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A proposal to redevelop the former MBIA property in Armonk has been significantly altered with plans now calling for 125 fee simple townhouses and 50 age-restricted apartments.
Airport Campus, the applicant for the project at 113 King St., and its representatives returned to the North Castle Town Board last week, pitching its latest iteration for the 38.8-acre site. The previous proposal, last debated in 2021, featured a 125-room hotel and 170 housing units along with maintaining 100,000 square feet of existing office space; however, it was soundly criticized by some members of the Town Board for being too dense with a potential negative impact on local roads, schools and emergency services.
Attorney Anthony Veneziano said the townhouses would not be age-restricted, but “age-targeted,” geared more toward a somewhat older adult population. Those would be three bedrooms and each unit average around 2,800 square feet each. It would be located on the larger 33-acre northern portion of the site.
The 50 age-restricted apartments would be located in a repurposed office building and would require at least one resident in each unit to be 55 or older. Those residences would be on four to five acres on the southern end of the property, Veneziano said.
A new two-story, 60-space parking structure would be part of the plan, he said.
Rezoning would be sought to Residential Multifamily Housing for the townhomes and Multifamily Residential Senior Citizen Housing for the apartment.
Last Wednesday, the updated proposal received a more favorable reaction from the board, although there were still some concerns voiced by officials. Councilman Matt Milim said the large number of fee simple units makes it a better project for the town along with using the existing office building to house the apartments.
“I think this is substantially improved and I think that having the 125 townhomes as fee simple but age-targeted is a really good solution for, I think, the taxation concern that I have, but also the concerns that (Supervisor) Mike (Schiliro) discussed before about aging in place,” Milim said.
Councilman Jose Berra said the property would be “a great site for development” and the switch to fee simple would be a major advantage for the town and its taxpayers. However, the development’s proposed density could still pose a problem, and he worried whether it could change the character of the town.
“There’s a lot of units right next to each other or close to each other, and essentially except for one square that you have there, one road,” Berra said. “I want to think about that.”
Also, if a proposed 456-unit housing complex across King Street in Greenwich were to get built it could overload the area, he said. There is no access to the Greenwich site from Connecticut, only via King Street.
Feedback from Byram Hills school officials will also be crucial to help guide the board, Councilwoman Barbara DiGiacinto said. While the fee simple taxation on the surface would appear to benefit the various taxing jurisdictions, an upswing in school enrollment could negate that advantage or hurt the taxpayers, she said.
“What I want to be really certain of is that I’m not going to see my school taxes go up because of all of the uncertainties that I can’t predict and you can’t predict,” DiGiacinto said.
Veneziano said understands the key issues, including impact on the schools, but believes the concerns can be addressed.
“This is not that dense, it’s four units per acre, its 40 acres,” he said. “You’re talking about the character of the community; this looks better than Whippoorwill Hills. I don’t get that, and this is almost out of town.”
There would be a total of 18 affordable units to comply with the town’s ordinance. Both the townhouse side of the parcel and the apartment building would each contain a 10 percent share, Veneziano said.
The applicant will revise its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and once that is ready, will submit it to the Town Board for referrals to the appropriate boards.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/