EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – At long last, after more than two years of consternation and debate, the Eastchester Zoning Board of Appeals approved the much-maligned Summerfield Garden project.
By a 4-to-1 vote, the board approved nearly a dozen variances that will allow developers to move forward with the proposed 92-unit, five-story senior housing facility, which has drawn the ire of locals because it will be at least one story higher than the rest of the buildings in the three and four story neighborhood.
The town’s zoning code only permits buildings that are four stories and less than 45 feet in that part of town. By passing the variances, the new building would be 10 feet taller than code permits, with 46 additional units.
When completed, Summerfield Gardens will replace the Ted Hermann Auto Body Shop.
The development will house seniors older than 55 year’s old, with 15 percent of units being “affordable” for seniors, in accordance with Westchester County housing guidelines.
In 2009, the Planning Board passed an amendment authorizing its members to grant a special permit for the construction of senior housing that does not provide nursing care. Prior to that amendment, assisted living facilities and nursing homes were not even permitted in the town.
Michael Cahalin, the only member to vote against the variances, could not be reached for comment.
“It’s too tall for this neighborhood and it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb. I don’t know what they’re thinking,” Eastchester resident Bobby Jenkins said on Thursday. “It’s not necessary, and I hope they take the time to reconsider.”
The Zoning Board of Appeals has issued a 30-month expiration date on the variances. Construction on Summerfield Gardens is expected to last up to two years.
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