When the Trump Park Residences off Barger Street in Shrub Oak were built, a sales office constructed in the front of the property was designed to be a temporary structure.
However, Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace believes the approximately 8,000-square-foot building, with an estimated value of $3 million, has great potential and would like to utilize it for town use, much to the dismay of some of the 140 residents who live there and favor recreational amenities that were promised to them when they purchased their units.
“When an opportunity stares you in the face, I think you have to explore it,” Grace said during a work session at Town Hall last week. “Nobody is trying to force anything down anyone’s throat. I have people looking for a senior center. I have people looking for community rooms. To have a perfectly good $3 million building raised is sinful.”
During the approval process for the project, which included a zoning change, a stipulation was negotiated with the Westchester Land Trust and Yorktown Land Trust that mandated a certain amount of acreage be preserved for environmental and recreational purposes. A portion of that land is where the sales office is located.
“It behooves everyone to hold to their side of the agreement,” said John Schroeder of the Yorktown Land Trust. “We are looking at this thing for the Town of Yorktown to uphold to its side of the deal.”
Councilmen Nick Bianco and Dave Paganelli agreed with Schroeder.
“A deal is a deal,” said Bianco, who noted Cappelli Enterprises, which later brought in Donald Trump as a partner, originally proposed constructing assisted living units on the site. “A loaf of bread had a longer shelf life than Cappelli’s plan. I wouldn’t want to go against any of the agreements that were made.”
Resident Steve Ochseo said he and others purchased their units in anticipation of a gazebo and a track some day being available where the sales office remains.
“We bought there on the preservation side. That’s why we spent all that money there,” he said.
Despite the opposition, Grace said he would like the chance to discuss his vision of the building with residents at Trump Park Residences, a gesture Ochseo welcomed.
“Nothing is irreversible,” Grace said of the agreement. “I think before we move forward we would get the consent of the residents there.”
Some of the board members at Trump Park Residences that Grace would have to convince are President Joseph Apicella, former town Democratic Committee chairman and executive vice president at Cappelli Enterprises, and Vice President Andrew Spano, former Westchester County executive.