YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Fourteen years after it was first proposed, a four building, 18-acre commercial development on the Route 6 border of Yorktown and Somers is inching closer to the finish line.
The development was near planning board approval nine years ago, when, for reasons not disclosed, the owner of the land, Victor Tonndorf, halted the process. Represented by engineer David Sessions, of Kellard Sessions Consulting, the project has returned for planning board approval. One of the requirements of the planning process was cleared Monday, April 3, when Sessions led a public informational hearing about the development.
The development was actually subject to the same hearing about a decade ago but, because there was such a long gap in the review process, the board decided another hearing was necessary.
Sessions revealed little has changed about the development, which is located at 76 Route 6 in between Navajo Road and Whispering Pine Nursery. Tonndorf is proposing to subdivide the 18.1-acre property into three parcels with four buildings. Lot one would be 2.6 acres with a 12,500 square-foot building; lot two would be five acres with a 28,000 square-foot building; and lot three would be 10.5 acres with 39,000 and 21,000 square-foot buildings. If the subdivision is approved, each lot would be subject to site plan approval.
Sessions said the lots would be developed in three phases rather than all at once. Doing so would allow Tonndorf to sell the lots individually, he said.
“Each phase can kind of stand on its own,” Sessions said. “Each phase is not dependent on another to be constructed.”
All of the buildings, he said, are a combination of warehouse, storage, light retail and office space.
“This is not a hard retail use,” Sessions said. “The typical use would be a kitchen/cabinet manufacturer.”
One of the final loose ends Sessions must tie up is with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Sessions said rain gardens and green infrastructure is being added to the plan to update the stormwater design to today’s standards. Sessions hopes the department grants a wetlands permit in the next several months.
Additionally, because the development is encroaching on a wetlands buffer, mitigation must be provided by the developer.
One form of mitigation would be removal of two acres of invasive plant species, such as Japanese barberry and rose multiflora. The area would be monitored to make sure the species are not regrowing, he said.
“The site is strewn with invasive species,” Sessions said.
Additionally, a gully exists on the property that carries the sediment into the wetlands, Sessions said. To remedy that, he is proposing a forebay at the bottom of the gully that would filter the water and remove the sediment. He proposed that every year or two, or whenever the forebay fills up, that town employees empty it.
Deputy Supervisor Gregory Bernard, liaison to the planning board, was opposed to the town maintaining the forebay.
“I think we’re trying to get away from the practice of taking ownership of these,” Bernard said.
Resident Tony Grasso, representing the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce, agreed with Bernard, though he supported the overall plan.
“The chamber would certainly go along with this type of development,” Grasso said. “I think it’s good for the community. It’s located in a part of town that could use it and I’d like to see it go forward.”
Resident Susan Siegel agreed with Bernard and Grasso about the town taking ownership of the forebay. She also said Tonndorf owes more than $100,000 in back taxes on the 76 Route 6 property, which should be paid off before this development moves forward.
“It’s not an insignificant amount,” Siegel said.
Yorktown Tax Receiver Barbara Korsak told Yorktown News that Tonndorf’s company, Zat Construction, owes $185,882.79 in town and school taxes dating back to 2011.
Sessions said he understands the concerns about the forebay but clarified that the sediment flowing into the wetlands is coming from Route 6, not Tonndorf’s property.
Planning board Chair Rich Fon said that aspect of the plan will be more closely examined in upcoming work sessions.