YORKTOWN, N.Y. – New York City’s loss could be Yorktown’s gain.
A campaign months in the making was unveiled in grand fashion last week, with Yorktown marketing itself as a bucolic landing spot for businesses and residents fleeing the city in the wake of a virus that has devastated densely populated urban areas.
Standing in front of town hall, Yorktown Town Supervisor Matt Slater, with the help of elected officials and town employees, unfurled banners bearing new slogans such as “Destination Y” and “Up Where You Belong,” a reference to Yorktown being one of the northernmost communities in Westchester County.
“This will be Yorktown’s first-ever marketing campaign focused on promoting investment and relocation to Yorktown,” Slater said about the campaign organized by Thompson & Bender, a Westchester-based public relations firm contracted by the town for branding purposes. “We believe now is the time to capitalize on the documented exodus of businesses from urban settings and welcome them right here in Yorktown.”
On top of a digital advertising campaign and a new website (DestinationY.org), the town has proposed new “overlay zones” for its business hamlets (Crompond, Jefferson Valley, Mohegan Lake, Shrub Oak and Yorktown Heights).
Explaining the purpose of the zones at the July 28 meeting of the Town Board, the town’s planning director, John Tegeder, said they exist to “promote flexibility of design.” The underlying zones would not change, Tegeder said, but the overlay zones would give the town’s Planning Board the “authority to modify some parameters of zoning to incentivize development.”
“It is zoning that is supplemental to what’s already there,” Tegeder said. “So, it does have regulations. They are flexible regulations. But there will be limitations; there will guidance on what you can vary and to what extent, things of that nature. It is designed to be much more flexible.”
Particular areas of interest are Lake Osceola, the Bear Mountain Triangle, the eastern end of Shrub Oak, and the Yorktown Heights hamlet, including Front Street. In Lake Osceola, for instance, an overlay zone could be designed to take advantage of that natural resource. For example, Tegeder said, setback requirements could be modified to allow for outdoor dining overlooking the lake.
“Yorktown Heights, Front Street would be slightly different,” Tegeder said. “But nonetheless, you would manipulate how the entire area comes to fruition.
“We’re looking long-term and what is right for that area long-term,” the planning director added. “And what is there now is not exactly maintaining itself quite as it should, and it does need help. The commercial property owners there do cry out for some assistance, and I think this will give it to them.”
The overlay zones, Slater said, would focus on live/work retail/residential spaces and would “encourage the construction of diversified housing options.” There would also be a focus on making Yorktown’s streets friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists.
“It does give us that ability to get very specific with individual areas of our town,” Slater said at the Town Board meeting.
The town will take a “methodical and deliberate” approach to reviewing the proposed overlay zones, Slater said. The governing body is seeking feedback on the proposal from other boards before proceeding further.