GovernmentThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Guiding Eyes Considers Route 202 Parcel for Training, Kennel Space

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Guiding Eyes for the Blind plans to seek a zoning text amendment from the Town of Yorktown to allow the organization to place some of its kennels on an available 12.2-acre parcel on Route 202.

Representatives of the well-known Yorktown Heights-based guide dog training school pitched the plan to the Town Board last Tuesday to use the property at 3241 Crompond Rd. as a training site with kennels for about 200 dogs.

Attorney Judy Cross, representing Guiding Eyes, said if the plan were to come to fruition it would reduce the number of dogs at the school’s main site on Granite Springs Road, which is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Cross said the zoning text amendment would allow operation of what would be considered a non-commercial kennel in the Interchange Zoning (IN) District.

“This isn’t a pet store,” Cross said. “People can’t come in off the street and buy a dog. The veterinary services are there for just the dogs Guiding Eyes is training, so it’s not open to the public.”

The land is the same parcel where Temple Israel was approved to build a new synagogue more than 15 years ago, but that project was never built.

Cross said that the kennels and training program would be less demanding on local infrastructure and services. Additional traffic on the sometimes-overloaded Route 202 would be minimal along with less sewer and water consumption and site disturbance than what was approved for the synagogue, she said.

Director of Planning John Tegeder said site plan issues would be addressed before the Planning Board.

“I don’t have any broad concerns,” Tegeder said. “As we go through, we’ll fine-tune as needed. I think it’s basically an okay idea to do it in this (area).”

It was pointed out by town officials that Signs Ink uses a piece of the property for additional parking. Cross mentioned that her client would be amenable to having the business continue to have access to the parking on the land.

Boutique Hotel Hearing Set

The Town Board scheduled a Aug. 3 public hearing on a special use permit needed by the developer of a 16-room boutique hotel proposed for Veterans Road near the Albert A. Capellini Community & Cultural Center.

Attorney Michael Grace, representing the applicant, said his client is anxious to get started with the process, which includes a special use permit from the Town Board followed by site plan approval from the Planning Board.

The project, called Hotel Gardena, would be three stories with eight rooms on the second and third floors. It would also have a bar and grill on the roof.

“Certainly, it’s a great project,” Grace said. “I know the last time we were here there was chatter about why would you have a hotel in the Town of Yorktown. My retort to that is why wouldn’t you?”

“We don’t need a major hotel, we don’t need a very large building, but a boutique hotel would be a great fit and you have someone will to make a very substantial investment in the town,” he added. “So I think it’s an opportunity we should all seize.”

Councilman Ed Lachterman said Yorktown has much to offer, whether it is its farms, orchards, golf and a clean Lake Mohegan, and an attractive, small hotel would be an outstanding addition.

“I hate to put it this way, but if somebody things that Yorktown is that horrible of a place, leave,” he said. “Because we can make Yorktown an even greater place than it is.”

A hotel could provide a spark to downtown Yorktown Heights that the board has been hoping to jumpstart for a while, said Councilwoman Luciana Haughwout.

“You do have to start somewhere, you do have to make that leap of faith,” Haughwout said. “To me, this is simple.”

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