The Town of Mamaroneck is reexamining the amendment of existing zoning laws on Boston Post Road to allow for residential use, in part, to come closer to meeting the Westchester Fair Housing settlement’s affordable housing requirements.
The —reached in 2009 after an anti-discrimination group sued the county for not doing enough to further fair and affordable housing after they had accepted federal funding to do so—requires 31 Westchester communities to build a total of 750 affordable housing units by 2018.
In 2004, the town contracted with BFJ Planning to perform a residential zoning analysis for Boston Post Road that would potentially allow the town’s Business (B) Service Business (SB) Districts and a portion of the Urban Renewal (UR) District to permit rezoning for residential development. The area includes 44 non-contiguous acres and approximately 77 parcels primarily located on Boston Post Road, north of I-95 and Metro-North Railroad, according to the zoning proposal prepared by BFJ.
“Because we are being pressed very hard by the county in regard to the housing consent order and settlement that was reached by the federal government and we want to show, in the Town of Mamaroneck, that we are open to and looking for fair and affordable housing opportunities,” explained Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson, about the decision to revisit the eight-year old study.
“We think by adding the residential zoning to our business and service business district areas that we might be able to encourage some additional housing,” she said.
In addition to meeting one of the recommendations suggested by the housing settlement, the town is looking to develop a mixed-use environment that “enhances the character of the town.”
According to the proposal, any new residential development with more than 10 units in the B, SB or portion of UR rezoned for residential use, will be required to set aside 10 percent of their total units as affordable housing, consistent with the Westchester Fair Housing Settlement. Units for sale must be priced accordingly for households of four with incomes no higher than 80 percent of the Westchester median income of $100K; rental units must be rented to households of four with income no higher than 60 percent of the median income for Westchester.
Residential developments with five-nine units must set aside one unit as affordable housing according to the Settlement.
But BFJ Planning Consultant Frank Fish estimated that less than 100 affordable housing units could be developed in the newly zoned areas, allieviating some of the potential concerns about impact on local schools and the environment.
“As soon as you add residential you’re going to have some impact on the school system,” he explained, continuing, “What we've found in Westchester with this...we’ve done a lot of studies on this and we’re doing one in Harrison, is that it takes about 10 of these units before you’re going to generate a public school child.”
And, that presupposese that the majority of the people moving into the affordable housing units would have children, which would not necssarily be the case.
“If you think of who’s moving into these units it’s younger people, singles or they just got married or people in transition," he said.
The board will revisit the proposal at a future board meeting.
For additional information and more detailed maps of the proposed zoning changes, please visit the town’s website here.