The Examiner

Developer Presents Plan for 73 Townhouses at P’ville Office Park

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The office park on Washington Avenue where a developer plans to submit an application for 73 townhouses.

A Pennsylvania-based homebuilder presented preliminary plans to the Pleasantville Village Board this week to build 73 townhouses at a vacant Washington Avenue office park.

Representatives of Toll Brothers, which recently reached an agreement with Benenson Capital to purchase the 18-acre Baker property at 480 Washington Ave., appeared before the board Monday night to begin a dialogue with officials regarding their plans.

Roughly half of the project would be age-targeted residences for active adults featuring a first-floor master bedroom and loft space upstairs. The remaining units would be three-bedroom units geared toward families. The developer plans to build an internal public road with two cul-de-sacs and connect to public sewer and water. Each of the units would range from 1,900 to 2,800 square foot and have two-car garages.

The company estimates the townhouses would sell for between $600,000 and $800,000, comparable to those at Pleasantville Country Club. Owners who would purchase the residences beforehand would be able to customize the interior of the home.

Toll Brothers Assistant Vice President James Fitzpatrick said that he did not anticipate a large influx of school-aged children for the Pleasantville School District. However, he did not provide any estimates of how many students the project could generate.

“It’s tough to say,” Fitzpatrick said.

As part of Pleasantville’s affordable housing ordinance in the wake of Westchester settling an anti-discrimination lawsuit with the federal government in 2009, 10 percent of the units must be set aside for affordable housing. Toll Brothers representatives said they plan to comply with that ordinance.

“It is what it is,” Fitzpatrick said. “It will not be segregated to one end of the community. We will integrate them.”

The project would be subject to a state Environmental Quality Review (SEQR).

Fitzpatrick said the ongoing due diligence that the sale hinges upon expires this week, although that deadline could be extended. Once that process is complete and the sale finalized, Toll Brothers plans to submit a formal application within 60 days.

“We don’t want to waste your time or their money,” said Toll Brothers’ attorney David Steinmetz. “If your board is not interested, we’d love to hear that.”

Mayor Peter Scherer said the village board is attracted to the project.

“We will not always agree,” Scherer said. “But I am anxious to see this moribund site turned into something productive. I view this as an opportunity.”

Toll Brothers has built projects in 20 states focusing on mainly affluent markets. Since 1995, it has built 1,000 residences in 10 municipalities in Westchester and another 1,500 units in 15 communities in Dutchess County. The company also has plans in Tarrytown and Ardsley.

“We see this as an opportunity to get back into Westchester,” New York City Division President Dan Zalinsky said.

Village board members expressed concern about aesthetics and traffic, which Steinmetz said would be addressed during the SEQR process. The property would have a boulevard entrance and the street would feature two 15-foot travel lanes with a median in the middle.

Company representatives said they would ask for a variance to have 1,000-foot cul-de-sacs as opposed to the 600-foot maximum currently allowed under the village code. The property would have four units per acre, not as dense as the Foxwood condominium complex off of Route 117, which has more than six units per acre.

Steinmetz said his client is aware of the serious drainage issues on the property and plans to rectify the problem. Benenson has come under fire in recent years for its poor stormwater management that has flooded property owners across the street during significant rains. The village has issued numerous violations to Benenson.

Scherer said Toll Brothers’ presentation was impressive and that the company has a long history of success.

“This is very good news for the Village of Pleasantville to have Toll Brothers interested,” Scherer said. “It is also good news that a vacant property is being filled. Our goal is not to waste people’s time or money. We are delighted to have Toll Brothers in our midst.”



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