Kirby Commons Contract Moves Ahead In Mt. Kisco

A contract between the Village of Mount Kisco and Kirby Commons developers Gotham Organization and Charter Reality Development of Manhattan is moving forward. Once all approvals are granted for the $130 million project, construction will start and is expected to last two years.

At last week’s Mount Kisco Village Board meeting, Mayor Gina Picinich gave an update of where the project stands.

“We are working on a contract that will be binding. We want to make sure that the foundation we build on is strong and solid from one document to the next,” Picinich said.

Kirby Commons is a proposed, mixed-use/transit-oriented project that expects to create 123 construction jobs and sustain 52 new full-time jobs once completed. The project proposes 217 apartments and 53,000 square feet of retail and community space next to the downtown train station. Proposed amenities include a conference center, lounge, co-working space, gym, a Zen garden connected to an interior courtyard, a rooftop green space including multiple seating areas, grills, and a fire pit.

In June, the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency gave the project preliminary approval for $4.7 million in tax exemptions.

According to Trustee David Squirrell, the public will be able to weigh-in before the contract is either approved or disapproved. “There will be a full opportunity for Mount Kisco residents to provide their opinion to us. That goes without saying,” he said.

Picinich said that the final, approved contract “will be made available to the public once negotiations are completed in executive sessions.”

At a post meeting interview, Village Manager Edward Brancati said the village will also approve the 99-year lease before the Planning Board process can begin. If variances are needed, the project would have to go before the Mount Kisco Zoning Board of Appeals.

As part of the public comment, John Rhodes, Chairperson of Mount Kisco’s Conservation Advisory Council, suggest that the construction plan be negotiated before the agreement is finalized because the village could lose much of its negotiating leverage.

Trustees also discussed the possible disruption during construction and the availability of parking for commuters, shoppers, and business owners.

“Among the very key concepts are that the North Moger parking structure needs to be built first,” said Picinich. “They [developers] will have to make sure parking is still available so disruption is not too great.”

Mount Kisco resident Barbara Roppolo wrote in a question about the estimated 15 students generated by the development expected to attend the local public schools. “Can someone elaborate further on how they came up with only 15 students for all those [217] units?”

Brancati explained that the 15-student number was a conservative approach based on a formula used in the project pilot. “The cost per student is approximately $30,000 and we want to make sure the development doesn’t over burden the school district,” he said.

The subject of a public hearing on October 5 is a proposed amendment to the Zoning Code itemizing the “Required Community Benefits” the village is asking of the developers. Those include 100% replacement of existing public parking spaces in their development on the South Moger Lot and the North Moger Lot. Other proposed benefits required by the village is the provision of 2,300 square feet of Civic Space as an interior community area within the building on the North Moger Lot, providing 15 affordable apartment units with rent set at 90 percent of Westchester County Area Median Income.

Notably, the diverse socioeconomic community of Mount Kisco, was not one of the 31 communities included in the county’s 2009 affordable housing settlement with the federal government.

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