During the February meeting of the White Plains Common Council, several projects of concern to the community were scheduled for future discussion.
The ongoing public hearing to amend the zoning ordinance to create a new Planned Residential Development Zone at 52 N. Broadway was opened and quickly adjourned to May 4. The developer, WP Development NB, Inc. had submitted an amended zoning petition to the Common Council the previous week, significantly changing the original proposal.
The revised petition reduces the scale, density and building height of proposed new buildings, expands senior housing, increases historic preservation and maintains open space on the North Broadway frontage.
Planning Commissioner Christopher Gomez explained that the amended proposal requires a review by the Planning Board to determine if it is consistent with the existing form of the Zoning Code. Once that is done, the amended proposal will be submitted for further review by city departments.
The public hearing on the new proposal was adjourned to May 4, 2020.
The Council also approved a third one-year site plan extension to Post Maple 77 LLC (Grid Properties, Inc.) for development of the Boulevard mixed-use project located on a site bounded by Maple Avenue, West Post Road, South Lexington Avenue and Rathbun Avenue in White Plains.
Mayor Tom Roach asked the developer for an update on the project.
The developer indicated they continued to be “very committed to the project.” He explained that the retail world has gone through a lot of changes, with the trends of the past several years beginning now to work themselves out. “New tenants have come onto the landscape, but working the deals to get to a signed contract has taken longer than expected, the developer said. He indicated that as a New York City-based company they were used to permits lasting longer than one-year. Getting the right mix can take up to 10 years he said.
Councilwoman Nadine Hunt-Robinson expressed her preference for experiential retail focusing on children. “Millenials are now having children and Baby Boomers want places to take the grandchildren, she said.
Councilman Justin Bracsh advised the developer to make haste to break ground as soon as possible.
Councilman John Martin asked if there were any synergies with White Plains Hospital, which the developer said would be well-received. Martin also noted he had been contacted about the poor upkeep of the sidewalks around the site and requested something be done about litter.
Before closing the meeting, the Council scheduled a public hearing for March 2 on the Government Use Permit application by Mt. Hope A.M.E. Zion Church to run an emergency homeless shelter for Westchester County at 65 Lake St.
Council members were supportive of the shelter project, including Councilman John Kirkpatrick, who raised concerns about the permit not being compliant with Zoning at the 65 Church St. location. Kirpatrick said it was not a permitted use and that perhaps the applicant should be looking at a zoning amendment.
Kirkpatrick also suggested the city should see what other municipalities were doing regarding helping the homeless through county programs, since White Plains already does a lot.