These are the questions and comments received at the April 29, 2014, May 10, 2014, May 22, 2014, June 2, 2014 and June 12, 2014, CPSC Outreach Meetings, and questions and comments received to email@example.com and by mail.
I. Process – Related Questions/Comments
II. Sustainability – Related Questions/Comments
III. Flooding/Hazard Mitigation – Related Questions/Comments
IV. Environmental/Tree – Related Questions/Comments
V. Economic – Related Questions/Comments
VI. School Impact – Related Questions/Comments
VII. Land-Use – Related Questions/Comments
VIII. Traffic/Transportation – Related Questions/Comments
IX. Parking – Related Questions/Comments
I. Process – Related Questions/Comments
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: It seems that applicants obtain variances fairly easy here in Greenburgh.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Area and use variances are within the purview of the Town of Greenburgh Zoning Board of Appeals. Variances are granted or denied based on prescribed criteria established as part of New York State Town law.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: It appears that there is always a predetermined yes/no determination in the land-use board process.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Decisions of the Town of Greenburgh land-use boards are based on a variety of factors including the Code of the Town of Greenburgh and the New York State environmental review process (SEQRA).
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Why is a Comprehensive Plan being done for the Town?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Comprehensive plans provide a municipality with an opportunity to plan for the future, utilizing community input. The Town does not currently have a policy document that takes into account all aspects of municipal concern.
The Plan for the Town seeks to protect neighborhoods while providing for enhanced quality of life and economic growth. The Plan addresses issues related to land use, cohesive neighborhoods, open space, recreation, transportation, healthy and sustainable buildings, affordable housing, historic preservation, Town infrastructure, economic development and impacts related to the new Tappan Zee Bridge.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Instead of Planning in ways that are dependent upon a developer, the Plan should focus on aspects that can be controlled.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The Plan seeks to promote policies that can benefit residents, businesses, the Town as a municipality and, as appropriate, private developers.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: It is of utmost importance that the Plan be explicit. The Plan as currently prepared could be taken out of context at some point in the future.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The CPSC has used the five outreach meetings and comments received in writing to understand which aspects of the Plan may need further clarification.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Regarding the Q&A, it is hoped that the answers make it into the next draft of the Plan.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The CPSC is in the process of modifying the March 21, 2014 draft of the Plan based on comments received. After completion of these revisions, a second draft will be released for public review. The CPSC will hold a public hearing on the revised draft. Based on comments received at that public hearing, further edits may be made, prior to submitting the Plan to the Town Board.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: It is important to have as much up front analysis as possible to support the recommended policies.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The Plan will incorporate additional up front analysis, if appropriate, based on the current research being done to formulate the second draft.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: If the next draft of the Plan is done properly (concepts explicitly laid out), there should not be a need for future Q&A.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The CPSC does not envision preparing additional Q&A following the public hearing for the forthcoming second CPSC draft.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: The Plan should have a glossary or, at a minimum, a link to the Zoning Ordinance or other document that can assist the reader.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The Plan uses call-out boxes for terms that are not commonly used. The CPSC will explore the use of hyperlinks to the Code of the Town of Greenburgh.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: There should be a way to better involve the community in the ZBA, Planning Board and Town Board process. A better mechanism for community involvement should not exclusively be planned only in connection with a charrette process.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Promoting successful and enhanced community involvement in all aspects of Town government is a guiding principle of the Plan. Posting of land-use board application materials on the Town website as soon as they are given a number is strongly recommended by the CPSC.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Have the civic groups of Greenburgh been involved? Would they be involved in the charrette process?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: At the five CPSC outreach meetings several residents spoke on behalf of their respective civic associations. Comment letters on the Plan from civic associations have been sent directly to Town staff. It is anticipated that local civic associations would be participants in the charrette process.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Is there going to be an Environmental Impact Statement prepared in connection with the Plan?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: A Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) will be prepared in connection with and prior to the adoption of the Plan.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Has there been input from residents living in multi-family residences?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: There has been input from residents who reside in multifamily units, from throughout the Town.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: In connection with mixed use zones, Section 12.8 of the Draft proposes to allow non-statutory changes to the Town’s zoning laws, by setting up a regulation-based non-statutory “parallel zoning code.”
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Any parallel zoning provisions used as a result of the Plan’s recommendations would be a part of the Town’s Zoning Ordinance and would be voted upon by the Town Board in a manner no different from other zoning text changes.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: There are reasons why the law provides for the elected officials on the Town Board, after SEQRA environmental review, to be the authority to establish and change zoning within a municipality. From an environmental perspective, this places the ultimate responsibility for environmental policy with a municipality’s highest elected officials. Why should this be overridden? From an environmental point-of-view, the CAC does not believe that any non-elected body or official(s) should be allowed to alter the zoning laws or set up non-statutory zones.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: There are no recommendations to override the Town Board’s authority to establish and change zoning within Greenburgh. The legislative authority to create a parallel zone would remain with the Town Board.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Did you share the plan with the Village of Scarsdale and other neighboring municipalities? If so, what was their reaction?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The draft Plan was sent to the Village of Scarsdale and every other neighboring municipality. To date no written comments have been received. It should be noted that the referral to neighboring municipalities was done as a courtesy. The formal referral will take place when the Town Board receives a draft Plan from the CPSC and begins the SEQRA process for that draft.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Did you share this plan with the County Police who are responsible for the Bronx River Parkway? If so, what was their reaction?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The draft Plan was sent to the Westchester County Planning Department, which is the lead department for Westchester County referrals. Formal comments from the County are not expected until the Town Board sends the final draft to Westchester County.
NEW 6/11/14 Question: Where is the Consultant who was contracted to work on the Plan?
NEW 6/11/14 Response: The Consultant contracted to assist the CPSC in the preparation of the Plan is no longer part of the process. The Consultant was hired as part of a thirty (30) month contract, which began in 2008. The Consultant completed a scope of work consistent with, and beyond that stated in the contract. The CPSC subsequently added to the scope of the Plan.
NEW 6/11/14 Comment: Although there were focus groups and public participation in 2008 and 2009, there appears to be a lack of public participation when considering the current iteration of the Plan.
NEW 6/11/14 Response: Public participation has been excellent in terms of quality and quantity. To encourage this, the CPSC carried out a Town-wide mailing (to roughly 10,200 households) soliciting comments at any of the five CPSC public outreach meetings, specifically held on different days of the week, including a Saturday. Comments have also been provided by phone (during outreach meetings only), through mail, and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no Town or state requirement that the CPSC hold such outreach meetings; however, a total of five will have been held as part of the CPSC-selected process. There is only a requirement that the CPSC hold a public hearing on the Plan. To be responsive to concerns raised by residents, the CPSC is not conducting the public hearing on the date originally selected. The later date will provide an opportunity to modify the document in response to comments received from the public. A second draft of the Plan will be released with ample time for continued public review, prior to an as yet unset public hearing. This modification in process was chosen to allow for maximum continued public participation.
NEW 6/11/14 Comment/Question: Understanding that there will be a modified Plan that would precede review by the Town Board, the process makes more sense. Can this process be spelled out for further clarification?
NEW 6/11/14 Response: The CPSC recognizes that June 12 is not a realistic date for the required Public Hearing based on the comments received and the clarifications and changes needed to be made to the document. Therefore, June 12 will be another opportunity, another “outreach meeting,” for the public to provide input to the CPSC on the Plan before it is redrafted for consideration at a later Public Hearing. At least 30 days will be provided from the time the revision is published to the time the required Public Hearing is held to give everyone an opportunity to read the Revised Plan and provide comment.
Question: In what format will residents who ask questions or make comments be responded to and when.
Response: Comments/Questions received by the CPSC will be discussed at regularly scheduled CPSC meetings. Responses will be generated and posted on the Comprehensive Plan Website www.greenburghcomprehensiveplan.com
Question: Can question and answer (Q and A) documents prepared by the Town contain a blog/comment space for residents to ask follow-up questions or make follow-up comments?
Response: The Plan website will have each comment/question grouped by category to allow for ease of follow-up. Additional questions and comments can be sent email@example.com
Question: What is a charrette?
Response: A charrette is a group of focused planning sessions where residents, business owners, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development.
Question: What is a GEIS?
Response: A Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) is a required document of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) which looks at project or plan impacts and potential mitigations. It is prepared as a separate and complementary document and will be completed prior to adoption of the final Plan.
Question: Can approval of the Plan be subject to a referendum?
Response: New York State Town Law does not authorize the approval of Comprehensive Plans via a referendum – direct vote of Town residents.
Question: Can a timeline of the Plan process be generated and made available.
Response: Section 1.10 – Public Review Process of the DRAFT Plan (Page 1-10) assigns a general timeframe of the Plan process. The Plan’s website www.greenburghcomprehensiveplan.com will have periodic updates including Plan process dates.
Question: Is there a way to provide a summary of the recommendations.
Response: The Plan intentionally does not include an executive summary. Each chapter of the Plan is deemed to have uniform importance, and is intended to have overlapping/interconnected policies.
Comment: The CPSC should strive to make sure there is community buy in of the plan.
Response: The CPSC strives for community buy in. The two outreach meetings to date have been very helpful in terms of better understanding the quality of life perspectives of residents. The comments received will result in a modified draft with a goal of obtaining full support from the community.
In addition to the April 29, 2014 and May 10, 2014 CPSC outreach meetings, the CPSC will hold additional meetings on Thursday, May 22nd at 7:30pm, Monday, June 2nd at 7:30pm and Thursday, June 12th at 7:30 pm. The Town Hall Auditorium was selected so that the meetings could be televised on cable access TV and rebroadcast. The meetings are also streamed on the Town’s website. Hard copies of the Plan are available at the Greenburgh Public Library, Town Hall and the Theodore D. Young Community Center.
Comment/Question: Past experience indicates that the views of some residents are ignored. As an example, residents do not appear to support the development of a more intense private recreational component on Dobbs Ferry Road, in the vicinity of Frank’s Nursery; however, it appears that the Town Board is leaning towards facilitating more intense private recreational development at this location. What are the implications of this perceived disconnect, in regards to the Comprehensive Plan.
Response: Section 1.1 – Comprehensive Plan Introduction (Page 1-1) states, “…once adopted, all policies and municipal laws, including local zoning regulations, must be consistent with the plan.” An adopted Plan, based on a community derived vision for the future is a strong document that will guide land use decisions going forward. The CPSC encourages broad and continued community input into the development of the Plan through to its adoption. It is important that the public continues to participate.
Comment: In terms of process, there is a concern that the Town Board can have views related to the Plan that are inconsistent with public input that will be received throughout the Plan’s review process. The concern is that components of the Plan can be modified towards the very final stages of the Plan adoption process.
Response: See previous response above. All modifications to the draft Plan, regardless of the stage of adoption process that they are made, are subject to the SEQR process. The Plan, when adopted, must be consistent with the GEIS findings made in support of the Plan.
Comment/Question: The Plan is too comprehensive, may be difficult to implement. Similarly noted were the seemingly large number of policies and related action items. Can the policies be prioritized?
Response: Chapter 13.0 Implementation and Monitoring, directs the reader as to How the Plan will be implemented, Who will implement it, and When it will be implemented. The Plan, once adopted, will be a guide for residents, elected officials, land-use board appointees, Town employees and others to utilize.
Question: Do all of the CPSC members support each aspect of the Plan? Are there minority opinions?
Response: The CPSC to date voted to release the draft Plan for public comment. It is not realistic to expect nine (9) diverse members of a committee to unanimously support each and every element of a 400+ page document. As a result of the comments received from the public at the four outreach meetings and subsequent CPSC public hearing, changes to the Plan will be made and sent to the Town Board.
Question: What community indicators (noted in Chapter 4.0 – Health and Well-Being) has the Town used to date and will community indicators be used going forward?
Response: In connection with the Plan’s formulation, Community Indicators (Section 4.6, Page 4-6) were used. Section 1.4.1 Comprehensive Plan Input Survey (Page 1-4) references the survey, which is contained in its entirety as Appendix A of the Plan. A summary of the visioning meetings is provided in Appendix B. The CPSC met with school districts and the business community (Appendix C) as well, to solicit input. Going forward, community indicators are recommended to be used. Policy 22.214.171.124 (Page 4-9) states, “Utilize community indicators as a way of gauging the successful implementation of quality of life policies.”
The charrettes for each planning area will be used as community indicators. Residents attending the charrettes will have a forum to state the aspects of their respective neighborhood that are favorable or lacking. Each of the planning areas or nodes are not necessarily intended to include a residential component. If at the charrette, it is deemed that a residential component does not enhance the respective planning area, the findings of the charrette would be reflective of this. In such an instance, an alternate combination of uses such as commercial and retail may be more appropriate.
Chapter 13.0 – Implementation and Monitoring, contains policies that will result in Town staff generated annual reports. Such reports will cover policy implementation and contain correlations to quality of life.
Comment: There is no New York State requirement to have a Comprehensive Plan. This whole process is not necessary. Zoning map and zoning text amendments occur without the need for a Plan. Regional entities (Westchester County, New York State, neighboring municipalities) do not have to comply with the Town’s comprehensive Plan, further devaluing the need for a Plan.
Response: The New York State Department of State (http://www.dos.ny.gov/) technical guide, “Zoning and the Comprehensive Plan,” revised 2009, states: “New York’s zoning enabling statutes (the state statutes which give cities, towns and villages the power to enact local zoning laws) all require that zoning laws be adopted in accordance with a comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan should provide the backbone for the local zoning law.”
Town Law Article 16 (Zoning and Planning) Section 261 empowers the Town Board “to regulate and restrict the height, number of stories and size of buildings, and other structures, the percentage of lot that may be occupied, the size of yards, courts, and other open spaces, the density of population, and the location and use of buildings, structures and land for trade, industry, residence or other purposes; provided that such regulations shall apply to and affect only such part of a town as is outside the limits of any incorporated village or city…” The Town Board is not required to regulate land use but it is empowered to do so.
Similarly, the Town is not required to have a Comprehensive Plan but, if it adopts zoning regulations, must do so in accordance with a comprehensive plan, pursuant to Town Law Section 263, which states: “Such regulations shall be made in accordance with a comprehensive plan and designed to lessen congestion in the streets; to secure safety from fire, flood, panic and other dangers; to promote health and general welfare; …” [Emphasis added]
Town Law Section 272-a(b) states: “Among the most important powers and duties granted by the legislature to a town government is the authority and responsibility to undertake town comprehensive planning and to regulate land use for the purpose of protecting the public health, safety and general welfare of its citizens.”
Town Law Section 272(c) states: The development and enactment by the town government of a town comprehensive plan which can be readily identified, and is available for use by the public, is in the best interest of the people of each town.”
In accordance with the above, the Town Board authorized a Comprehensive Plan be prepared.
Comment: The CPSC public hearing scheduled for Thursday, June 12, 2014 should be postponed.
Response: The comment will be taken into consideration leading up to the June 12, 2014 meeting. The CPSC looks forward to continued comments.
Comment: The intentions of the Plan should be identified up front/as soon as possible, before June 12, 2014 (the scheduled date of the CPSC public hearing).
Response: The intentions of the Plan are to maintain and enhance our residents’ quality of life, promote community character and support a strong and diverse tax base.
II. Sustainability – Related Questions/Comments
Comment: Page 3-14 contains a photograph which identifies the Westhab building as LEED Certifiable; however, my understanding is that the building was never certified through the U.S. Green Building Council.
Response: The caption in the Plan identifying the building as certifiable is correct. The building contains “green” elements which make it LEEDTM “certifiable,” benefitting the site and the community. “Certification” by an applicant is voluntary.
Comment: A better approach to Chapter 3.0 (Sustainability) may be to note that there is an understanding of the benefits of limiting greenhouse gases as opposed to the seemingly overly-specific references of greenhouse gas projections that are in the chapter.
Response: Chapter 3.0 notes the benefits of limiting greenhouse gases, while providing background data. It builds on the Town of Greenburgh’s draft Climate Action Plan and the Mid-Hudson Regional Sustainability Plan, both of which supply baseline data and benchmark goals. In addition, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s new environmental assessment form has evolved into a metric-based document, in terms of project impacts in connection with air quality.
Comment: LEED Certified Buildings alone do not lead to successful occupancy of office buildings.
Comment: The design of the library does not make sense from an energy design perspective.
Response: The design of the library preceded the release of the Plan.
Question: The night sky portion of the Plan (Section 6.7 – Night Sky and Light Pollution, Page 6-24) should include discussion of buildings and structures, to address sports bubbles.
Response: Buildings, structures and signage are all components that can impact the quality of night sky. The Plan will be reviewed to reflect each of these components as needed.
III. Flooding/Hazard Mitigation – Related Questions/Comments
Comment: The Plan should have a greater emphasis on flooding mitigation, particularly in the Fulton Park and Parkway Gardens portion of unincorporated Greenburgh.
Response: Stormwater run-off (Page 8-16) and flooding (Page 8-20) are major components of Chapter 8.0 Public Infrastructure. Section 8.4.4 – Stormwater Best Management Practices (Page 8-22) contains several mechanisms that Town staff and Town of Greenburgh land use boards can require applicants to use in land use development projects. As an MS-4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) Community (Page 8-17 thru 8-19), unincorporated Greenburgh is required to address water quantity and water quality.
Question: What are the impacts of infill subdivision with respect to stormwater runoff concerns?
Response: While impervious surface coverage in the Town may increase with each new development project, the Town’s current stormwater management law (Chapter 248 of the Code of the Town of Greenburgh) provides a mechanism for regulatory stormwater oversight and mitigations. In addition, the best management practices cited in the previous response, are used, and will continue to be required by the Planning Board (the Town’s land use board that approves subdivision applications).
Question: How does the Plan address security and safety concerns, particularly in the instances where new development is advocated? Will there be sufficient police and fire coverage? Will new development add to the emergency response time of the Town in a way that exacerbates problems incurred during major catastrophes such as hurricanes and major flooding?
Response: The Plan’s GEIS as well as any project-specific SEQRA process will address impacts including the potential demand for additional community services (police and fire). In addition, Section 4.7 Design and Planning for Security and Safety (Page 4-7) is an important component of the Plan and directly responds to several aspects of the question.
Question: Are the potential impacts from events like Sandy accounted for in the Plan? Will changes need to be made from major storm events, in terms of the Town budget? Should a sub-group or sub-committee be formed to focus on hazard mitigation? The Plan only contains one reference (Page 8-32) to this topic. It incorporates by reference, the Town’s Comprehensive All-Hazards Emergency Management and Mitigation Plan, adopted two years before Sandy. Should the building code require backup generators in medical facilities and gas stations? Would shrubbery and tree control improve street visibility and reduce hazards of falling tree limbs? Should new development require underground power lines? How can the Comprehensive Plan be considered until hazard mitigation is given more attention.
Response: The Town has an adopted Comprehensive All-Hazards Emergency Management and Mitigation Plan that undergoes periodic review. The Comprehensive Plan complements the Town’s Comprehensive All-Hazards Emergency Management and Mitigation Plan. Town staff and first responders will continue to learn from major catastrophes.
Question: Do we have emergency equipment for taller buildings?
Response: Yes. Westchester County emergency response and the respective fire districts and fire protection districts that serve unincorporated Greenburgh have adequate equipment to respond to emergencies at existing buildings. The Plan does not advocate for buildings of a specific height. As part of the GEIS process for the Plan, fire officials serving fire districts and fire protection districts in unincorporated Greenburgh will be consulted to ensure the continued adequacy of emergency equipment.
Comment: Police presence is not spread uniformly throughout unincorporated Greenburgh.
Response: For the purposes of policing, unincorporated Greenburgh is divided into sectors and the police force is deployed as needed into each sector.
Question: Can the police force handle the impacts of new development?
Response: All new development projects will be evaluated through the SEQRA process.As part of the GEIS process for the Plan, the Town of Greenburgh Police Chief and Traffic Safety Control Officer will be consulted to ensure public safety-related issues are addressed.
IV. Environmental/Tree – Related Questions/Comments
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: The draft Plan should be revised to take into account the presence of bedrock with respect to its treatment of steep slopes, soils and water runoff.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The connection between the presence of bedrock and steep slope areas, soils and stormwater runoff will be made in the next draft of the Plan.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Objective 6.2.1 should encompass, at least, (a) preserving the environmental values of existing trees with replacement trees and (b) protecting downslope properties from impacts resulting from new development.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Objective 6.2.1 will be supplemented with “…supporting the preservation of existing, healthy, mature trees…”
Protecting downslope properties from tree-removal related impacts resulting from new development may be better served if added as a Policy under Objective 6.1.1., which pertains to steep slope preservation.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Tree canopy, as referred to in Policy 126.96.36.199, is not the appropriate standard in connection with replacement trees because it does not factor in (a) the environmental value of the trees proposed to be removed, in terms of CO2 removal, water absorption and breathable particulate matter removal, and (b) the effect on downslope properties from water runoff even if the tree canopy formula is met by trees on the upslope portion of the property from which the trees are proposed to be removed.
Policy 188.8.131.52 is recommended to be revised so that (i) the base standard for a tree replacement be a matrix which takes into account CO2 removal, gallons of water absorption and removal of particulate matter and (ii) additional consideration with respect to tree replacements be given, where appropriate based on the particular property and water runoff impacts on downslope properties.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Utilization of the USDA’s Forest Service i-Tree software suite would be beneficial for determining the environmental impacts of tree removal on a parcel by parcel basis. It may also provide valuable information in determining appropriate tree replacements on a site. Town Staff will research if this set of tools would be practical for a large scale development proposal where a significant number of trees were proposed for removal.
With respect to the potential impacts of tree removal on downslope properties, standards could be implemented in connection with the Town’s Tree Technical Manual.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: The policy of 184.108.40.206 of conducting an unincorporated Greenburgh-wide (18-20 sq. miles) street tree survey seems like a waste of taxpayer monies. Rather, what is important, and does not require the cost and/or expenditure of time of a town-wide survey, is the trees on a particular property from which trees are proposed to be removed. Also, the purpose of using any matrix, such as referred to in Policy 220.127.116.11, should be primarily to determine the environmental value, not solely the dollar value.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Supporting a Town wide street (right-of-way only) tree survey utilizing i-Tree (or comparable program) would be worthwhile. i-Tree Streets is an analysis tool for urban forest managers that uses tree inventory data to quantify the dollar value of annual environmental and aesthetic benefits: energy conservation, air quality improvement, CO2 reduction, stormwater control, and property value increase.
i-Tree is an easy-to-use, computer-based program that allows a community (trained volunteers/interns) to conduct a street tree inventory for analysis by professional staff. Baseline data can be used to effectively manage the resource, develop policy and set priorities. Utilizing the inventory conducted would allow Town staff to evaluate current benefits and costs, and identify management needs, including, but not limited to, development of tree pruning and inspection cycles, tree removal, prioritization of tree planting projects, and species diversification.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Objective 6.4.1 should not only be limited to the development review process. Wetland/watercourse best management practices should not only be limited to the when development activities take place, but should be required to be specified on plans and in approval conditions.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Policy 18.104.22.168 states: “Continue to incorporate best management practices with respect to wetland/watercourse and related buffer areas during development review processes.” The development review processes noted in the policy are inclusive of the Town’s land-use board (Town Board, Planning Board, etc.) reviews and decisions; however, for clarification purposes, the policy can be modified to read, “Continue to incorporate best management practices with respect to wetland/watercourse and related buffer areas as part of land-use board review and approval conditions.”
NEW 8/21/14 Comment/Question: Policy 22.214.171.124 should be made clearer with respect to exemption provisions. Does the policy intend to exempt a property with a house in a wetland/watercourse buffer from review with the Planning Board?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The policy would not exempt properties with a house in a wetland/watercourse buffer from review with the Planning Board; however, it would allow for an exemption for in kind replacements or minor activities taking place in pre-disturbed areas.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Section 6.5 correctly recognizes the importance of “contiguous tracts” for corridors. But, Objective 6.6.1 limits corridors to “open spaces”. Corridors can, and do, exist in residential areas. Why should not the limitation to “open spaces” be removed and the objective be expanded to cover corridors in residential areas?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Preserving wooded areas/open space within developed neighborhoods and developed sites can provide a wildlife/vegetation corridor. Section 6.5 and Objective 6.6.1 can be adjusted to reflect this.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: The Comprehensive Plan should contain a Policy that, when appropriate large tracts of land become available and if funds are available or can be raised consistent with the Town’s overall fiscal planning, additional open spaces be acquired by the Town to provide environmentally beneficial sites and corridors.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The fourth paragraph on Page 7-25 has a heading “Property Purchase” which is an open space preservation strategy. Policy 126.96.36.199 on Page 7-30 states, “Explore the feasibility of purchasing future lands for open space/park purposes.”
NEW 8/21/14 Comment/Question: Recycling organic waste has a number of environmental benefits, such as reducing the amount of solid waste to be dealt with. This would also have a financial savings of permitting less frequent collections of solid waste. Additionally, organic waste can generate compost. If the Town needs fertilizer or fill, this permits an additional cost savings. If not, the compost can be sold as fertilizer for revenue. Recycling of organic waste is practiced by other municipalities. For example, New York City is now collecting organic waste from 30,000 single family homes and is planning to expand to 100,000 households.
Policy 188.8.131.52 states that solid waste composting and recycling strategies will be required for new development projects. Does this include organic waste? Also, why does this not also include existing and new commercial and residential properties?
The CAC recommends that organic waste collection and recycling for all properties, and implementation of an appropriate organic waste recycling facility for Unincorporated Greenburgh (perhaps with one or more Villages), be part of the Comprehensive Plan.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The sections and policies of the Plan related to recycling were not intended to preclude any viable form of recycling. The section will be reviewed to ensure that recycling strategies are not too narrowly focused.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Commercial lighting throughout the Fairview portion of Town is often on all night long. The lighting is typically too high and not downcast.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The Code of the Town of Greenburgh requires that all illuminated business signs shall be extinguished 1/2 hour after the premises are closed to the public. Such signs shall be controlled by automatic devices. Violations related to lighting should be brought to the attention of the Building Department.
The Plan contains Policy 184.108.40.206 (Page 6-27), which states, “Encourage the utilization of motion sensor site lighting and/or lighting timed for a shorter duration of illumination.” Such policies will result in applicants incorporating these components into new site design. Section 240-2 (Illumination) of the Code of the Town of Greenburgh requires that lighting shall be the minimum necessary to provide for the security of the property and that the lighting be downcast.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Where trees exist in close proximity to overhead wires, the trees are pruned excessively in a way that makes them unsafe and unhealthy.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The Town is promoting a “right tree, right place” for new trees in rights-of-way. This entails locating trees back from an existing utility line in combination with selecting new trees that do not grow to a height that would interfere with utility lines.
Policy 220.127.116.11 (Page 6-25) states, “Support a Town of Greenburgh Tree Technical Manual to complement Chapter 260 (Trees) and act as a policy guide for tree related matters.” This draft Tree Technical Manual contains tree pruning best management practices. In addition, any major redevelopment could lead to the installation of underground wires, which eliminates the need to prune trees around overhead wires.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: The preservation of trees are a key factor in enhancing quality of life in the Town.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Section 6.3.4. of the draft Plan (Page 6-11) expresses a similar sentiment.
Question: Is the Town ordinance regarding trees—their care and removal—a part of the comprehensive plan or is that a separate issue?
Response: Section 6.3.4 – The Code of the Town of Greenburgh (Chapter 260) regulates trees in unincorporated Greenburgh. The draft Plan contains several policy recommendations regarding tree coverage (Goal 6.2, Page 6-25). Proposed amendments to Chapter 260 are anticipated to be presented to the Town Board after adoption of the Comprehensive Plan. Trees and Canopy Coverage (Page 6-11) discusses various aspects of tree care and removal.
Comment/Question: The current tree ordinance (and its provision allowing neighboring property owners to appeal the issuance of a tree removal permit) makes living on an acre of land a burden and hindrance. Will my neighbors have the right to object and prevent me from removing a tree even if a permit has been granted?
Response: Any proposed amendment(s) to the tree ordinance will have an associated public hearing process, which will present Town residents with an opportunity to voice their concerns related to the tree ordinance.
Question: Please explain “canopy coverage” usage in the plan?
Response: Canopy coverage is a metric based approach to shade tree adequacy which is the basis for its use in the Plan. Canopy coverage standards is a concept that will be considered as part of any amendment to the tree ordinance. Policy 18.104.22.168 states, “Consider the use of tree canopy standards in connection with tree replacements.” Canopy coverage standards are not a current component of the existing tree ordinance.
Question: At what circumference size and how far from the ground will a permit be required to remove a tree? If a tree is removed, will consideration be given to the number of trees remaining on the property or will the owner be made to plant a tree in its place and have the type of replacement determined by someone other than the property owner?
Response: These details will be looked into further as part of any proposed amendments to Chapter 260 (Trees). Any proposed Town Code amendment will have a public hearing associated with it.
Question: From what I read, I believe all properties in the Town will be treated equitably and the restrictions placed on properties over one acre will be dropped. Is that correct?
Response: Policy 22.214.171.124 (Page 6-25) states, “Amend Chapter 260 (Trees) of the Code of the Town of Greenburgh to address properties of less than one acre.” Properties over one acre are currently subject to the existing tree law. It is not anticipated that any tree law related amendment will remove regulation of properties greater than one acre.
Comment: There are existing and former uses within the Central Park Avenue and Route 119 corridors that may have contributed environmental contamination. There should be a study of these sites to see the extent that they need to be remediated.
Response: Phase I Environmental Site Analyses deemed necessary will be required in connection with redevelopment projects.
V. Economic – Related Questions/Comments
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: I think Central Park Avenue is a wonderful section of retail that addresses many of our needs. I would like to see the town try to entice larger chains that can afford to expand, such as Chipotle.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Many policies of the Plan are intended to improve the three major corridors and make them more conducive to private investment. The businesses that choose to locate in the Town are significantly driven by the market and negotiations with property owners.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Can the Plan facilitate new upscale retail options in Greenburgh?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: There is a greater potential for new upscale retail options in the portions of unincorporated Greenburgh where site development is designed with high quality architecture, enhanced landscaping and better pedestrian amenities. Each of these design elements are a part of the Plan.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: If East Hartsdale Avenue is redeveloped, it is important to retain existing long term commercial tenants that have contributed to the area’s success.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Agreed, to the extent property owners continue to rent to such businesses.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: We are not attracting good development within the Greenburgh Central School District.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The Plan contains numerous policies to continue to retain and attract good development.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: The only types of businesses that seem like they can survive on East Hartsdale Avenue are restaurants.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The types of businesses that locate in an area are responsive to market conditions. Economic diversity is a positive trait and a component of Chapter 11.0 (Economic Development). It is important to maintain and to attract businesses that provide services in close proximity to where residents reside, particularly in a walkable portion of Town such as in the East Hartsdale corridor.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: We need retail businesses in Greenburgh; however, it appears that the high taxes are precluding businesses from opening or remaining successful.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Taxes in Greenburgh are competitive with surrounding communities. There are many factors which spur new businesses to open and remain successful. Chapter 11.0 (Economic Development) discusses market dynamics, trends and projections, and business retention/expansion.
NEW 6/11/14 Comment: Rateables are needed; there are too many tax exempt properties in the Fairview portion of the Town.
NEW 6/11/14 Response: It is recognized that the percentage of assessable land area that is tax exempt is greater within the Fairview portion of the Town. The only control the Town has for locating a tax-exempt property coincides with the siting of a new municipal building. However, the Plan contains several economic development strategies throughout the Town. Within the Fairview portion of the Town, there are opportunity areas consisting of three (3) planned nodes: The Greenburgh Library District Center, The Riley Pond District Center and the Greenburgh Gateway Transit Oriented Development. Rezoning strategies associated with lands currently zoned Urban Renewal are also intended to promote economic development. In response to comments at a recent outreach meeting, the CPSC will be considering the addition of a fourth planned node, in the vicinity of Manhattan Avenue and Crossroad Shopping Center, to further enhance economic viability.
NEW 6/11/14 Question: Will implementation of the Plan cause my house/property value to go down?
NEW 6/11/14 Response: Implementation of the draft Plan, consistent with its guiding principles (Table 1.2 on Page 1-7) are expected have no negative impacts on property values Town-wide.
NEW 6/11/14 Comment: The Plan should include a fiscal analysis that documents tax expenditures vs. revenues for each taxing district in the Town.
NEW 6/11/14 Response: More emphasis on fiscal analyses will be a component of the modified Plan and will be a part of the GEIS associated with the Plan. This analysis will include an assessment of all the taxing districts of the Town.
NEW 6/11/14 Question: What type of commercial development does the Plan envision?
NEW 6/11/14 Response: The Plan supports the existing successful commercial, office and industrial mix of uses in the Town. Generally, the Plan advocates for better site design (more greenspace, better pedestrian-friendly amenities and safer shopping areas), as opposed to advocating for specific commercial uses. Within planning areas, should non-residential uses be combined with residential uses, it is likely that smaller stores or restaurants would occupy these spaces, as opposed to larger big box retailers, which is a function of the size of such new development.
The draft Plan also advocates for research and development and R&D-supportive uses in the envisioned northern and southern biotech cluster (Section 12.11 – Research and Development Clusters, Pages 12-68 thru 12-72) planning areas.
Comment/Question: During Town staff’s introduction of the Plan, there was a reference to 60% of residents with college degrees. A connection was made that Plan policies are intended to take advantage of the high percentage of graduate degrees of the residents. A request for further explanation of this aspect of the Plan was made.
Response: The research and development/biotech industry commonly seek to locate in regions with high concentrations of universities and highly educated residents. Unincorporated Greenburgh has these two advantages: the prevalence of the Mid-Hudson Region’s high concentration of colleges and universities and approximately 60 percent of residents having a bachelor’s degree or higher (Table 11.7 – Educational Attainment; Page 11-9). As part of developing the northern and southern biotech clusters (Section 12.11 – Research and Development Clusters, Pages 12-68 thru 12-72) and supporting the existing commercial businesses, Greenburgh is well positioned to support and allow for expansion of existing companies and new companies looking to relocate.
Comment/Question: Tax certioraris appear to be a prevalent problem in the Town. What is the anticipated impact of the Plan on tax certioraris?
Response: Specific tax-related impacts associated with implementation of the Plan will be a component of the Plan’s GEIS. Separate from the Plan, the Town-wide reassessment that will take place over the next two years is anticipated to reduce issues related to tax certioraris.
Comment: The taxes experienced in the Town are too high.
Response: The implementation of numerous components of the Plan should increase rateables. An example of the potential for increased rateables is the northern and southern biotech cluster (Section 12.11 – Research and Development Clusters, Pages 12-68 thru 12-72) planning areas.
Comment/Question: A comment made during the presentation noted an example of a recent college graduate obtaining employment of approximately $50,000 a year who likely could not afford to buy a residence in the Town. Many or a majority of households contain two wage earners. A request for clarification on the example was made.
Response: Section 11.6.3 – Residential & Demographic Market Dynamics (Page 11-21) contains discussion regarding the types of housing young professionals seek.
Comment: Online sales have accelerated exponentially and have caused downsizing and store closings in small-to-mid box categories.
Response: Agreed. As stated in the Plan on Page 11-26, “Although increased consumer purchases are made through the use of the internet, local attractive, inviting and safe places to shop and socialize remain a viable component of the community.”
Comment: Residential growth that brings younger people with spendable income is good for business and that is sorely needed.
Comment: The Plan does not address taxes, the WestHELP property or the $5,000,000 settlement from the Fortress Bible project.
Response: The Plan addresses taxes by facilitating the potential for fiscally responsible development. The Plan is a twenty-year plan for the future.
Question: How would implementation of the Plan impact Fire Department, School, Town and County taxes?
Response: Fiscally responsible development entails assessing the impacts to related taxing entities to ensure that there is a positive tax revenue benefit for the school district, the fire district and the town. An analysis will be done for each taxing district as part of the Plan’s GEIS and subsequent individual project reviews.
Comment: There is an asymmetric tax structure for one-family residences and multi-family residences, which has implications for the school districts.
Response: The tax structure is defined by New York State. Any proposed development would have to take this tax structure into account.
Question: How does the Plan interplay with the Town’s scheduled assessment revaluation?
Response: They are not related.
Comment: The Plan should not take a one size fits all approach to development in the Town, but rather explore development that has contributed to the stability of rateables and replicate it in ways that make sense to promote economic vitality in all the communities in the Town.
Response: Agreed. The Plan does not advocate for a one size fits all approach to development.
Comment: Implementation of the nodes will adversely impact residential property values.
Response: Implementation of the nodes is expected to positively impact residential property values.
VI. School Impact – Related Questions/Comments
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: The Plan should address safety around school buildings.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The existence of sidewalks are components noted in the Plan. Enhanced coordination with the school districts could result in additional recommended safety measures. The Plan advocates for safe access to schools.
NEW 6/11/14 Comment: The school systems should not be made to be overcrowded.
NEW 6/11/14 Response: Each school district of the Town has and will continue to be consulted in connection with the Plan’s ongoing formulation to ensure that any potential for overcrowding is addressed.
Comment: The Plan does not appear to address impacts to school districts.
Response: Impacts to school districts are an important component of any comprehensive plan. Section 1.11 – The Plan’s Adoption Process (Page 1-11), notes that a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS), “prepared as a separate and complementary document, will be completed prior to adoption of the final Plan.” Although the development densities of each of the planning areas cannot be determined until a project-specific SEQRA process (based on the charrette findings and subsequent zoning enabling legislation), the GEIS associated with the Plan will look at several hypothetical alternatives including a “no change/existing zoning alternative.” This no change/existing zoning alternative will be the comparative basis for a range of other alternatives that include a spectrum of hypothetical densities. In addition, the GEIS will address the impact of existing zoning districts that currently permit multi-family residences, such as the CA District.
Question: What is the extent of rateables expected to be generated, particularly in Edgemont, with implementation of the Plan. Will these rateables off-set the anticipated additional capital/operating cost to be incurred by the Edgemont School District with additional students entering into the District?
Response: Each of the planning areas is intended to contain a commercial component which generates significant tax rateables, particularly when compared with the revenue generated in an existing scenario. Complementary residential development, if deemed appropriate during the charrette process, could also generate tax revenue. The planned mixed-use areas have the potential to contain a residential component where appropriate, but are not intended to have only a residential building. The financial analysis done in connection with the GEIS for the Plan will look at the cumulative tax generations from each aspect of a mixed-use development.
Comment: It appears that the Plan aims to disproportionately maximize rateables in the Edgemont School District. Increased tax rateables strategies should be evenly spread throughout the Town.
Response: Figures 12.16 and 12.21 depict nine (9) planning areas or nodes. In addition, there are two (2) Research and Development Cluster Nodes, for a total of eleven (11) planning areas or nodes. Two (2) of these eleven (11) planning areas are fully located within the Edgemont School District and one (1) is partially located within the Edgemont School District. The Plan’s recommendations were based on uniform standards and are not specific to any school district.
It has been brought to the attention of the CPSC that the size of the planning areas on Figure 12.16 give an impression that large swaths of Central Park Avenue (specifically when viewing the Mt. Joy/Henry Street – Traditional Hamlet District & Ardsley Road/Central Park Avenue District Center areas) are intended to be redeveloped. Although not lot specific, the CPSC will closely revisit each of the planning areas and modify their depiction on Figure 12.16 as deemed appropriate.
Question: How many students per unit are anticipated as part of any new neighborhood node development? How would those projections compare with the existing ratios of students per unit, particularly in multifamily residential developments?
Response: The CPSC encourages the use of local data, which provides a breakdown of existing students per unit in various types of dwellings (single-family homes, multi-family residences). As part of the Plan’s GEIS process, statistical data will be compiled which looks at existing ratios of students per multi-family dwelling in unincorporated Greenburgh, to the extent that such data is provided by the school districts.
Additionally, the Rutgers University, Center for Urban Policy Research “Residential Demographic Multipliers – Estimates of Occupants of New Housing (Residents, School-Age Children, Public School-Age Children by Housing Type, Housing Size, and Housing Price),” is a New York State specific guide that is routinely used in evaluating various impacts associated with development projects with a residential component. This guide will be utilized in connection with the ongoing review of the Plan unless local data is available.
Comment/Question: The Greenburgh Central School District is in the process of exploring a consolidation of its building infrastructure onto the Woodlands High School campus. How does the Town’s draft Plan factor into such an endeavor?
Response: Implementation of the Plan would in no way inhibit consolidation of the Greenburgh Central School District should the school district decide to do so.
Comment: The success experienced within the Edgemont School District and traits of land-use/properties within the Edgemont School District (multifamily/one-family residence ratio 1/3 to 2/3; the school district itself; the Greenville Fire District) should serve as a model for planning the remainder of unincorporated Greenburgh – which is not currently a component of the Plan.
Response: Each school district has a unique mix of residential housing and commercial development.
Comment: What type of rateables can the Town bring in to help out the school districts?
Response: The Plan contains policies to facilitate various forms of economic development (commercial, industrial, office, research and development, residential, mixed-use). The Plan assigns importance to the retention and enhancement of existing businesses as well as facilitating a successful environment for new businesses.
Question: Did you consult with the various school districts during the formulation of the plan? If so, who did you work with and what were their responses?
Response: The CPSC consulted with school districts as part of the draft Plan’s formulation, see Section 1.4.4 School District Outreach (Page 1-6). Additional outreach to the school districts is planned.
Question: Given that this plan predicates increases in the development of apartments that are carried at lower tax rates than private single family residences, are you willing to incorporate using the Homestead Act (after revaluation) to balance the tax burden?
Response: The revaluation process and Comprehensive Plan are not interconnected. The use of the Homestead Act is at the discretion of the Town Board at the completion of the tax revaluation process.
Comment: The Plan does not contain a school district map for land in unincorporated Greenburgh.
Response: A map and information on the school districts will be added to the Plan.
Question: The Fairview Fire District contains approximately 50% tax exempt properties.
Response: A relatively high percentage of the assessable value of property in Fairview is tax exempt. Numerous policies, including three (3) planning areas/nodes in the Fairview area, seek to promote private investment and rateables in the fire district.
Comment: The student population projections for multi-family buildings that have been developed in Edgemont have been less than the actual numbers of students entering the school district.
Response: The CPSC is requesting additional data from each of the school districts.
Comment: The nodes will negatively impact the character of Edgemont.
Response: Properly planned through a charrette process, neighborhood specific nodes will complement the local area for which they are designed and located.
VII. Land-Use – Related Questions/Comments
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: It is my understanding that there is minimal support from Westchester County for bus rapid transit along Central Park Avenue.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Westchester County is committed to bus rapid transit along Central Park Avenue in a phased manner.
The County has completed design of Transit Signal Priority (TSP) for Central Avenue. The TSP system will be the first component of BRT to be implemented. Construction of the TSP system is expected to take place in 2015. It has been determined that elements of BRT will be implemented in phases based on inter-jurisdictional approvals and funding availability.
As part of the Plan’s ongoing review process, continued coordination with governmental agencies such as Westchester County will allow the Town to best understand the feasibility, impediments and type of development that can improve existing and future bus service.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Can the Plan address BRT more specifically? Particularly the fact that there is not ample room along the corridor to support a dedicated bus lane.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Bus rapid transit can include a range of innovative features which are very dependent on its location. Only corridors wide enough can include a dedicated bus lane. Central Park Avenue and Rt. 119 may not be wide enough to include a dedicated bus lane or lanes. Portions of a redeveloped I-287 in connection with the new Tappan Zee Bridge may be able to include dedicated bus lanes.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: If the Plan promotes increased development along Old Tarrytown Road, I do not support such policy.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The Plan does not promote or incentivize increased development on Old Tarrytown Road.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: The areas along Central Park Avenue or any of the areas in the major corridors (Rt. 119/Rt. 9A) that are not part of the nodes – would property owners or future developers still be able to construct multifamily residential if that is permitted?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Where multi-family residential uses are permitted in the areas outside of the nodes, multifamily uses would still be permitted if there is no change in zoning in these areas.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: It is stated in the Plan that where residential and non-residential development could take place in the same building, the non-residential component of the development would produce tax revenue to off-set or complement the residential component. However, in these same areas, there exists non-residential development that currently pays taxes, so it seems that the extra taxes of the project would not be off-set by the non-residential component of a development.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: There are many factors that contribute to property tax revenues. It is anticipated that the tax revenue generated from the commercial portion of new mixed-use development would produce increased revenues, as these areas would be part of significant private investment and be subject to site-wide improvements. Tax revenue generation will be evaluated as part of the Plan’s GEIS and as part of a site specific analysis.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Although not opposed to development and new stores, it is important to maintain the character of the area (East Hartsdale Avenue, Central Park Avenue).
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Neighborhood character is and will continue to be a factor of any planning efforts associated with the Plan and during review of any development proposal.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Which nodes would and which nodes would not include a residential component?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The CPSC is reviewing all aspects of the nodes as part of the revised draft.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: There is concern over the redevelopment potential of underutilized lots or lots with failing businesses on Central Park Avenue and their potential to be converted to residential uses.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The Plan will be updated to contain an analysis of the residential development potential of all lots in the CA District.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: A preference is to have no new residential units in the nodes of Edgemont.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Planning for well-designed residential units in a mixed-use setting is based on numerous factors including: the presence of underutilized sites, school/fiscal impacts, proximity to various transit options, parking, etc. Recommendations for mixed-use development with a residential component will collectively incorporate these and other factors.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: The different types of zoning districts in the Town and their permitted uses should be noted in the Plan.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Section 12.6 (Land Use Groupings – Page 12-7 thru 12-44) provides specific explanations of the various zoning districts of the Town and includes use-related information.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: What exactly do the “mixed-use” references in the Plan mean?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Generally, mixed-use references in the Plan refer to combining two or more different uses, such as office and commercial uses, or office, commercial and residential uses, in a single building or on a single parcel.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: It appears that there is an opportunity for enhanced node development along the Manhattan Avenue corridor extending to the Crossroads Shopping Center. If not currently planned as a node, it is recommended to be added to the Plan to enhance the economic viability in the area.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: A node at this location will be explored as part of the Plan’s ongoing review.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: The neighborhood in the vicinity of Manhattan Avenue is almost equidistant between two recommended nodes which could help catalyze opportunities for economic development on Manhattan Avenue. A complementing land-use strategy may be to explore the possibility of developing portions of Manhattan Avenue away from the intersection with Tarrytown Road (NYS Rt. 119).
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The possibility of enhancing the Manhattan Avenue corridor starting from Manhattan Avenue’s intersection with Tarrytown Road (NYS Rt. 119) with a mix of uses and complementing features such as a landscaped median will be explored as part of the Plan’s ongoing review. Such a strategy could be combined with economic development initiatives associated with the existing Rt. 119 commercial corridor.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: High-rise buildings (greater than 6 stories for example) are not in the character of the East Hartsdale corridor.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: This would be an appropriate point to raise for consideration at a charrette.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: It seems like existing one-family dwellings with several families living in them are too prevalent an issue.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Illegal occupancy in residential units is a concern in many municipalities. The Building Department enforces the Town Code in this respect when a concern is reported or identified.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Aesthetic considerations need to be a part of new development projects.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The Town does not have an architectural review board. Aesthetic considerations in connection with new development projects are addressed, where appropriate, by land use boards as part of the SEQRA process.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Chapter 7.0 Table 7.1: Can the green area next to the Hartsdale Train station be designated as a neighborhood Parklet to protect it as a green space for the future?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The green area next to the train station functions as a parklet. Further research to determine the ownership of this parcel is underway. If Town-owned, a recommendation to add the parcel to the park inventory can be made.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Can the charrette process be better explained?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: A charrette is a multi-day collaborative design and planning workshop inclusive of all affected stakeholders. The Plan contains several nodes, which are intended to be developed using a charrette process.
Prior to a charrette, a node visioning session would build upon the concepts established in the draft Plan. This visioning session would consist of a series of public workshops organized and overseen by Town staff with assistance from design professionals of agencies such as the Regional Plan Association of New York or the Project for Public Spaces. Funding for such assistance will be sought from grant sources and/or Town sources. General findings/guidelines made from the suggestions of residents and other stakeholders would be summarized by Town staff. A typical policy which could lead to a node visioning session follows:
“Conduct a node visioning session with stakeholders (area residents and businesses, Hartsdale Public Parking District, Metropolitan Transit Authority, Village of Scarsdale, and Town staff) to explore basic alternative layouts, consistent with general concepts of the Plan.”
More specific design oriented charrettes would take place at the time a property owner and/or other developer has an interest in developing a node consistent with the Plan and node visioning session findings. A typical policy which could lead to a charrette follows:
“Hold a design charrette with stakeholders (area residents and businesses, private development team, Hartsdale Public Parking District, Metropolitan Transit Authority, Village of Scarsdale, and Town staff) to establish design parameters that are consistent with the node visioning sessions.”
Design elements deemed appropriate would not be confined to the existing underlying zoning. The design elements deemed appropriate could facilitate the creation of new zoning regulations.
The design charrette process will entail bringing in stakeholders, including but not limited to, neighbors of a Planning area, developers and other interested residents of the Town to directly participate and indicate the components of re-development that could shape the project and also complement the surrounding area. Elements such as conceptual building locations, building heights, architectural schemes, infrastructure improvements, locations of greenspaces and pocket parks, etc., would be discussed.
The design professionals from agencies such as the Regional Plan Association of New York or the Project for Public Spaces would summarize the suggestions of residents and stakeholders and prepare related sketches and renderings.
The charrette would take place in a space large enough to accommodate several tables of 8-10 people such as Town Hall or a school space with a goal of reaching a collaborative vision.
NEW 8/21/14 Question/Comment: There is no legislative authority for charrettes in New York State Town Law. Does the Town intend to establish zoning enabling legislation for charrettes?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: No zoning enabling legislation is needed to conduct a charrette.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Who will sit on a charrette committee/board or group?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: There is no board associated with a charrette. The views of all stakeholders will be solicited, encouraged and considered. The node visioning sessions and design charrettes will be open to all interested parties with a goal of reaching a collaborative vision.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: If the developer wants 12 story buildings and the residents deem 2-story buildings appropriate, is the goal to compromise? Would such a scenario result in a finding that 6 stories is appropriate?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: A major consideration is that at all times in the process the existing underlying zoning is in place. This means that if a property owner does not want to propose a project consistent with the node descriptions in the Plan and consistent with what residents deem appropriate during a node visioning session, the property owner and/or developer can propose a project utilizing the existing underlying zoning regulations.
Regarding the question above, the developer would have to understand that two stories are compatible with the neighborhood. However, in the type of example cited, there may be certain advantages to increased density, such as an ability to incorporate underground parking (resulting in less impervious surface and more landscaping/greenspace), park space, car sharing (less need for off-street parking) etc.
Town staff with design professionals working on behalf of the Town will work to ensure that developers understand the design elements that are deemed to enhance a neighborhood. The process will work most effectively when all stakeholders listen and learn from each other.
The charrette process was specifically chosen to allow for residents to have a direct role in the planning of any node identified in the Plan.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Why would the charrette process limit the potential for lawsuits? It seems that if a developer does not get what it wants as part of a charrette process, lawsuits could be forced upon the Town.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The charrette process is designed to allow for residents to elaborate on the design elements of an area which would make that area a better place. As these design elements are established in advance of creating any zoning legislation, developers will have a clear indication on whether or not it makes sense to pursue the creation of zoning legislation based on charrette findings established by Town staff.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Who funds the charrette? Who chairs the charrettes? Who will be responsible for translating the results of a charrette into Zoning Ordinance language?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The Town would seek grants and/or utilize Town funding to pay for the services of design professionals from entities such as the Regional Plan Association of New York or the Project for Public Spaces. These entities would assist Town staff in overseeing the charrette process and documenting the findings of a charrette. Such findings would be the basis for establishing zoning legislation that could facilitate development.
It is anticipated that a planning consultant utilized by a private developer would draft the Zoning Ordinance language that would precede a site plan application. Town staff would be responsible for ensuring that the results of a charrette are consistent with subsequent Zoning Ordinance language. The zoning map and zoning text amendment procedure that would be utilized in the node development process would be the same as the procedures that currently exist. The zoning map and zoning text amendment process would similarly entail a referral to the Planning Board and entail a referral to the Westchester County Department of Planning, as well as neighboring municipalities, if necessary.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Have charrettes been successfully used in Westchester County?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: One Westchester County example is listed below:
Another link with regional charrette information is also provided:
NEW 8/21/14 Comment/Question: Any thought given to “Paper Roads?” These roads (Paper Roads) are maintained by residents, snow removal, all repairs, paving etc. at great expense with no tax relief. The Town of Greenburgh made a grave mistake in allowing such roads to exist. The Town should plan for these roads to become public streets.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Paper roads are recognized by the Town as unimproved land that may or may not have the potential to be used as an actual improved road at some point in the future. Often these paper roads are privately owned, and until they are developed as an improved road, there is no rationale for them to be owned by the Town.
Regarding improved private roads, the Town typically will consider accepting private roads only to the extent that they are constructed or have been constructed to Town standards.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Has the committee considered eliminating Private Roads (roads that are maintained by residents and receive no tax relief) and turning them into public streets?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The Town typically will consider accepting private roads only to the extent that they are constructed or have been constructed to Town standards.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Several of your nodes on Central Avenue will eliminate gas stations. Gas stations are already non-conforming so please explain where local residents will get gas. Moving the gas stations will have an adverse impact on our quality of life. Please comment.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Only one of the four nodes on Central Park Avenue contains an existing gas station in unincorporated Greenburgh and if redeveloped consistent with the Plan, the gas station in that node could be replaced with an alternate use, if deemed appropriate.
In 2012, the Town of Greenburgh approved a local law allowing existing gas stations to apply for a special permit for their gas sales use. Several of the existing gas stations at the time applied for and received special permits. There are seven existing gas stations on Central Park Avenue in unincorporated Greenburgh and one additional gas station on Central Park Avenue in the City of White Plains.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Does the Plan account for the expected rise in baby boomer population, from an affordable housing perspective?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Chapter 10.0 (Demographics and Housing) includes age cohort information and projects housing needs for various age groups.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Assisted living is an expensive housing option. Can the Plan facilitate a more affordable assisted living model?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: New York State determines whether affordable assisted living facilities are permitted in an area. Reduced rates for residents of a new assisted living facility would have to be incorporated voluntarily by an applicant.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Where will affordable housing be located in Greenburgh?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The Plan does not propose additional affordable or workforce housing in any particular area. The Code of the Town of Greenburgh currently contains affordable housing set-aside provisions, described on Page 10-20 (Section 10.5.1 – Affordable and Workforce Housing) of the draft Plan. The Plan also recommends that any new zoning regulations created to facilitate multifamily residential units as part of mixed-use development include a ten percent affordable/workforce housing set-aside as currently provided in some zoning districts. Regarding new single-family development projects, Policy 10.2.2.2 (Page 10-26) states, “Explore provisions that could extend affordable and workforce housing requirements to one-family residence developments that have a minimum number of units and/or project value.”
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Can the comprehensive plan include consideration of potential legislation that provides for money to be deposited into a fund in support of affordable housing initiatives by any developer (commercial or residential) in addition to the 10% set aside by multifamily residential developers, or in lieu thereof?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Policy 10.2.2.2 (Page 10-26) states, “Explore provisions that could extend affordable and workforce housing requirements to one-family residence developments that have a minimum number of units and/or project value.” Regarding a mechanism tied to new commercial development, existing examples will be researched, for consideration; however, there are no known examples tied to commercial development.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: Will there be consideration to rezone portions of the Town to preclude additional multifamily housing?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Consideration is being given to all uses in the Town based on the existing Plan, comments received from the public and the subsequent research performed as part of the Plan’s ongoing formulation process.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: There should be single family housing communities for active seniors which could include homes of a modest size with amenities one could walk to. A project known as Westgate Farms (previously before the Town’s land-use boards, but since withdrawn) was an example.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Cluster subdivisions may offer the potential to facilitate a proposal for a single family housing community with homes of a modest size with amenities one could walk to.
The existing Planned Unit Development (PUD) provision in the Code of the Town of Greenburgh allows for a range of housing developments (including variations of one-family residences with mixes of uses); however PUDs in the Town require a minimum of fifteen acres and fifty dwelling units. Policy 10.3.1.2 (Page 10-27) states, “Explore the provisions of the PUD ordinance to ensure flexibility and site specific benefits.”
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Condos and Co-ops are selling for more than single family homes because the taxes are so high.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: New York State law places a lower effective valuation on condos and co-ops, which likely impacts their selling price.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Please coordinate with the Fire Districts. Would they need more personnel and/or more equipment? If one 24-hour shift needs to be covered, that costs $1,000,000.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: An existing policy of the Town is that all development projects before the Town’s land-use boards are referred to the respective fire district for review and comment.
Regarding the Plan, the Fire Districts will be consulted on an ongoing basis throughout the Plan’s adoption process.
NEW 6/11/14 Question: How would the nodes enhance quality of life?
NEW 6/11/14 Response: There is no one uniform answer. The charrette process is specifically designed to let residents indicate the components of redevelopment that would contribute to and enhance quality of life and the uniqueness of each neighborhood. For some nodes, a better designed mix of commercial/office uses than currently exist in an area, could facilitate development that is more pedestrian friendly, and contains more and enhanced landscaping/greenspaces. In other nodes, mixed-use development with architecture that complements existing neighboring development can enhance an area. Other nodes may have the capacity to contain a pocket park or a larger more substantial park or walking trail worked into them; all components that enhance quality of life.
NEW 6/11/14 Question: What goals and objectives lead to the policies for node development?
NEW 6/11/14 Response: Goal 12.3, Objectives 12.3.1 (Page 12-75) through 12.3.7 (12-77) lead to the policies associated with node development.
NEW 6/11/14 Question/Comment: Why were the terms hamlet, sense of place and gateway used? It seems that these terms have a pre-emptive role.
NEW 6/11/14 Response: Each term applied to a node was chosen to convey a sense of uniqueness. Many of the nodes developed consistent with the Plan would have gateway qualities. For example, the Hartsdale Four Corners District Center, redeveloped with buildings with attractive/interesting architecture and designed with new sidewalks, street trees, benches and buried power lines, would serve as a gateway to existing development along East Hartsdale Avenue toward the train station.
NEW 6/11/14 Question: Why not select the nodes using a charrette or some other public process?
NEW 6/11/14 Response: Selection of the nodes, which are part of the land use recommendations, would have been difficult without the benefit of the Plan’s chapters that preceded Chapter 12.0 (Land Use and Zoning).The recommendations of Chapter 12.0 are the end product of many factors, including information from the previous chapters which include, but are not limited to, demographic and other data analyses.
NEW 6/11/14 Comment: It makes sense to plan and take advantage of the proximity to the City of White Plains. When leaving the City of White Plains and entering unincorporated Greenburgh via Rt. 119 (Tarrytown Road), there is a contrast in the form of development, namely development in Greenburgh is of poor quality from an aesthetic standpoint.
NEW 6/11/14 Response: The Greenburgh Gateway Transit Oriented Development node is intended to take advantage of proximity to the train station in the City of White Plains and to promote the aesthetic and economic viability of this portion of Greenburgh.
NEW 6/11/14 Comment: The diversity of Greenburgh is excellent and a positive trait of the Town.
NEW 6/11/14 Response: Agreed.
NEW 6/11/14 Question: Would implementation of the Plan result in low income housing?
NEW 6/11/14 Response: The Plan contains policies to ensure that ten percent of any new residential units with the node areas would contain affordable and/or workforce housing, as defined in the Code of the Town of Greenburgh. This housing strategy is a continuation of existing Town policy.
NEW 6/11/14 Question: Can multifamily housing be defined?
NEW 6/11/14 Response: Multifamily housing is currently referred to as “multiple dwelling” and defined in the Greenburgh Zoning Ordinance as: “A detached building, or portion thereof, containing three or more dwelling units.” There is also a definition in the Zoning Ordinance for townhouse. Although not defined in the Town Zoning Ordinance, two-family residences are also considered to be a form of “multifamily housing.” For the purposes of the Plan, two-family or more dwellings, are considered multi-family housing.
NEW 6/11/14 Question: Are there examples of other Comprehensive Plans that have been successful?
NEW 6/11/14 Response: There are many examples. Locally, the villages of Port Chester and Hastings-on-Hudson recently completed plans. From a Comprehensive Planning perspective, a book entitled, “Making Places Special” by Gene Bunnell (November 1, 2003) discusses ten excellent case examples where good planning played a critical role in enhancing various communities. This book was chosen not to compare the communities in it with unincorporated Greenburgh, but more as a focus on process. Several of the book’s examples include the use of charrettes in community planning.
NEW 6/11/14 Question: Does the Plan consider the potential for condos?
NEW 6/11/14 Response: The Plan is a long range document and does not advocate for any particular type of multi-family housing model.
Comment: The Urban Renewal District contains antiquated/outdated and overly restrictive zoning provisions which hinder the successful redevelopment of commercial properties on Tarrytown Road (NYS Rt. 119). A rezoning of this portion of the Town that would allow for similar commercial uses as those which exist on nearby/comparable parcels of land on Tarrytown Road would be good for the Town.
Response: The Plan seeks to address the comment by removing the antiquated Urban Renewal District zoning. Section 12.6.37 (Urban Renewal – Existing), Section 12.6.38 (Urban Renewal Build-out Under Existing Zoning) and Section 12.6.39 (Urban Renewal – Future Land use) on Pages 12-41 thru 12-44. Figure 12.15.2 (Future Land Use – Urban Renewal) on Page 12-44 depicts future land use designations that will result in zoning map (likely new zoning districts) and related zoning text changes associated with properties currently zoned Urban Renewal. These changes are intended to facilitate appropriate land uses in the primarily commercial-used parcels along Tarrytown Road (Rt. 119) and in the residential-use parcels in the remainder of the Urban Renewal District.
In addition, Appendix E contains recommended zoning map changes for 28 individual parcels that are currently zoned in the Urban Renewal District.
Comment: It appears that the Plan would promote urbanization or urbanized sprawl.
Response: Figure 12.16 (Page 12-47) and Figure 12.21 (Page 12-60) depict nine (9) unique areas within unincorporated Greenburgh that have the potential to support some form of mixed-use development. Each of these nine (9) areas contains a general vision-based narrative. The first such write-up begins on Page 12-48 (Section 12.8.1 Rt. 119/White Plains Road Office Park District). The yellow polygons that depict each of the nine (9) planning areas are not lot specific and portray a generalized area. It has been brought to the attention of the CPSC that the size of the polygons give an impression that large swaths of Central Park Avenue (specifically when viewing the Mt. Joy/Henry Street – Traditional Hamlet District & Ardsley Road/Central Park Avenue District Center areas) are intended to be redeveloped. The CPSC will revisit each of the planning areas and modify their depiction on Figure 12.16 as deemed appropriate.
The nine (9) planning areas and any subsequent redevelopment done in accordance with the adopted Plan, would take place only at these limited nodes. Future applications proposing comparable mixed-use development elsewhere in unincorporated Greenburgh would be deemed inconsistent with the Plan and not feasible. In this sense, the Plan does not promote “urbanized sprawl.”
The second sentence on Page 12-57, under the heading of Section 12.8.6 Mt. Joy/Henry St. Traditional Hamlet District, reinforces the limited locations that the planning areas are envisioned: “Similar development is not intended to stretch along the expanse of Central Park Avenue. If density were increased along…”
Following subsequent adoption of the Plan, the Plan provides for a unique multi-step process involving residents from the start in a charrette process. (Page 12-46: “A charrette is a group of focused planning sessions where residents, business owners, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development.”). Included in the charrette process, and likely at the forefront, residents will articulate density-related design components such as building heights, architectural schemes, etc., that would exhibit conformance in terms of neighborhood character. A series of findings from each charrette will be formulated by Town staff and will inform any subsequent site/neighborhood-specific legislation.
Each of the planning areas or nodes are not necessarily intended to include a residential component. If at the charrette, it is deemed that a residential component does not enhance the respective planning area, the findings of the charrette would be reflective of this. In such an instance, an alternate combination of uses such as commercial and retail may be more appropriate.
Comment: It appears that implementation of the Plan would transform Central Park Avenue into a version of Queens Boulevard in New York City.
Response: Implementation of the Plan has the potential to transform limited portions of Central Park Avenue that could be part of the planning areas, through significant private investment. Residents can contribute to the design process to direct investment in the respective area that enhances and complements the neighborhood and community.
In the portions of Central Park Avenue that are not part of the planning areas, implementation of the Plan could result in traffic calming measures, signalization improvements, a modest reduction in off-street parking requirements or the elimination/consolidation of a curb cut. Such right-of-way and site changes would likely not transform Central Park Avenue but may facilitate incremental changes that foster more meaningful/enhanced greenspaces, safer vehicular movements and enhanced quality of life.
Question: How many stories are the buildings of any new neighborhood node development anticipated to be?
Response: Similar to the previous two responses above, the appropriate number of stories that could be a component of a particular mixed-use planning area would be determined as part of the charrette process, which would highlight the unique neighborhood/community attributes. Unique findings will inform any subsequent zoning enabling legislation, including building height. Section 12.12 – Collaborative Zoning Process (Page 12-73) notes the rationale for not pre-determining building heights, desired architectural forms or other design aspects. Predetermining such aspects would preclude meaningful participation through the charrette process.
Comment/Question: There is discussion in the Plan that the buildings of any new neighborhood node development would have zero lot line setbacks, particularly along frontages of street rights-of-way. Is that a uniform requirement, would there be any greenspace?
Response: The charrette process presents the opportunity for residents to contribute to findings that will drive any subsequent development. If front yard zero line setbacks are not deemed appropriate/advantageous for neighborhood redevelopment, the findings would reflect this design element.
Each planning area contains an associated narrative with varying degrees of specificity. Some of the planning areas, based on factors such as existing street networks and topography, may be appropriate for traditional street frontages including storefronts built to a sidewalk. Such development exists within the general planning areas identified on Figure 12.16 – Future Land Use Overlay. Examples include: (1) the south side of Tarrytown Road (Rt. 119) between Fair Street and Hillside Avenue; (2) the northeast corner of the intersection of Central Park Avenue and East Hartsdale Avenue; (3) both sides of East Hartsdale Avenue between Rockledge Road and Aqueduct Road; (4) Central Park Avenue South from Mt. Joy Avenue to Curry Chevrolet. In some instances, the charrette process may produce findings that encourage comparable development with no front yard setbacks. Here, the vision may be small storefronts with new sidewalks, benches and street trees/landscaping. The inclusion of pocket parks also could be explored though the charrette process. In these limited instances maintaining the standard existing CA District front yard setback of 40 or 80 feet would likely preclude any meaningful redevelopment where it may be logical to have buildings with little or no front yard setback. Form-based zoning is a concept introduced in the Plan (see Pages 12-46 thru 12-48) as an alternative to standard Euclidean zoning and can be used in instances where building alignments are evident.
The Plan recognizes the importance of greenspace, particularly in the existing Central Park Avenue, Saw Mill River Road (Rt. 9A) and Tarrytown-White Plains Road corridors. The last paragraph on Page 11-27 notes, “Several major shopping centers in unincorporated Greenburgh contain beautiful landscaped buffers or green spaces between the roadway and shopping center and are a positive defining attribute of portions of the commercial corridors. Buildings constructed at the street line would not enhance these centers.” This portion of the Plan highlights that traditional street front stores built to the sidewalk are only envisioned if deemed appropriate as part of the charrette public participation process, in the general/limited planning areas identified on Figure 12.16 – Future Land Use Overlay.
Comment: The Plan does not propose to make one-family residential neighborhoods more dense. This is a positive aspect of the Plan.
Response: The Plan responded to community input to protect existing neighborhoods.
Question: Does the Planning Consultant who assisted the CPSC with the Plan have experience with neighborhood node development, consistent with the vision for development in the Plan?
Response: Yes. The planning consultants who assisted the CPSC with the Plan have been involved in numerous technical and analytical planning projects throughout the tri-state region.
Question: Are there examples or case studies of neighborhood node development consistent with those advocated for in the Plan. How successful are these nodes?
Response: The closest example of neighborhood scale development that could be comparable/applicable to one or some of the planning areas envisioned as part of the Plan is development in the Village of Scarsdale that includes attractive mixed-use buildings with façade and other interesting architectural components, and incorporates underground parking. The Village of Scarsdale contains mixed-use development within close proximity to transit options, shopping and within walking distance of single-family neighborhoods. This type of development successfully contributes to the Village of Scarsdale community and provides many of the benefits that are featured throughout the Plan.
Question: Why was the term hamlet used, it does not seem appropriate?
Response: The comprehensive plan uses the term “hamlet” to refer to areas within unincorporated Greenburgh that are easily recognizable by residents, through the use of local landmarks. The use of this term is especially important because unincorporated Greenburgh does not have a traditional downtown area or Central Business District. Some portions of the Town have commercial areas servicing pockets of surrounding neighborhoods.
Comment: The Plan does not support the development of a more intense private recreational component on Dobbs Ferry Road, in the vicinity of Frank’s Nursery. This was noted to be a positive aspect of the Plan.
Response: Comment noted.
Comment: Please review the cemetery designations on Figure 12.3.2 to ensure that all designated cemetery lands are incorporated into this map and any other applicable maps.
Response: All cemetery designations will be reviewed for accuracy.
Comment: The Lifestyle Center references in 2010 Central Park Avenue Market positioning Study have not been borne out by the mixed results of their performance. For every Beverly Hills Grove there are many W. Palm City places. The successful Ridge Hill takes care of that niche for much of our market. The downplay of vehicular based shopping is not consistent with the market on Central Ave.
Response: The Plan focuses on the traits of experience based retail that are most applicable to unincorporated Greenburgh. Page 11-26 notes that, “components associated with experience-based retail include safe and inviting pedestrian circulation, outdoor seating in connection with restaurants, seating for general public use within retail locations, higher quality architecture and enhanced landscaping.”
Comment: Consolidation of lots and opening cross easements is an excellent idea if it can be implemented.
Comment: Four Corners is a major intersection and not a hamlet.
Response: Four Corners is a major intersection and can be seen as the gateway to the Hartsdale Train Station District, and as a planning area, is specifically discussed in Section 12.8.4 – Four Corners District Center. The intersection will always remain a major intersection. However, implementation of features such as underground utility lines, attractive mixed-use buildings and better walking connections across the intersection and up West Hartsdale Avenue would create a more pedestrian-friendly environment in the Town.
Comment: The Plan will not influence affordable housing.
Response: The Code of the Town of Greenburgh currently mandates that 10% of the units in new multifamily residential projects either be affordable or workforce housing. Policy 10.2.2.2 (Page 10-26) states: “Include a ten percent affordable housing set-aside in any new zoning district permitting multi-family housing.”
Comment: Regarding Figure 12.7.2 Future Land-Use (Office-Commercial), can there be a better explanation of the intended future land-uses in these areas are office, retail, multi-family and/or assisted living.
Response: The existing zoning districts with parcels identified as general office-commercial are the CA (Central Park Mixed-Use Impact District), CB (Close Business), DS (Designed Shopping), HC (Hartsdale Center), IB (Intermediate Business), LOB (Limited Office), OB (Office Building) and OB-1 (Office Building) and UR (Urban Renewal). Regarding the intended future use of the parcels identified as office-commercial on Figure 12.7.2 Future Land-Use, Section 12.6.12 (Page 12-24) notes that there are few zoning change recommendations associated with these districts. To the extent that the areas are shown within a node/planning area, future land uses are intended to be explored through a neighborhood-specific charrette process. For areas outside the general planning areas, Section 12.7 – General Mixed-Use Strategies (Page 12-45) contains policies which can facilitate site improvements such as increased landscaping, better site-to-site integration, and a design oriented to pedestrians and site users. Lastly, there are recommended changes in land use associated with the general office-commercial areas of the existing UR District. Those are explained in Section 12.6.39 – Urban Renewal, Future Land Use and are described in response 1 on Page 12 of this report.
Comment: Does the Plan consider reconfiguring the existing shopping centers?
Response: Some of the planning areas contain existing shopping centers which could be planned to be reconfigured through the charrette process. Implementation of the Plan has the potential to transform these shopping centers in limited portions of commercial corridors through significant private investment. In these locations, residents can contribute to the design process to direct investment that enhances and complements the neighborhood and community.
In the portions of the commercial corridors that are not part of the planning areas, implementation of the Plan could result in the elimination/consolidation of a curb cut, cross-easements, traffic calming, signalization improvements or a modest reduction in off-street parking requirements. Such right-of-way and site changes would likely not transform existing shopping centers but may facilitate incremental changes that foster more meaningful/enhanced greenspaces, safer vehicular movements and enhanced quality of life.
Comment/Question: The definition of low vs. high water pressure (water pressure zones are discussed in Chapter 8 – Public Infrastructure) is not clear in the Plan. What is the implication to the water pressure zones, when factoring in new development?
Response: Additional clarification on this issue will be added to the Plan. Water pressure is a factor to consider as part of any new development. As part of the GEIS in connection with the Plan, mitigation when developing property within a low or high pressure water zone will be indicated where necessary. Low pressure does not necessarily equate to inadequate pressure and conversely, high water pressure can also require certain mitigations. The Town’s Water Department has and will continue to be consulted to better establish any necessary mitigations.
Comment: The Plan should have a map of the sewer districts.
Comment: The discussion for infrastructure alludes that repairs are only or most feasible when new development projects are constructed.
Response: Infrastructure upgrades and repairs occur on a regular basis to the extent that municipal financial resources are allocated. Objective 8.2.3 (Page 8-36) is related to identifying and correcting existing water infrastructure.Objective 8.3.3 (Page 8-36) is related identifying and correcting existing sanitary sewer infrastructure. It is also expected that major privately financed infrastructure improvements would be done in connection with the development of any of the planning areas.
Comment: New development should maintain the same footprint as existing development so as to not lose greenspace in the Town.
Response: The Plan contains numerous policies to facilitate increases in greenspace/pervious surfaces.
Comment: Figure 12.16 – Future Land-Use Overlay, which lays out the various nodes, includes the Cotswold Park District as well as residential properties on Barford Lane.
Response: As noted in previous responses, the areas identified on Figures 12.16 and 12.21 will be revisited to address the impression that large swaths of Central Park Avenue, single-family neighborhoods or other portions of the Town are intended to be redeveloped. The Cotswold Special Park District was intentionally included in the Ardsley Road/Central Park Avenue District Center to highlight that potential development in this area must be consistent with this greenspace which cannot be developed. The Plan will be updated to reflect this concept.
Comment: What are the plans for redevelopment in the Hartsdale side of Edgemont (Pipeline Road)?
Response: The charrette process will shape development or redevelopment potential within any planning area.
VIII. Traffic/Transportation – Related Questions/Comments
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Traffic is bad on Central Park Avenue. Bus Rapid Transit won’t improve it.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Enhanced bus service will not necessarily eliminate traffic congestion. A combination of factors can contribute to improving traffic impacts. Corridor-wide traffic light signalization upgrades, pedestrian crossing enhancements, placement of curb cuts, etc. can improve existing conditions. Some form of enhanced bus service is another factor that can improve transit in the Town.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: The areas around many of the nodes are accessible by public transit. These factors do not offset the deterioration of existing transportation infrastructure and the presence of existing traffic.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Transportation infrastructure issues throughout the Town are identified in the Plan and will be further addressed as part of the Plan’s GEIS.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: How do you mitigate traffic at Four Corners? The Q&A is not specific.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: As part of the Plan’s ongoing review, a traffic consultant will be utilized to identify more specific traffic mitigation and intersection improvements than typical in a comprehensive plan.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Considering where the driveway entrance/exit to Central Park Avenue is, the Esplanade project (51-unit residential building on Central Park Avenue) may be a traffic safety hazard
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Central Park Avenue is a New York State road, therefore design and approval of the driveway at this location is subject to NYSDOT approval.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: It seems that it would make better sense if the Town hired a traffic consultant to identify traffic mitigations that are feasible in advance of any new development.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Currently, traffic consultants are utilized on behalf of the Town’s land-use boards if deemed necessary in the review of a site specific project proposal.
As part of the Plan’s ongoing review, a traffic consultant will be utilized to identify more specific traffic mitigation and intersection improvements. Some of the suggested improvements can likely be made in advance of any development projects; however, other improvements will likely be feasible only in connection with redevelopment projects. Updated traffic studies at the time of a new development application will be required of future applicants and reviewed by the Town’s land-use boards.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: In a response on the Q&A, there is a reference to the potential for traffic calming measures to be used on Old Army Road to prevent its continued use as a cut-through. What specific traffic calming measures are you referring to?
NEW 8/21/14 Response: A traffic consultant will be used to evaluate specific traffic calming measures at key locations throughout the Town as part of the Plan’s SEQRA process.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: On Saturdays, traffic is bumper to bumper around Fort Hill Road. It doesn’t seem that there is a way to mitigate the traffic backups at the Fort Hill Road/Ardsley Road intersection.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The intersection of Fort Hill Road and Ardsley Road is heavily traversed by vehicles, particularly during rush hours. Ardsley Road is one of the most heavily traversed east-west routes in this portion of Westchester. There are no policies that can prevent the unwanted wait times experienced at this intersection at these times.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Traffic on East Hartsdale Avenue is bad.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: East Hartsdale Avenue is part of a significant east-west network with regional traffic.
There are known areas of traffic congestion throughout the Town. These areas of congestion are specifically noted in the Plan. Shared parking, park-once policies and other travel-demand measures are a focus of Chapter 9.0 (Transportation, Mobility and Access). Any identified additional potential mitigation measures will be added into the Plan. Future mitigation measures will be addressed more specifically in the GEIS of the Plan. Traffic volume and intersection capacity analyses will continue to be a component of individual project reviews.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: There are an increasing number of children and elderly residents in the East Hartsdale Avenue corridor, which is not overly safe from a pedestrian perspective.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The East Hartsdale Avenue corridor is the Town’s mostly heavily used pedestrian area. Pedestrian safety and related improvements will continue to be an important municipal consideration. Town staff will continue to seek out pedestrian safety components to implement.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: At the intersection of East Hartsdale Avenue and Columbia Avenue, the pedestrian cross walk signals do not function properly.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: This comment was forwarded to the Chief of Police, the Traffic Safety Control Officer and the Commissioner of Public Works.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Crossing Route 119 is not easy or safe for pedestrians.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Route 119 is a New York State roadway that is eight (8) lanes wide in some portions. The road provides challenges when considering pedestrian safety. Specific recommendations for pedestrian and vehicular improvements will be a part of the Plan’s GEIS. In addition, ongoing coordination with the New York State Department of Transportation, the Town’s Chief of Police and the Traffic Safety Control Officer is necessary to identify pedestrian safety enhancements.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: On Columbia Avenue, the existing speed bumps are worn down and no longer deter cars from traveling at excessive speeds.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: This comment has been forwarded to the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Town’s Traffic Safety Control Officer.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Section 9.2.6: This section states the major airports available to residents of Greenburgh but only describes how to reach two by car. Can this be updated to indicate car dependency can be reduced by using public transportation:
- Westchester airport can be reached by Bus #12 of the Bee-Line Bus System
- JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports can be reached from any Metro-North station along either the Harlem or Hudson line by taking a train to Grand Central and then a dedicated bus from Pershing Square to JFK, LaGuardia or Newark
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The Plan is intended to highlight the variety of transit options. It will be supplemented with the additional transit options noted.
NEW 8/21/14 Question: What would be the actual traffic impacts of the proposed mixed use zones? It is recommended that no new mixed use proposal be included in the Comprehensive Plan without an expert study fully assessing and addressing the associated traffic impacts (a) of the proposed mixed use sites on a stand-alone basis and (b) together with the cumulative effect from the Tappan Zee Bridge project as it impacts Unincorporated Greenburgh. The results should be presented to the public in a revised Draft, otherwise, there is no sound basis for the Town Board, the CAC or the public to conclude that the mixed use concept would not have an adverse environmental impact.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: These two considerations will be accounted for as part of the Plan’s GEIS and at the time of a site specific application and environmental review.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: On Saturdays, the Bronx River Parkway entrance/exit ramps back up significantly at the Fenimore Road and Ardsley Road intersections in the Village of Scarsdale. Please coordinate with the Westchester County Police Department.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Both Ardsley Road and Fenimore Road are part of a significant east-west network that accommodates regional traffic.
The Westchester County Police Department can be consulted at the time of a future site-specific development SEQRA process.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: Portions of Knollwood Road would be greatly improved with the construction of sidewalks. Where sidewalks exist, it is imperative that snow removal takes place.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: Agreed. All of Knollwood Road is depicted on Figure 9.1 (Page 9-3) as a road recommended to contain sidewalks where they do not currently exist. Snow removal is the obligation of the abutting property owner. In some instances the Town of Greenburgh or the New York State Department of Transportation is responsible for snow removal.
NEW 8/21/14 Comment: I-287 generates significant vehicular traffic noise. Additional noise barriers where they do not presently exist would help mitigate the noise.
NEW 8/21/14 Response: The NYSDOT is responsible for the installation of noise barriers along state roads and has informed the Town that, due to cost, barriers are only constructed in connection with major reconstruction.
NEW 6/11/14 Comment: On the weekends it is difficult for emergency vehicles to navigate major roadways (Central Park Avenue as an example) because of existing vehicular traffic.
NEW 6/11/14 Response: The Plan will be referred to the Town of Greenburgh Police Department and various Fire (and Fire Protection) Districts for comment.
NEW 6/11/14 Comment/Question: The left turn (and then the right turn) onto Pipeline Road is a difficult vehicular movement to make because of existing traffic. Why would there be more proposed development in this portion of the Town?
NEW 6/11/14 Response: Figure 12.20 on Page 12-56 of the Plan contains a graphic that shows the noted intersection where a left turn onto Pipeline Road is deemed difficult. The graphic indicates that a “Redesigned allocation of space…” would likely be a part of any redevelopment in the area. This would likely entail a review of the existing road network to determine if vehicular movements can be made safer and more efficient, while ensuring that public greenspace(s) is a part of any redevelopment.
NEW 6/11/14 Question: Central Park Avenue is congested, what about Rt. 119?
NEW 6/11/14 Response: Throughout the Town there are known areas of traffic congestion during peak hours. These areas of congestion will be specifically noted in the Plan. Shared parking, park-once policies and other travel demand measure are a focus of Chapter 9.0 (Transportation, Mobility and Access). Any identified additional potential mitigation measures will be added in the Plan and future mitigation measures will be addressed more specifically in the GEIS of the Plan. Traffic volume and intersection capacity analyses will continue to be a component of individual project reviews.
Comment: There are concerns related to traffic and accidents, particularly on Central Park Avenue (from Four Corners to Ardsley Road), and the traffic that is experienced east/west, particularly around the intersection of Fort Hill Road and Ardsley Road; and the impact that these factors have on quality of life, including air quality concerns.
Response: Continued coordination with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is necessary to ensure existing turn lanes and signalized intersections are designed to facilitate travel efficiency. Goal 9.6 (Page 9-35) states: “Address roadways that experience, or are expected to experience, congestion.” This goal contains a related objective and policies. Table 9.6 – Crash Data Trends (2009-2012), Page 9-22 contains statistical accident data. Section 9.3.7 – Access Management (Page 9-23) lists many transportation planning tools that can be used to mitigate accidents associated with existing and new development.
Traffic impacts, including the impact on air quality, will be a component of the Plan’s GEIS process. Although the development densities of each of the planning areas cannot be determined until a project-specific SEQRA process (based on the charrette findings and subsequent zoning enabling legislation), the GEIS associated with the Plan will look at several hypothetical alternatives including a “no change/existing zoning alternative.” This no change/existing zoning alternative will be the comparative basis for a range of other alternatives that include a spectrum of hypothetical densities.
Comment: Need to include NYSDOT and other government entities as partners in planning out the node areas.
Response: The Plan contains numerous references related to the importance of planning with various agency partners. The Plan introduces the term “Coordinated Planning Areas” on Page 12-48. Coordinated Planning Areas are also depicted on Figure 12.16 – Future Land Use Overlay. This map and the Coordinated Planning Areas specifically note some of the governmental agencies (often neighboring municipalities) that will partner in the planning process. These partnerships are also established in Chapter 13.0. Table 13.3 (Intermunicipal and Regional Planning Partners) lists 18 potential agency partners.
Comment: The Four Corners traffic at Central Ave. & Hartsdale Ave. seems unresolvable. The concept of higher density development on the corner lots seems impractical.
Response: Continued coordination with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is necessary to ensure existing turn lanes and signalized intersections are designed to facilitate travel efficiency. In addition, Section 9.3.7 – Access Management (Page 9-23) lists many transportation planning tools such as optimal driveway placement/reduction in curb cuts that can be used to mitigate traffic impacts and enhance vehicular and pedestrian safety.
Question: The Plan does not appear to address traffic impacts.
Response: Chapter 9.0 (Transportation) addresses numerous issues of traffic concern. In addition, a full traffic study will be a component of the SEQRA process of any subsequent planning area development project, at the specific time such a development may be feasible. It is anticipated that redevelopment of any planning area, consistent with the Plan, would be part of a long range implementation process. The completion of the Tappan Zee Bridge, Rt. 9A bypass or other significant local or regional transportation project will greatly influence such a traffic study.
Comment: It seems that it would make more sense to install enhanced public transit features such as new covered bus shelters in locations, particularly along Central Park Avenue, in advance of any plans that may facilitate mixed-use or other development advocated for in the draft Plan. The Plan seems to allude that a high percentage of people will use the bus. Bus Rapid Transit along Central Avenue cannot compete with the efficiency of the Metro North Trains.
Response: The installation of enhanced public transit features such as new covered bus shelters is not an action that can be funded or constructed by the Town of Greenburgh. Such amenities are improved by an appropriate governing agency such as the Metropolitan Transit Authority (associated with Metro North Trains) or Westchester County (associated with the Bee-Line Bus Service). However, the Town, as part of a public-private partnership, or in conjunction with an approval process associated with new development, can require that public transit amenities be upgraded privately at no cost to the Town. In addition, a combination of factors are anticipated to promote increased public transit usage such as walking connections to bus stops or train stations, the existence of jitneys taking residents to train stations, and complementary land uses. The planned mixed-use areas noted in Chapter 12.0 have been selected at least partially due to their potential to combine enhanced public transit features for existing residents and for occupants of any new mixed-use development.
Comment: Many intersections in the Town are difficult to cross and not pedestrian friendly.
Response: Any redevelopment of the planning areas will include measures that render respective intersections more pedestrian friendly. Section 9.2.1 – Pedestrians (Page 9-2) notes the importance and contributing factors of pedestrian friendly environments.
Comment: Need sidewalks to be connected from the neighborhoods onto Central Avenue.
Response: See previous response, above. Chapter 9.0 advocates for sidewalks along collector roads, NYS rights-of-way and other prioritized areas.
Comment: Bicycles and walking paths are commendable but utilization realistically faces headwinds considering the aging local population, health problems and harsh weather conditions.
Response: The Plan seeks to implement policies that result in safer walking and bicycling conditions. Limitations with regard to potential pedestrian and bicycling networks in unincorporated Greenburgh are noted in Section 9.2.1 Pedestrians (Page 9-2) and Section 9.2.2 Bicycles (Page 9-4), respectively.
Comment: If the nodes in the Edgemont School District are developed, will there be cut through traffic along Old Army Road?
Response: Old Army Road is currently used as a cut through. The installation of traffic calming measures will be explored to discourage the use of the road as a cut-through.
IX. Parking – Related Questions/Comments
Question: Is there space capacity for the off-street parking that would be needed to accommodate the neighborhood node developments listed in the Plan?
Response: Sufficient off-street parking is an important and necessary component of the neighborhood node developments listed in the Plan. Such off-street parking must be constructed in a way that complements and/or enhances community character. Each planning area is unique (various future parcel sizes/groundwater depth, surrounding neighborhood character). New off-street parking built in connection with new mixed-use development can take a variety of forms (underground parking, parking decks, at grade parking and combinations thereof). As part of the charrette process, the feasibility of off-street parking alternatives will be explored. In some instances, there may be opportunities for public private partnerships (see last paragraph, Page 12-66). Such partnerships have the potential to increase the number and/or efficiency of parking for existing residents and businesses. Section 9.6.2 Off-Street Parking (Mixed-Use Development), Page 9-31 has further discussion related to this matter. This section notes that, “In some instances, structured parking facilities may be more appropriate, with parking requirements that factor in public transit options, commuter jitneys and dedicated car sharing opportunities.”
Comment: Parking seems to be a factor that would preclude the implementation of new neighborhood node development.
Response: See previous response, above. As an example, the Four Corners District Center, discussed in Section 12.8.4 (Page 12-54), if implemented, could result in redevelopment on all four corners of the intersection of Central Park Avenue and East/West Hartsdale Avenue. Each of the four corners have varying traits (parcel lot depth, proximity to Hartsdale Public Parking District) which would likely result in varying resultant development (including off-street parking layouts) on each corner.
Question: What is the expected parking allocation requirement per new residential unit anticipated as part of any new neighborhood node development? How would that requirement compare with existing requirements?
Response: Structured parking is an efficient way to address parking demand and facilitate good site design. The expected parking allocation per new residential unit anticipated as part of any new neighborhood node development will be based on factors such as public transit options, commuter jitneys and dedicated car sharing opportunities. The existing Zoning Ordinance off-street parking requirements for multi-family dwellings are a minimum of 1 space for each studio, 1.5 spaces for each 1-bedroom, 2 spaces for each 2-bedroom or larger apartment, plus 10 percent of the total required, for visitor parking.
Comment: Structured parking, done in a way that is attractive and screened, can facilitate better site design.
Response: The second paragraph of Page 12-73 expresses a similar sentiment, “In the targeted locations, appropriate densities can provide for better site design through the incorporation of structured parking; provide increased economic benefits to area businesses;…”
Comment: The concept of the Hartsdale Train Station and Four Corners nodes are good; however, traffic seems to be the major hurdle for redevelopment.
Response: Section 9.3.7 – Access Management (Page 9-23) lists many transportation planning tools such as optimal driveway placement/reduction in curb cuts that can be used to mitigate traffic impacts and enhance vehicular and pedestrian safety.
Comment: Speed limits and ‘no left turn’ signs are routinely ignored on Fort Hill Road. Traffic calming measures are needed.
Response: This and related comments have been referred to the Police Department.
Comment: Traffic has increased on Sprain Valley Road in the last several years, with commercial traffic included. Sprain Valley Road lacks a much needed sidewalk.
Response: The Plan advocates for a sidewalk on Sprain Valley Road. See Figure 9.1 – Sidewalk Network (Page 9-3).
Comment: The intersection of Mendham Avenue and Jackson Avenue is dangerous. Will the recommended Appendix E zoning changes in this area, if implemented, make this intersection worse?
Response: The Appendix E – related zoning changes recommended for Mendham Avenue will not result in any increase in development potential and will not be detrimental to the Mendham Avenue/Jackson Avenue.
Comment: Large-scale development at Mt. Joy and Henry Street will dump traffic onto surrounding residential streets.
Response: There is no large-scale development anticipated in connection with the Mt. Joy/Henry St. Traditional Hamlet District. The charrette process is intended to allow residents to indicate a scale of development that is in harmony with the surrounding neighborhood. Subsequent development is not anticipated to significantly increase local traffic patterns.
Comment: What will be the impact of the Plan on car and pedestrian traffic around the schools.
Response: In general, the Plan advocates for a more pedestrian friendly community.
Comment: Existing roads in the vicinity of the nodes cannot be widened.
Response: Various right-of-way improvements are anticipated in connection with any node redevelopment.
Comment: Even if public transit is used by residents occupying any of the nodes, how will people get to various locations during non-working hours?
Response: The Plan seeks to facilitate better transit, walking and biking options for all residents.