The White Plains Examiner

New Residences at One DeKalb Get Go Ahead

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Combining two public hearings on a proposed residential development at One DeKalb Ave., White Plains, the Common Council listened to comments during its February meeting about a special permit for a six-story building on the site as well as the de-mapping and sale of a 4,522 parcel of White Plains city-owned land for use as a public park.

The project, which has received much positive attention, will include 77 rental apartments, including affordable units for residents earning 80 percent of the Westchester median income, and 103 parking spaces.

Before the vote, which unanimously accepted the proposal, Betsy Sawyer Gaylin, owner and resident of the adjacent multi-family property at 110-112 S. Broadway, said she was concerned about provisions being taken to protect her property and her tenants during demolition.

The existing garage at the One DeKalb property is set right against Ms. Gaylin’s lot line and the new construction would be about 40 feet from her house. Gaylin noted that her tenants were mostly elderly people and she was concerned about dust and possible asbestos on the site affecting the entire neighborhood. She supplied members of the Council with documentation about demolition protocols from other sites around the country.

Gaylin also commented that she wanted her property to be insured by the developer against any damage that might happen during demolition and construction. In particular, she mentioned the building of the foundation of a two-level parking garage. Gaylin also expressed concern that she had not been notified about the zoning change to allow a six-story building in her neighborhood.

While asbestos had been found in two of the residential homes being demolished, Bill Null, representative for the developer said that no asbestos had been found in the buildings adjacent to Gaylin’s property and that all legal protocols would be followed to ensure public safety during teardown of those buildings. Null also said that his law office had sent out all the required notifications before the zoning change public hearing had been held.

White Plains Building Commissioner Damon Amadio confirmed that a construction plan would follow all necessary protocols.

A discussion followed, about whether or not the vacant buildings on the site were secure, with residents of the neighborhood saying the doors were open and windows broken and had been on the afternoon prior to the Council meeting. The developer claimed otherwise and Mayor Tom Roach asked that the buildings be checked after the Council meeting ended that same evening.

White Plains resident Claudia Murphy, also President of the Car Hart Neighborhood Association, said her association’s members and board shared the safety concerns of residents and wanted everything to be done by the book. She also said they were fully behind the development project and wanted the public park in their neighborhood.

Ms. Gaylin also said she had no problem with the general concept of the new development.

At the same meeting the Council gave final approval for renovation of the former Fortunoff’s space for Dannon to move in and include a small lab for yogurt flavor development and tasting.

Councilwoman Milagros Lecuona noted for all projects in the general Maple Avenue area that sidewalks should conform to the same design and be built with thought to encouraging pedestrians to walk up to Mamaroneck Avenue.

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