Public Hearing Set on Proposed Yorktown Overlay Zones

The Yorktown Town Board has scheduled a public hearing for Dec. 14 on proposed zoning overlay districts that have already been the subject of a wide array of opinions.

The hearing, which will be held virtually since the board is not meeting in-person, was set following the presentation last week of a study conducted by a consultant that concluded the overlay districts planned in the town’s two business hamlets would not overburden the area with traffic or additional school children.

“As we consider implementation of the overlay concept, it is important to keep it in context. The retail base that evolved over the decades and has underpinned our hamlets is undergoing major changes that are apparent to all,” said Supervisor Matt Slater. “Yorktown Heights in particular, has seen its shopping centers suffer significant vacancies resulting from the dramatic changes in how and where people shop. Quite simply, to do nothing is not an option. That will only lead to a further decline in our commercial tax base and greater burdens on our residential taxpayers, to say nothing of the negative light it casts over our town as a whole.”

Representatives of Buckhurst Fish & Jacquemart, the firm hired by the Town Board to do the study, maintained enacting overlay zoning districts in Yorktown Heights and Lake Osceola could result in the development of 457 to 544 housing units over the next decade.

The consultants also estimated 55 to 65 new school-age children would join either the Lakeland or Yorktown school districts.

Town officials are considering the creation of overlay districts in the Yorktown Heights and Lake Osceola business hamlets with a goal of encouraging creative redevelopment approaches. The overlay zones would allow a greater diversity of permitted uses including residential with the goal of revitalizing specific neighborhoods.

Slater said the planning study by BFJ was an important step in quantifying and evaluating the impacts of a revised approach to zoning for the future of the hamlets.

“They are a highly qualified firm, and we are pleased to have their assistance as we plan for the future,” he said.
The BFJ Planning study also addressed traffic. The study stated proposed residential-retail redevelopment of the Yorktown Green Shopping Center would not create the same levels of traffic created by the former Kmart store. In the Lake Osceola hamlet, a one to three percent increase in traffic trips was projected.

Councilwoman Alice Roker said the Town Board “went slow with the process because we needed to, but now I am anxious to hear from the public.”

Councilman Ed Lachterman concurred, noting that “the time has come to get the public’s input.”

BFJ Planning has weighed in on several other projects in Westchester County, including updating the City of White Plains’ Comprehensive Plan and assisting the Ossining Village Board in the adoption of a Comprehensive Plan and new form-based code. In the Village of Pleasantville, the firm conducted a zoning study of single-family residential districts to ensure new homes are consistent with the village’s small-scale character.

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