YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The Town Board late last month learned that a mini-master plan it had asked its planners and development project managers to design in response to two proposals that would alter the landscape at a busy intersection on Crompond Road is just weeks away from being finalized.
“We’re pretty far along in a very short period of time here,” Director of Planning John Tegeder told the board at its June 26 meeting, “and I think what we will be doing in the next month or two is putting the finishing touches on it and pretty much packaging it.”
The governing body in January proposed the creation of a mini-master plan to guide it after it received a proposal to demolish the Roma Building, at the intersection of Crompond and Saw Mill River Road (Route 35), and replace it with a mixed-use development featuring 42 apartments and commercial space for more than a half-dozen tenants.
In the meantime, the board was far along in its review of a proposal for a 36-unit development on 2.6 neighboring acres at Crompond and Hamblyn Street, which has been dubbed the Weyant. Although both the town and planning boards gave that concept the go-ahead last year, turnover on the Town Board in January led to a shift in ideologies, including concerns about transitional zoning, which the plan would need to come to fruition.
Under the plan, the applications would still be reviewed separately, but traffic and other environmental impacts would be assessed based on their cumulative effects.
To mitigate the traffic impact of the two developments, the mini-master plan proposes reducing the number of curb cuts advanced by the projects from a total of six to two and a half, with the latter serving as an emergency exit onto Hamblyn that would serve the Weyant property. One curb cut on Crompond, sited nearly opposite of the driveway to the Verizon building and across from a town-owned right of way, would facilitate the creation of a common entrance to both sites. Another curb cut on Saw Mill would serve the Roma property.
But to meet the design changes, the plan for the Roma Building would necessitate a reduction in parking, which could be accommodated, in turn, by a reduction in the proposed commercial space. The plan then would also need a parking variance.
To address the traffic impact at the Crompond/Saw Mill intersection, traffic consultant Philip Grealy cited the need for turn lanes which would call for land to be dedicated by the property owners to the state. However, he said, such dedications entail a “very involved process” which could take 18 months to two years and tens of thousands of dollars to prepare all the required documents. In addition to the dedications by the two developers, he suggested that the board could pursue more dedications to extend the turn lanes that could be banked as development proposals arise.
Alternatives that were discussed with state Department of Transportation representatives included changing the intersection to single-lane or dual-lane roundabouts, but, Grealy said, “Our feeling is that those alternatives are unlikely.”
“At the end of the day, the costs of those types of improvements are very significant,” he said.
“Does anything in this project improve traffic safety?” Town Supervisor Ilan Gilbert asked.
“Once you have pedestrians here, you have to incorporate” fully-controlled movement, Grealy said. “The state requires fully-controlled push buttons…It would be worked into any design.”
Members of the board also weighed in on three designs for the Weyant property: one with two buildings comprising a total of 36 units, one featuring town houses with 23 units, and one featuring 20 units in duplexes. They appeared to reach a consensus, favoring the 36-unit proposal, whose buildings would be equipped with elevators and would likely better accommodate senior citizens, and which would provide the greatest buffering for residents whose properties abut the site.