By Sean Browne
The Mount Kisco Village Board adopted an updated Comprehensive Plan last week, marking the first time in 19 years the village had a revised document.
The board approved the plan in a 4-1 vote on Feb. 4. Trustee Karen Schleimer cast the lone dissenting vote.
“This is something that is so important to this town right now,” said Trustee Peter Grunthal. “There is a number of reasons why we are doing this.”
Revitalization of the downtown area is a key focus of the plan. It recommends significant zoning changes that could allow for mixed-use development in the South Moger and North Moger lots and a more walkable downtown that provides new and improved pedestrian connections to help invigorate the main business district.
Among the potential scenarios outlined would be to develop parking for the downtown residents, shoppers and commuters within the developments in the South Moger and North Moger lots.
Recommendations for rezoning portions of Lexington Avenue to allow for the development of townhouses where residential units are limited to second- and third-story apartments over commercial enterprises and to create a mixed-use district on Radio Circle are also part of the plan.
The plan also includes ideas on how to pursue more effective traffic circulation with regional solutions and stresses the need for improved civic spaces to entice people to remain downtown.
Trustee Jean Farber said the importance of the issues addressed in the updated 193-page plan made it clear that “this was one of the most important documents that I have had a chance to be a part of.”
“This plan sets the course for the next 10 years of our village,” Farber said. “That is something that is never to be taken lightly. This is definitely the most defining roadmap for the future of Mount Kisco.”
Grunthal said the approved plan reflects extensive work and planning. Its adoption comes after a year of discussion, public meetings and sessions with professionals from BFJ Planning along with input from experts and the village’s Conservation Advisory Council, he said.
There was a public scoping session, a Generic Environmental Impact Statement developed and three public hearings. Grunthal said he believes it will help restore economic vitality to Mount Kisco.
“This has gone through a series of meetings bringing as many of the facts and problems to light as we could and ways to solve them,” he said.
However, Trustee Schleimer didn’t share the same sentiment as her colleagues.
One of the problems with the updated plan is the expansion of housing downtown.
“Fifty-foot buildings will change the character of Mount Kisco forever,” Schleimer said. “We don’t need to add 250 residences to an already crowded area. Also, the development of Radio Circle has not been thought out.”
Schleimer said adding and concentrating more people in a specific area won’t necessarily solve its problems.
“Does anyone think that changing the timing of a few traffic lights will solve the problem or even mitigate the impact of new residential units?” Schleimer asked. “Does anyone really believe that there is really too much parking down there? Is the problem going to get better when you add 250 residents down there?”
Mayor Gina Picinich acknowledged the challenges facing the village and was confident Mount Kisco residents will be excited to consider changes that will reinvigorate the village. She expressed hope for Mount Kisco’s future as a result of the updated plan.
The full final Comprehensive Plan can be found on the Mount Kisco website’s home page at www.mountkiscony.gov.