SOMERS, N.Y. - A long-sought grocery store for downtown Somers could start construction as early as this fall.
DeCicco & Sons, the boutique supermarket chain, would build its latest outlet as part of a proposed condominium development behind Somerstown Shopping Center. “They’re quite anxious to get in the ground,” developer Gus Boniello told the Town Board at its March 10 meeting, where he discussed his mixed-use Somers Crossing project.
Supervisor Rick Morrissey said of the grocery store: “That can’t happen soon enough.” Before construction can begin, however, Somers Crossing must still clear a number of regulatory hurdles likely to keep shovels out of the ground till at least the fall.
Still ahead, the Town Board must find that the project does not pose an environmental threat, and then agree to a proposed rezoning. After that, the Planning Board will review site and subdivision plans, but those approvals are unlikely before some time this summer.
“It would seem that any construction start would be in beginning of autumn at the earliest,” Morrissey said later in response to a question.
Somers Crossing would bring 66 townhomes and the grocery store to almost 27 vacant acres behind the Somerstown Shopping Center’s retail shopping area. About four of those acres, just off Route 202 and immediately opposite the main entrance to Heritage Hills, would be sold to the DeCicco organization, Boniello said. The grocer, not Boniello, would build the 19,000-square-foot supermarket.
In discussing their Somers Crossing project, members of the development team have likened the future DeCicco’s market to the grocer’s 18,000-square-foot Armonk store, opened in 2013. DeCicco’s stores are already in a half-dozen communities in Westchester and Putnam.
The supermarket driveway, which would also link with the Somerstown complex, would sit opposite the Heritage Hills entrance and create a new four-way intersection with Route 202. That intersection, sharing the existing traffic signal, could ease a problem that cars now face, especially at rush hour, in trying to turn left onto Route 202 when exiting Somerstown.
The residential portion of the complex would cluster 66 condos—a mix of two-story townhomes, each with two or three bedrooms and a two-car garage, selling in the $700,000 range—just off Route 100. None of the units would be age-restricted or marketed to meet the county’s affordability guidelines, although Boniello has offered to donate one townhome for special-needs youths.
Separated from the supermarket by wetlands, the condos would be linked to it via footpaths or, for cars, through Somerstown’s roadways.
The site’s 26.68 acres are zoned R-40 and R-80, permitting private homes on one- and two-acre lots. In proposing the Somers Crossing project in 2013, Boniello asked the town to create a new Multifamily Residence Downtown Hamlet (MFR-DH) Floating Zone District to accommodate the residential and commercial land uses in a single application.
In supporting his bid for the needed rezoning, Boniello has offered to:
• Build a sidewalk from the middle-school grounds on Route 202 and running east to Route 100, then continuing south for a short, unspecified distance;
• Link the Somerstown Shopping Center, now dependent on septic systems for wastewater removal, to the Heritage Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant via the sewers he would build for his Crossing development;
• Heat and cool the townhomes and grocery store using geothermal technologies;
• Pave the nearby fire department parking lot; and,
• Donate one townhome for the special-needs youths.