Bear Mountain Triangle Developer May Build New Highway Garage

The Bear Mountain Triangle is bordered by Route 202, Taconic State Parkway and Bear Mountain Parkway.

YORKTOWN, N.Y. - Crompond Terraces, a proposed development with as much as 80 townhouses, could help Yorktown complete the Depot Square project at no cost to the taxpayers, Supervisor Michael Grace said Tuesday.

Town law stipulates that any new development must contribute $4,000 per residential unit into the town's recreation fund, according to Ann Kutter, spokesperson for Mandalay Builders, the developer of the 26.61-acre property situated within the Bear Mountain Triangle. With 80 units, Crompond Terraces' contribution adds up to $320,000.

Instead of paying the fee, another option for Mandalay Builders to consider is the construction of a recreation building, or buildings, in the town at a similar cost. Grace said in recent weeks he has discussed this possibility with Mandalay Builders.

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The Parks and Recreation Commission expressed interest in Mandalay building a new basketball court, but Kutter said that request may prove difficult because of the large area needed for a basketball court. Another possibility, Grace said, is that Mandalay could construct a new parks office in Downing Park, as well as new parks and highway buildings on Greenwood Street.

"They may do all three," Grace said.

Relocating the highway garage, currently on the corner of Underhill Avenue and Front Street, has long been a goal of Grace's and is necessary to complete his Depot Square project. Ultimately, Grace hopes to demolish the current highway garage, built in 1950, and replace it with a privately developed commercial/residential building with public amenities. The town has also applied for $2.1 million in state grants to complete the project.

"It's a great opportunity for us and it's very generous of [Mandalay Builders]," Grace said.

Kutter said Mandalay can build about 27,000 square-feet worth of buildings on Greenwood Street, which is significantly smaller than the 60,000 square-feet worth of buildings estimated in the grant application.

The Bear Mountain Triangle—the proposed location for Crompond Terraces—is the informal name for the space between Route 202 and the Bear Mountain Parkway Extension, just west of the Taconic State Parkway. When viewed from above, the three highways form a triangle around the 23.61-acre property, which is divided by Old Crompond Road.

The concept is to rezone the upper 16.9 acres from single-family housing to multi-family housing. The current R-1 zone would allow only 25 to 30 houses, according to Kutter. The 6.71-acre bottom portion of the property would remain commercially zoned.

The concept was first presented in January of this year and was warmly received by both the town and planning boards. Mandalay has spent the last several months preparing an Environmental Assessment Form (EAF), detailing all of the commercial and environmental effects of the development.

Representatives of the project met again with Town Board members during an Oct. 27 work session.

Ann Cutignola, a planner with Tim Miller Associates, estimated the development, located within the Yorktown Central School District, would result in a population increase of 263 people, including 45 school-aged children. She also said the project has a "long list of economic benefits," including the creation of 150 full-time construction jobs and dozens more retail jobs. The project would add more traffic to the area, said traffic engineer Phil Grealy.

Rezoning must be approved before any site plan can be reviewed, Kutter said. Now that the EAF has been completed, Kutter requested the Town Board reconvene the public hearing at its next televised meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

At Tuesday's work session, Councilwoman Susan Siegel complemented the conceptual mixed-use plan put forth by Mandalay, but said she would like to receive comments back from the Planning Board before reconvening a public hearing. The Planning Board next meets Nov. 9, and Siegel does not know if the Planning Board will be able to review the project and prepare comments in such a short timeframe. She suggested the public hearing be delayed at least two weeks.

"I really don't want to reconvene [the public hearing] until I hear from the Planning Board," Siegel said.

Councilman Vishnu Patel, who is running against Grace for supervisor, also urged patience in reviewing the project. He accused Grace of fast-tracking the project for his re-election campaign.

"Why don't you wait another two weeks?" Patel said. "You want to put it in the newspaper before the (Nov. 3) election."

Democrats Patel and Siegel voted against reconvening the hearing, while Republicans Grace and councilmen Greg Bernard and Tom Diana voted in favor of it.

"This plan has some vision to it," Diana said. "I really like the way it sounds."

Siegel said many questions need to be answered about the construction of the new highway and parks buildings. Because the buildings would be constructed on town property, Siegel questioned whether or not workers would have to be paid higher "prevailing wage" rates, which are typically required for municipally-funded construction projects.

Kutter said prevailing wage would certainly make Mandalay's construction of the buildings more challenging.

"If prevailing wage is a necessity that has to be met, then that will have an impact on the cost," she said.

Grace accused Siegel of trying to "destroy" the plan.

"Good municipal lawyers are trained to figure out their way around these things," he said.

Kutter said there are still many details to be "fleshed out" and that all questions will be answered during the site plan approval phase. For now, Kutter said, the Town Board only has to consider the rezoning of the property.

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