The Village of Briarcliff Manor has taken a proactive approach to the 2009 Westchester County that requires the county implement 750 "fair and affordable" units of housing across 31 communities over the span of one decade.
The village previously altered zoning requirement on North State Road that initially allowed only commercial buildings. Now, the street is a "mixed use" area and the county and village are moving forward with an affordable housing project at 445 North State Rd.
The address formerly housed .
"That building will come down and [the new development] will be two two-story buildings—one in front of the other," said Village Manager Philip Zegarelli in a phone interview Wednesday. "It's strictly within the guidelines that the county is looking to achieve affordable housing throughout the county."
Zegarelli said the village targeted this property to address possible future mandates from the county for affordable housing units "with the lowest possible impact."
The buildings, set on three-quarters of an acre of property, will eventually have 14 two-bedroom apartments and two commercial office spaces.
The property is located "on a traffic road where there is a bus line and fairly close to shopping," Zegarelli added, which are "all part of the criteria you are supposed to address."
Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) chaired the legislation that pushed the proposal through the county government this week.
"There is a real need for fair and affordable housing in Briarcliff Manor and many other communities around Westchester, and every new project that the Board of Legislators approves will open the doors of residency for seniors aging in place, young professionals and veterans,” said Borgia in a statement.
The county and village have entered into an inter-municipal agreement to oversee the infrastructure changes. A $1.5 million bond will cover the purchase of the property, while Federal HOME funds and a grant from the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation will contribute to the building expenses.
“Investing in fair and affordable housing ensures that our communities remain affordable for the folks who make Westchester a unique and rewarding place to live,” said Westchester County Board of Legislators Majority Leader Pete Harckham (D-Katonah). “The County is united in attempting to provide new housing units, like these that will be built in Briarcliff Manor, and we eagerly look forward to more collaboration in this regard.”
Once built, the units will be available to families with eligible income in the 80 percent or below area median income (AMI) range for the county. The agreement states the units will remain "affordable" for at least 50 years.
At last week's board of trustees meeting, Mayor William Vescio stressed that there are not yet "specific goals germane to any town, village of municipality."
"The town and the federal monitor are still in negotiations," he stated, though pointed out the village is constantly looking for possible areas to develop.
Now that the project has been approved at both the village and county levels, Zegarelli said, "I know they want to get going quickly," and said the developer, 445 North State Road Partners LLC, is looking to obtain building permits by May or June.
"We will move as expeditiously and judiciously as possible," he said. "We think it's a great opportunity and I think it's great to be one of the first ones approved."