Mendell said the partners have collected more than 1,000 signatures from town residents, including some at nearby Windmill Farms, who support the project. Many Windmill residents panned the original submission because of concerns over density, traffic on Route 22 and water consumption. This year, more than 20 community forums had been organized by Brynwood to help educate the public on what it hopes to do.

“Once the people really understand what the facts are, what the project is all about, we got a lot of support,” Mendell said.

Reaction from North Castle officials was cautiously optimistic that the revised project is headed in the right direction but at least two town board members said there are still areas of concern.

Supervisor Howard Arden said the number of residences may still be too high and that the increase in the size of the units from mainly two-bedroom residences to a mix that includes three-bedroom and a handful of four-bedroom units could be troublesome.

Arden also said he was sympathetic that Brynwood was trying to achieve a delicate balance by proposing more units than what may be sustainable but trying to give themselves leeway to present a viable project.

“The number is still higher than what some people think it should be,” Arden said.

Councilman Stephen D’Angelo said the number of bedrooms in the revised project is higher than what he had hoped.

“There could be some good things in it but it needs a lot of work,” D’Angelo said.

The town would have to approve the creation of a new zone to allow the residences to be built, Arden said.

Edward Baquero, president of Corigan Real Estate Group, which is also involved in the project, said the partnership could build about 50 single-family residences under the current zoning. That would have a far greater negative impact on services and the area than the age-targeted units.

“When you add up the square footage between building 50 homes and what we’re building, there’s more square footage with the private homes,” Baquero said. “It’s more invasive to build the 50 homes.”

Mendell said using standard calculations there would be between five and 10 school-age children. However, since the units would be marketed toward empty nesters and semi-retired adults, there would likely be fewer children than that. He anticipated that residents would use the extra bedrooms for a home office or theater or to accommodate grown children and grandchildren when they visit.

Rather than build affordable or middle-income residences, Brynwood has proposed to  negotiate payments in lieu of those units, Mendell said.

Councilwoman Diane DiDonato-Roth said she was eager to have Brynwood begin the environmental review process as soon as possible so the town could evaluate whether the new plans are viable. However, the town board must guard against indecisiveness that frustrated another developer and turned out badly for North Castle.

“Last time we did this we ended up with a CVS,” DiDonato-Roth referring to the board balking at approving plans to improve the old A&P on Main Street. “I’m not going to let this turn into a CVS fiasco. I will not let special interests determine this.”

Along with density and the size of the units, traffic studies on Route 22 will also be needed. Brynwood would use well water for the residences. It also has its own sewage treatment plan, said project architect Jim Tinson.

Tinson said the new plans would be aesthetically pleasing because the residences would be built as a neighborhood, with each structure having distinct character. The project would include seven small club villa buildings with two three-bedroom units each, golf residence buildings with eight to 10 units each mixing two- and three-bedroom units and a small cluster of four-bedroom units. There will also be five fairway residences.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all, just-like-any-other-house-in-the-neighborhood that you go to,” he said. “It’s one of the things that we think is going to distinguish our vision of this place and is going to distinguish what’s unique about this setting.”




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