YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Though a 36-unit apartment complex called the Weyant is still in the conceptual phase, neighbors of the proposed Crompond Road development are worried that it is already a “done deal.”
At last week’s planning board meeting, where the board was scheduled to review the Weyant for the fourth time, a roomful of neighbors questioned the integrity of a planning process they say does not consider public comment until the project has already been heavily tweaked.
To legalize high-density housing at the 2.6-acre site, the town board is considering an application to rezone the property from a residential zone to a transitional zone. The town has asked the planning board to review the technical details of the project before a public hearing is held.
“It just seems like by the time it gets to us, it’s too late,” said John McDonald, a resident of Hamblyn Street.
Planning board member Anthony Tripodi explained the application process, saying it’s the board’s responsibility to “shape the project into something recognizable” before the public weighs in.
“If the public input started on day one, the process would be that much longer, that much more involved, and it would take us so much longer to get to the point of the public hearing,” Tripodi said.
Resident Dan Strauss said he understood the process, but called it “flawed.” He then cited a June 21 article in The New York Times about Yorktown, which includes Supervisor Michael Grace’s paraphrased comments about a “rental apartment complex aimed at both millennials and older adults.” Strauss said this signaled to him that the project was a done deal.
Grace told Yorktown News that, in the article, he was not referring to the Weyant, but rather Mohegan Court, an eight-unit apartment complex on Lexington Avenue.
“The Weyant is not even close to being a done deal,” Grace said. “I can’t pre-judge it one way or the other.”
Grace said the repeated work sessions are not indicative of how far along the project is. He said many projects that have been tweaked by boards ultimately “ended up in the wastepaper basket.”
Deputy Supervisor Gregory Bernard said both the town board and planning board have welcomed public comment on the project even though neither is required to at this stage of the process. He said he “takes offense” to any insinuation that the project is a “done deal.”
“Most of the tweaking that’s happened has been as a result of the neighbors’ concerns,” Bernard told Yorktown News.
At the planning board meeting, neighbors of the proposed apartment complex also took issue with the late notice of the planning board’s site walk of the property. Board members toured the site at 7 a.m. on a Monday, and notice was only given to neighbors via an email about nine hours prior.
Planning Board Chair Richard Fon said the planning board is “as open as it gets,” and disputed criticisms about transparency. He said board members had planned to visit the site on a different day, but “weather and other conditions” prevented all members from attending. After a few back and forth emails, the board decided on the new meeting time at 7 a.m. Monday.
“I understand where you’re coming from, but that’s just not the case,” Fon said in response to criticism.