GovernmentThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Mixed-Use Project on Soundview Site Referred to Planning Board

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A mixed-use development on Underhill Ave. proposed under Yorktown’s recently adopted zoning overlay district was referred to the Planning Board last week.

Choosing not to schedule a public hearing first as Supervisor Matt Slater had favored, the Town Board decided on Feb. 22 to let the Planning Board begin its process of reviewing the plans from Unicorn Contracting.

Unicorn is looking to transform the former Soundview Preparatory School campus at 370 Underhill Ave. into a mixed-use development with 148 residential units, 11,000 square feet of commercial space and an adaptive reuse of the property’s historic mansion.

“It’s a laudable project and I think it’s time to kick it up to planning,” said Councilman Tom Diana.

Representatives of Unicorn Contracting informed the Town Board on Jan. 25 that the original proposal for 165 townhouses, condominiums and luxury apartments had been scaled down to 148, with 118 being considered “senior-friendly.”

The historic Underhill House on the property is slated to be transformed into a community resource and gathering spot, with 7,000 square feet of commercial space, while an additional 11,000 square feet of retail/office space will be part of the approximately $60 million project. In addition, the pond will be completely restored and complemented by walking trails, sitting areas and a new pedestrian gateway at the estate’s original entrance at the intersection of Rte. 118 and Underhill Avenue.

In November, a consultant hired by the Town Board to study proposed zoning overlay districts concluded that the proposed zoning would not overburden the town with traffic or school-aged children over the next decade. Representatives of Buckhurst Fish & Jacquemart concluded that overlay-zoning districts in the Yorktown Heights and Lake Osceola hamlets could lead to the development of 457 to 544 housing units over the next decade.

In December, the Town Board voted to adopt overlay district zoning for the two business hamlets. Town officials had been considering the creation of overlay districts for about 18 months with a goal of encouraging creative redevelopment approaches. The overlay zones will allow a greater diversity of permitted uses, including residential.

“The root decision here is: Does it meet the criteria under the law? And it does,” said Councilman Ed Lachterman.

The Town Board’s pre-referral review included submitting the proposal to the Westchester County Department of Planning. That agency recommended that the Town Board refer the proposal to the Planning Board.

“I believe that the overlay district will be a great economic catalyst for our community,” Slater said. “This is the first application going through the overlay zoning process and I look forward to the Planning Board’s meticulous review.”

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