EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – A controversial subdivision project under review by the Eastchester Planning Board may keep its members from taking part in a workshop on a possible moratorium on further subdivisions in Bronxville Manor.
Members of the newly formed Bronxville Manor Preservationists and others concerned about overdevelopment want to discuss the moratorium, which town officials said would have to apply to the entire town, not just one neighborhood. Town officials agreed at last Tuesday's board meeting to hold a forum.
The preservationist group said in a Friday email that the session would be at 5 p.m. Monday at Town Hall. That could not be confirmed with town officials.
Anita Rosner, a co-founder and spokesman for the group, said she hoped Building and Planning officials and Planning Board members would attend and support a proposal to stop the parceling of lots in Bronxville Manor.
However, Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita said Friday that Planning Board members should not participate. They are assessing a proposed subdivision at 32 Deerfield Ave. that has become a lightning rod for the protest, he said.
“I think the Planning Board members should recuse themselves because of the pending application. It would be inappropriate for them to attend as they are currently reviewing the merits of the application,” Colavita said. “A lot of this has to do with the Deerfield Avenue property, but it is a right application, with no variance required, and it is up to the Planning Board to implement the applicable rules and regulations.”
The application by Deerway Realty LLC requests permission for two additional homes on a lot that already has one home on it, according to public records. An owner of Deerway Realty was confirmed by a neighbor as residing in Bronxville Manor, but a message left at the owner’s home went unanswered.
Rosner and Sandra Tocco, also a co-founder and spokesman for the group, said subdivisions overburden the storm drains in the 410-home neighborhood; strain public and emergency services; increase traffic; damage the architectural integrity of the historic 118-acre neighborhood; and have a detrimental impact on the environment.
The two residents of Deerfield Avenue said the group estimates about 110 lots could be subdivided, each with one or two more homes. Colavita, however, said only eight subdivisions have been approved in the past 10 years and called the projection “a little bit of hype.”
Margaret Uhle, town director of planning and head of the Building and Planning Department, said her office and Planning Board members follow zoning laws and established procedures for subdivisions.
“We do not make policy or do master planning, and undertake a standard review process, requesting information as needed while allowing for public comment,” Uhle said. “This particular subdivision has not been treated any differently than any other.”
Colavita and the preservationists agreed that next week’s workshop will allow more discussion with input from all residents.
“We welcome other neighborhoods to join our efforts,” Rosner said. “We are not unreasonable, and we do not want to stand in the way of progress. We are simply looking to preserve the neighborhood we love so much.”