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Eastchester Continues Debate On Summerfield Gardens Proposal

The proposed location of Summerfield Gardens in Eastchester.
The proposed location of Summerfield Gardens in Eastchester. Photo Credit:

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Although the Eastchester Planning Board has been discussing the proposed senior housing development on Summerfield Street for more than a year, developers continue to be plagued by town zoning laws.

DELV Development has proposed a five-story, 92 unit apartment building for senior living that would require nearly a dozen zoning variances, including the maximum building height and maximum units.

The town’s zoning code only allows for buildings that are four stories and less than 45 feet in that part of town, which is currently the location of Ted Hermann’s Auto Body Shop. The current proposal is 10 feet too high, with one too many floors and 46 superfluous units.

Opponents of Summerfield Gardens believe that if the building was to be constructed as presently constituted, it would be an eyesore to the community, standing out above the other nearby buildings.

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 permitted in the town.

“The current proposal is just too big, it just doesn’t make much sense if you ask me,” Dave Rodgers said at the last Planning Board meeting. “I don’t know why the planning board would make all these exceptions. Let’s find a better location for senior housing.”

The proposed development is for seniors older than 55 years old and 15 percent of the units would have to be deemed “affordable” for seniors, according to Westchester County’s housing guidelines.

According to Town Planner Margaret Uhle, a determination on whether the town will issue the variances should be determined by the April 24 Planning Board meeting. The developers have gone on record as saying that the building cannot be lowered any further if it is to remain economically sustainable.

Eastchester resident Todd Carey said that he wasn’t necessarily opposed to the size of the proposal, but doesn’t think it’s a viable location for elderly members of the community.

“It’s not a very accessible place, especially for those who are going to need wheelchairs and walkers,” he said. “People will get used to the size of the building in time, but we have to make sure that the quality of life is there for the people who are going to have to live there.”

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