The Examiner

No. Castle Planners Look for Layout Improvements for Eagle Ridge

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Representatives of a proposed hotel and townhouse project in Armonk were irked last week that North Castle officials were unimpressed with the initial site plan and suggested the town was possibly looking to reduce density.

The Eagle Ridge project, which would include a 115-room hotel on a 10.6-acre portion of the site on North Castle Drive and 72 age-restricted townhouses on an adjacent 21.8 acres, came before the Planning Board on May 23 for the start of site plan review.

However, Director of Planning Adam Kaufman said the layout of the townhouse portion of the project needs to be improved upon.

“I think the root of the issue is we’re trying to create a neighborhood here, one that’s attractive and people are going to want to live in and is going to have components that are going to be compelling,” Kaufman said.

Attorney Kory Salomone, representing Eagle Ridge lead developer Frank Madonna, said their team would examine the layout and provide alternatives. However, with the restrictions placed on the applicant by the Town Board during its deliberations on the rezoning, including having no more than two dwellings attached to each other and at least 30 feet between structures, there is much less flexibility, Salomone said.

There are also some slopes and required setbacks from the neighboring IBM parcel, which also limits alternatives, he said.

Salomone added that in order for the project to be financially feasible, his client cannot have less than 72 residential units.

However, Kaufman said it might not serve the project well to be locked into a number.

“We can’t sacrifice the site plan just to reach a number if it doesn’t work,” Kaufman said.

Board Chairman Christopher Carthy compared the layout of the townhouses to “stadium seating” where each row of residences is at a higher elevation than the one in front of it. A pedestrian crossing across Route 22, which the town viewed as a priority, must still be addressed.

But Salomone responded that the Town Board’s rezoning and the associated findings statement was based on 72 units. He said his client has also paid about 75 percent of the $1.5 million Community Benefits Agreement.

“This sounds like an end-around to decrease our density,” he said.

Kaufman said the solution is not fewer units but devising a superior plan.

“It is coming up with a site plan that is going to be appropriate for this site,” Kaufman said.

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