YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. – Members of the Town Board last week indicated they’d be willing to ask a developer of a proposed 150-unit rental community to participate in what’s being called a “public informational hearing” before it holds a public hearing on its rezoning request.

Diversified Properties LLC first proposed the rental community, called Summit Hill at Yorktown, a year ago. In September, it filed a formal petition to rezone the property, 19.3 acres north of the Jefferson Valley Mall, from R1-20 to R-3 to accommodate 11 two-story buildings with one- and two-bedroom units. The property lies off of East Main Street, between Hill Boulevard and Lee Road.

In April, Diversified updated the board as to its progress, with a focus on traffic conditions. While Diversified had been directed to create an access from its property to Bank Road, as of that meeting, it had been unable to either secure an easement on Bank Road or acquire the property to proceed.

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While news of the proposed development may be new to some, others have been following its progression for years. One such resident took the microphone at the board’s meeting last week, on Tuesday, June 18, saying she had been following the story for five years and raising as proof a handful of newspapers with articles about the proposal.

“The consequences of rezoning are brutal to us,” said Joanne Sillik, claiming that a majority of Jefferson Village residents oppose the rezoning request and warning, “The future of all Yorktown taxpayers lies in your hands. Your future lies in the hands of the voters of Yorktown.”

Another pointed out that such a development would increase the demand for services—police, firefighters, teachers, sanitation workers.

“These services will mean Yorktown taxpayers are on the hook for the salaries for additional local government workers and also the pensions that will continue to financially burden the Yorktown taxpayers for decades to come,” said Louise DeMarco. “This is taxation without representation, if the board approves this project.”

And yet another Yorktown Heights man predicted the need for the installation of as many as four traffic lights to handle the influx of residents on the roads.

Jeanne Troiano urged councilmembers, “Look behind you. ‘Progress With Preservation,’” she said, quoting the town’s motto hanging on a wall. “Preservation means not building a place on 19.3 acres in an area that is already congested.”

A second warning was sounded: “Think twice about this” she advised, “because this could be a very costly mistake for the board. It could be a very costly mistake for all of the taxpayers of Yorktown when their taxes go up to accommodate these services.”

Susan Siegel, a former town supervisor and a resident of Jefferson Village, countered the contention of one of the speakers, saying that a majority of Jefferson Village residents were not against the development.

And that’s when Dan Strauss stepped up to the microphone.

“When there’s rezoning,” he said, “you should have a public informational hearing first, because the public hearing is after the fact. You’re going to have it the night you make the decision.”

At the close of courtesy of the floor, Councilwoman Alice Roker said, “There’s nothing to preclude us from asking the applicant to do a public informational hearing, and we can do that,” she said, adding it was a “great idea.”