Mt. Kisco Committee Backs Development of Parking Lots

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Mount Kisco’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee last week recommended mixed-use developments for the village-owned North and South Moger parking lots in downtown.

Frank Fish, principal of BFJ Planning, the prime consultants for the village’s Comprehensive Plan update, said at the June 13 meeting attended by about 50 people that the steering committee has proposed that the Village Board create an overlay district to entice builders to develop the two village-owned parking lots. The South Moger lot is near the train station while the North Moger lot is located on the other side of Main Street.

Mayor Gina Picinich said the committee’s recommendation is a starting point to have deeper discussions on reshaping and enlivening downtown.

“The big-picture concepts are to provide an opportunity for housing in the downtown, address the need for rental housing, maintain or increase parking and create community spaces,” Picinich said.

The committee’s goal for the South Moger lot is to create mixed-use development consisting of apartments and businesses, traffic access to the train station via Maple Avenue and a civic space where concerts and other activities could be held.

Its suggestion on North Moger Avenue is to build a parking structure and provide access to the train station by constructing a pedestrian walkway over the tracks and linking it with the north end of the platform. Access to the train station from Barker Street is also proposed.

Requests for proposals for companies to develop the parking lots could be sent out by the village this fall, Fish said. Although no specific numbers were provided, Fish said there wouldn’t be a loss of parking spaces if the North and South Moger lots were developed.

Other proposals from the committee include additional residential development downtown; amending some downtown zoning to make it easier for businesses to grow; preserving the character of existing low-density residential neighborhoods; encouraging the development of new housing for young professionals, empty-nesters and those who work locally; improving transportation downtown; flood mitigation; expanding recreational programs; improving the village’s parks; relieving traffic congestion; and an upgrade of the drinking water infrastructure.

A committee survey attracted responses from 337 residents. Notable responses included 72 percent in favor of new retail businesses; 60 percent asking for compact and higher-density housing developments; 92 percent calling on the village to make road improvements to reduce traffic congestion; 68 percent seeking safer bike and pedestrian routes to the Metro-North station; 74 percent wanting sidewalks improved and extended; and 83 percent calling for creation of a farmers market.

Resident Patricia Lee said she was concerned about pedestrian safety at the intersection of North Moger Avenue and Main Street. Under the committee’s recommendation, pedestrians would need to push a button at the crosswalk to change the walk signal for them to proceed across the street.

Fish said a pedestrian would have 26 seconds to cross once the light changes, sufficient time for the overwhelming majority of people.

Resident Harry McCarthy said additional downtown development could bring more traffic. Many of the streets downtown are also under state and county jurisdiction, entities that may not make road improvements quickly, he said.

While the village could complete many of the improvements for municipal roads in two to three years, Fish acknowledged improvements to state and county roads could take longer.

Picinich said public participation has been important to bring new ideas to consider.

“The process of engaging residents, property owners and business owners through our five public meetings and survey was to get the community’s ideas on what they envision for the future of our village,” Picinich said. “What is most important for the board is that we steer this plan in the direction that meets the needs and expectations of the community.”

A draft of the updated Comprehensive Plan is expected to be completed over the summer. The Village Board will then schedule and conduct a public in September, Fish noted. Trustees could approve the revised document in December or January, he said.

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