Representatives of residential developer Toll Brothers are moving forward with a proposal to build 70 townhomes at the currently vacant Saw Mill Office Campus on Washington Avenue in Pleasantville.
Appearing before the village's Board of Trustees Monday, David Steinmetz, an attorney with Zarin & Steinmetz, said Toll Brothers is looking to turn the 18-acre parcel at 485 Washington Ave. into three-bedroom luxury condominiums.
The proposal would require the currently CO (Campus Office) zoned property to be rezoned as residential-friendly, as well as a map text amendment to allow the PUD (Planned Unit Development ) zone to apply to a 15-plus acre parcel, versus the current 25-acre allowance.
"Our developed area would be approximately 10.5 of the 18 acres," Steinmetz said.
Insite Engineering Senior Vice President Scott W. Blakely outlined the components of the proposal, including changes made since the team last met with the board informally in September.
Toll Brothers is proposing a two-lane boulevard entrance with a center landscaped island at the site's sole entry point on Washington Avenue.
"We have provided two-car parking in each of the units," Blakely said.
In addition, there will be driveway parking and guest parking spots available for visitors "scattered throughout the development," he said.
Given the site's historical stormwater management issues, Blakely said Toll Brothers is proposing two drainage points and two stormwater basins on-site.
Preliminary water and sewer line plans have been reviewed by the village's Department of Public Works, he added.
"We are looking at about 22,000 gallons [of water] a day," Blakely said.
The site plan also includes a 24-foot road, with curbs, and cul-de-sac/turnaround areas at each of the north and south ends.
In response to an inquiry by Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer, Blakely asserted that the road would be maintained privately by the homeowner's association.
Toll Brothers Assistant Vice President James Fitzpatrick the eastern portion of the property will be "tuck-unders," meaning a garage will be built at ground level, along with two additional living levels above the garage.
On the western portion of the property, the "downhill units" would have garages located on the main living level, as well as a second story.
"We designed the site so all the units that face Washington Avenue, which are at-grade units, can accommodate first-floor master bedrooms, which we feel is very important," he said.
The "downhill units" will range from 2,000 to 2,700 square feet, according to Fitzpatrick, while the "uphill units" will measure approximately 2,800 apiece.
The uphill units would also require permission from the village to be built up to approximately 35-feet, five feet above the current requirement.
While Steinmetz noted the proposal is "not an age-restricted project," he added, "The target is empty nesters."
First floor bedrooms, he elaborated, are likely to appeal to this group.
Village Trustee Brian Skarstad asked if the developer has considered incorporating elements seen throughout the village, such as front porches.
"We are dealing with some site constraints and limitations just because of the nature of the site," Fitzpatrick responded. "So, big front porches...that would be a little difficult, but we understand the intent and we would certainly be open to looking at that, for sure."
Toll Brothers, a Pennsylvania-based company, is currently planning to purchase the property from current owner Benenson Capital.
Fitzpatrick said once the property is purchased and the site plan approved—a process requiring the input of both the Board of Trustees and Planning Commission—the site would be roughly developed and units built as they were sold, at approximately $500,000 to $600,000 each.
"We are 100 percent market-driven," he said.
Future residents would also be responsible for shelling out between $225 and $250 in fees to maintain the property, from snow plowing and landscaping to reserve funds, Fitzpatrick added.
Village Administrator Patricia Dwyer pointed out there will be no on-site recreation proposed as part of the plan. She also confirmed Toll Brothers plans to comply with the village requirement to set aside 10 percent of the units as "fair and affordable housing."
As part of the environmental impact assessment of the proposal, environmental planner Tim Miller said elements including traffic/trip generation, visual impacts and community character/compatibility with the neighborhood will be reviewed.
In addition, the developer will provide the village information on grading, techniques for erosion control, drainage and utilities.
"It is our hope and our expectation that through this EAF process we will be able to demonstrate to the village as lead agency the project will not have significant environmental impacts...and adopt a negative declaration," said Miller.
He said he plans to submit the Environmental Assessment Form package within two months.
Following a presentation by Toll Brothers representatives Monday, the Board of Trustees voted to establish itself as lead agency for the zoning petition. They also voted to refer the petition to the Planning Commission, where Steinmetz said they plan to get on the agenda at the "earliest possible date."
Other agencies involved in the process, including the village Planning Commission, Westchester County Department of Health and Planning Department; New York State Department of Environmental Preservation and village Architectural Review Board, will have 30 days to object to the village board serving as lead agency.
Toll Brothers will then have to go through the SEQRA process before a zoning text and map amendment can be adopted.
Said Scherer, "I am unimpressed with what goes on at the property now. I consider residential use to be an appropriate use there and we are delighted to receive this application."