GovernmentThe Examiner

Residents Convince No. Castle Officials to Scuttle Office Building Rezone

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The North Castle Town Board halted consideration for a requested zoning change last week that would have added parking at an Armonk office building after neighboring residents argued their quality of life and properties would suffer.

Following more than an hour-and-a-half discussion, board members said they would not entertain switching the zoning for just over half of the 1.79 acres at 5 North Greenwich Rd. from a residential one-acre zone to the Professional Business Office (PBO) district.

Another 12 parking spaces on land that is now in the residential zone were proposed to accommodate the commercial tenants in the building, most notably ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic, said Jorel Vaccaro, the applicant’s engineer. There are currently 19 spaces at the site.

“They visit this commercial establishment on their own,” Vaccaro said of the physical therapy use. “There’s no real carpooling. Each (visitor) comes frequently, each one comes to drive because of the nature of the use. They also have offices, commercial offices, so there’s a need for more parking.”

However, about 10 residents on nearby Byram Brook Place and other addresses in close proximity urged the Town Board to reject the proposal because it could ruin the neighborhood.

“The prospect of having a parking lot as my new view from my house is deeply concerning,” said Byram Brook Place resident Diane Silva. “The scenic view of greenery, the sense of openness that many of us cherish would be replaced with views of parked cars, pavement and artificial lighting.”

Neighbors were still suspicious of the building owner after some were awakened to the noise of an apparently unauthorized car show in the parking lot of 5 North Greenwich Rd. on Sept. 10, a Sunday morning.

Stephanie Samaritano was one of several residents who said they were worried because rezoning just over half of the parcel could lead the property owner to one day expand the building.

Vaccaro later responded that there were no plans to enlarge the structure, mainly because its floor-area ratio of .19 is nearly at the allowable limit, although the owner could request a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Board members said they were uncomfortable with having the applicant pursue the zoning change with the level of disenchantment from the residents who turned out for last week’s public hearing. While Supervisor Michael Schiliro was open to the property owner’s representatives meeting with the residents to provide a chance to address their concerns, the remainder of the board concluded it would be pointless to continue the hearing with the current plan.

“Given the comments of the residents, in no way would I be okay to support this proposal,” said Councilman Saleem Hussain.

Councilman Matt Milim said if the two sides found agreement on a revised plan, the applicant could resubmit an application for a zoning change in the future.

However, it sounded as though there had been inadequate communication between the applicant and the neighbors, he said.

“This has been a tough experience for people in this neighborhood to deal with and I want them to have peace of mind, that for the time being it’s closed until something else can be discussed that’s amenable and everybody’s on the same page,” Milim said.


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