Mohegan Lake Legal Defense Fund

History of this site

This site was originally set up to fight 3 of 5 zoning variances proposed by the FBC development at Sagamore Trail and Mohegan Ave that eliminates two single family homes while nearly quadrupling the parking and occupancy loads of the old Lakeland Jewish Center. That effort failed and the application is currently before the Planning Board.

While Save Mohegan Lake will continue to update you on that issue, we are moving on to all issues affecting the lake, such as Mohegan Lake Improvement District (MLID) meetings, agenda and budget. This site is not an official mouthpiece for MLID, but some updates will be provided on this site; the official site is located here.

We do it all here, so long as it's Mohegan Lake related. Feel free to submit comments, content, garage sale notices, police blotters, PSA's, essays on the virtues of our 105 acre ice rink, rants, raves, etc... We love it all.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Yorktown's Planning Woes Continue

The Yorktown News served us up a preview of a new proposal that will affect all of us here in Mohegan Lake.  While the owner and their attorney--who else but the ubiquitous Al Capellini--have not made any formal presentation, we can glean a few details and see a familiar story arc start to take shape.  We citizens will have no meaningful input into the Town Board's inevitable rezone of the application to whatever zone the developer wishes, but it's fun to follow along at home and see how the game is played which--ultimately--ends up in poor planning decisions that devalue the very essence of Yorktown's character which--according to the Town's website--"is a beautiful community in Northern Westchester County, New York, 35 miles from New York City, with forty square miles of rolling hills, farmland, residential areas and light industry."

It's unclear how 120 the short-term rental one and two bedroom market rate and subsidized low income rental apartments packed into a few acres along one of the busiest stretches of road in town fits in with the character of Yorktown (note: this number will likely increase after the rezone is approved; their attorney will scream and shout that his poor client can't make enough money with only 120 units and that another 30 would make it financially feasible and if anyone objects to the added density they are tree-hugging socialists who hate America).  The existing use of the land in a single family residential zone--a single farm house on about 10 acres--is more in keeping with farming and pastoral landscape of Yorktown.  It would seem an absurd proposition to argue that 120 rental apartments (probably more) would justify a rezone.  It's not that they can't make money developing nice, new single-family homes. It's that they can't make enough money and that--my friends--is not justification for a rezone.  If you loathe traffic on route 6 now, wait until 120 new units come online and generate hundreds of additional trips a day on a road that operates beyond its capacity most of the time.

Yet, here we have both the supervisor and Yorktown Chamber of Commerce president extolling the virtues of a plan they've not seen any details of--because they don't exist.  It's this type of knee-jerk response that has painted the town in such an unflattering light relative to preserving residents' qualities of life against the developers' unquenchable thirst to milk every last cent out of our land; especially up here in the northwest part of town.

Yorktown Code table 300a showing minimum lot areas and maximum Floor Area Ratios.  Looks like the site must be about 10 acres if they plan on packing 120 units into that site. 

Have Mr. Grace and Mr. Visconti looked at the current zone and schedule of regulations?  I went ahead and did a little research (code section above).  It's interesting to note that the up-zone to allow more density skips from R-1 to R-3; why no discussion of 2 family zoning that would increase density (and profitability) of the parcel?  Probably because the developer the family wants to flip it to would not be able to make boatloads of money--perhaps only a few wheelbarrows full--to make it worth his time.  The site really doesn't lend itself to a residential development being hemmed in by route 6/Jefferson Valley Mall, high-tension power lines, and Club Fit; the 4th side is a tiny residential road with single family homes across the street.  Why no discussion of a rezone to commercial?  I thought the plan was to develop as much commercial properties as possible so that our taxes would perpetually get lower and lower, no?

Perhaps the senior living facilities caddy-corner to the site welcome the unrestricted units.  While I'm not fully convinced on Mr. Bianco's objection solely based on the additional children the units will inevitably produce--it warrants a serious discussion.  It looks like they will all end up at Thomas Jefferson elementary; is there classroom space there to accommodate the influx?  

Detail of Yorktown's zoning map highlighting the proposed rezoning area.  120, unrestricted (e.g. not age restricted) short term market and low-income apartments would be the first of its kind in the area.  It's overwhelmingly single-family residential with a bit of commercial along 6.  Why no discussion of a commercial rezone? 

In summary, this is something we should all pay attention to and comment on when it's opened for public hearing--even though though said comments will be swept under the town board's rug. 

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