At its February 5 meeting, the City Council voted to hold a public meeting February 26 to discuss the proposed change to RA-5 zoning to allow senior affordable housing at the County’s property at Theodore Fremd Avenue and North Street.
By Tom McDermott
At its February 5 meeting, the City Council voted to hold a public meeting February 26 to discuss the proposed change to RA-5 zoning to allow senior affordable housing at the County’s property at Theodore Fremd Avenue and North Street. The vote came after City Planner delivered the Planning Commission’s recommendation to the Council.
Councilmember Laura Brett, a member of the Commission and liaison to the Council, commented, “With some reservations, the recommendation is that we move forward on this.” The major reservation is related to possible environmental issues, although the County has said in the past that the site is safe for development. As a precaution, however, the proposed buildings will be raised, with no apartments located on the ground floor.
In addition to the public meeting, Mayor Sack announced his intention to hold a public tour of the site on a date soon after the public meeting.
Back on a frigid January 24 in six inches of snow, Mayor Sack, Councilwoman Brett, and the County’s proposed developer, Lou Larizza, toured the property.
The L-shaped 2.07-acre site being proposed for the County to build 54 affordable senior housing units is neatly tucked between a Gulf gasoline station and Metro-North tracks. The entrance and exit would be on Theodore Fremd Avenue, just south of Birdie’s Auto Spa, with a 150 North Street address.
According to Norma Drummond, the County’s Deputy Planning Commissioner for Housing, senior housing can be designated for residents over 55 or over or 62. Since recent senior housing developments in Somers and North Salem were primarily for the over-62 group, Rye is set for over 55; all resident children must be over 18. “That’s why Rye will have more two-bedroom units in the mix,” explained Drummond.
Larizza said that there would be two 40-foot high, three-story buildings with 27 units of housing in each. Most parking will be underneath the raised buildings on ground level, but some of the 95 spaces will be in a lot near the entrance drive.
In order for the County to proceed with the project, the current commercial zoning designation needs to be changed to RA-5, Senior Citizen Apartment District. Both at the site tour and later at the City Council meeting, Sack emphasized having public meetings and input on the zoning change and the project.
Twenty-seven of the new senior units would count towards the County’s 750 federally mandated units. Up to 25 percent of the 750 may be for seniors. Drummond said that it is possible that more than 27 could count in Rye, if other projects reduced their senior component.