AREA NEWSThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Route 202 Developer Pushes for Rezoning in Yorktown

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Members of the Yorktown town Board discuss changing building permit regulations last Tuesday.
Members of the Yorktown town Board discuss changing building permit regulations last Tuesday.

Developer Charles Monoco, who owns the State Land Corp. parcel that is at the crux of plans to redevelop the economically blighted Route 202 corridor between Lexington Avenue and the Bear Mountain Parkway, visited the Yorktown Town Board work session Tuesday to discuss his frustration that his land has not yet been rezoned.

“You folks don’t realize that time is of the essence for me to have the property rezoned,” he said. “The rezoning is actually where it was when I started.

Monoco said that his uncertainty at the eventual fate of his land has made it difficult to attract big-name corporations to Yorktown.

The discussion came as part of a talk about moving forward with a forest management plan — essentially, a survey that produces an optional plan of attack for monitoring a healthy forest — for State Land, Sylvan Glen and Granite Knolls. A forest management plan has recently been successfully completed for Turkey Mountain.

Addressing the developer’s concerns, Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace said any scenario that saw Monoco transfer some land to open space or allow surveyors onto his land for a forest management plan would not jeopardize rezoning.

“This isn’t going to interrupt or delay or push back your rezoning application. That’s moving forward anyway,” he said.

Councilman Terrence Murphy said it was important to make it clear to Monoco that the town board would be a team player.

But Councilman Nick Bianco criticized that sort of mentality.

“To believe that we have to give something to get something … the town suffers,” he said.

Bill Kellner, chairman of Yorktown’s tree advisory commission, said it was important to remember that both the initial approval of surveyors coming onto the land to complete a forest management plan and the enforcement of any FMP recommendations were optional.

“Recommendations that come out of this plan are not binding,” he said. “They can be implemented or not on the discretion of the landowner.”

Grace said he hoped any forest management plan for the three properties in question would also feature a regional drainage plan, as water issues are among the biggest concerns relating to any Route 202 revitalization.

The board also discussed a potential new process for building permit fees and renewals.

Bianco said it was important that there was a set end date at which point there could be no more renewals, to protect neighbors from unsightly eyesores and projects that are never completed.

“It just can’t go on and on and on,” he said. “There’s got to be some people in this town, and I’m not saying everybody, that they take advantage of things.”

Murphy said it’s important to lessen the financial burden of initial building permit fees and subsequent renewal fees, because their high price tag currently encourages people to be delinquent.

“The fees — that’s where you’re hitting them in the pocket, and that’s why they’re hiding,” he said.

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