Residents continued to urge Mount Kisco officials last week to delay a decision on whether to allow more family recreation uses at Diamond Properties’ North Bedford Road complex until a new ShopRite has opened.
Diamond Properties has signed a lease to move a 70,000-square-foot ShopRite supermarket from Bedford Hills to The Park at 333 N. Bedford Rd. For the proposal to advance developer Jim Diamond must obtain zoning text changes from the Village Board because a supermarket isn’t permitted in the Light Manufacturing (ML) district.
He is also seeking zoning changes that would allow additional family recreation facilities to his property.
Judy Sage, one of the resident organizers of a May 10 meeting with the board and Diamond, said several of her neighbors in the northern end of Mount Kisco do not oppose the new ShopRite but were concerned that traffic would worsen should additional family recreational facilities be allowed. Existing high traffic volumes on the already congested road should signal to village trustees to hold off on making a decision on the recreational uses until after ShopRite has opened, she said.
“You may be listening to us,” Sage said. “I don’t believe you are hearing us.”
Sage said if traffic increases residents in the northern part of the village will avoid driving into and shopping in downtown Mount Kisco.
Sage quoted comments made by Diamond to The Examiner last December about how Con Edison’s gas line installation along North Bedford Road forced traffic to a near standstill on some days and was hurting businesses during the height of the holiday shopping season. She pointed to Diamond’s remarks that people were choosing to patronize businesses in Katonah, Bedford or Chappaqua rather than deal with the congestion.
The opening of new family recreation venues at the Diamond Properties complex could have a similar effect, Sage said.
Two possible uses under consideration for the property are an indoor curling facility and a Ninja obstacle course geared toward children, Diamond said.
“There’s not going to be a water park,” he said.
Diamond responded that Con Edison should have done more last December to manage the traffic on North Bedford Road.
Resident Michael Hardiman said based on recent discussions before the village and planning boards it seemed that the zoning text changes were “a done deal.” Marion Halberg, another resident, said she and other residents had the same impression.
Mayor Gina Picinich responded that the Village Board had made no decision on the application and was waiting for the Planning Board’s recommendations.
Although most speakers haven’t objected to Shoprite moving to the site, Hardiman said he was concerned that the supermarket could generate additional traffic on North Bedford Road because there is no direct access from the Saw Mill River Parkway.
Hardiman added that additional family recreation facilities at The Park could lead to more outdoor lighting.
No additional outdoor lighting would be required because new recreational facilities would be indoors, Diamond replied.
Diamond said there have been criticisms regarding the Grand Prix New York go-kart facility, which opened in March 2008. At the time, it was anticipated that Grand Prix would rely heavily on corporate events, even though the facility has been open to the general public that purchased memberships.
However, the 2008 financial upheaval and its aftermath saw companies significantly reduce the number of events held at facilities such as Grand Prix, Diamond said. It also forced the owner to pursue other uses at the venue.
“The world does change,” he said.
Diamond is seeking approvals from the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to change his property’s entrances and exits, among other changes, to improve traffic flow in the area.
Trustee Karen Schleimer said she supported zoning changes allowing ShopRite; however, she opposed additional family recreation until the Comprehensive Plan update is completed.
Picinich said the public hearing on the proposed zoning changes remains open. Once the hearing is closed there will be another 30 days in which written comments would still be accepted, she said.
A decision could be made by the board after the 30-day written comment period, Picinich said.