MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- The Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees is reviewing options for redevelopment of the Washingtonville neighborhood based on a zoning study presented by BFJ Planning. The study provides a look at different types of mixed-use development on Mamaroneck Avenue north of the train station.
The purpose of the seven-month study, which was funded by a grant that the Village received from Tri-State Transportation Campaign, was to promote more equitable, mixed-use development, foster more walkable communities, recommend green building design and sustainable planning efforts, and build community support.
The study focused on the half-mile around the train station and found that the opportunities for redevelopment were plentiful, with buildings and sidewalks in disrepair, poor crossing opportunities and conditions for pedestrians, unsightly gaps in the street wall on Mamaroneck Avenue, and many vacant buildings and plots.
"The zoning that’s in place right now doesn’t really allow for mixed uses and another barrier that I think everyone knows about I think is the flooding," said Susan Favate of BFJ Planning, in discussing the obstacles to development efforts.
The study recommended zoning changes for areas that fall under the Multiple Residence and General Commercial categories.
Currently the RM-3 (Multiple Residence) areas are high density, the study said, but the zoning is laid out for more a suburban setting – with large lot requirements and building coverage that accommodates vast yards or being set back far from the street. Additionally, the study said many RM-3 areas front the western side of Mamaroneck Avenue, so retail uses are not allowed.
The plan proposes no changes to the standards in the C-1 (General Commercial) category, but recommends rezoning RM-3 areas to C-1 to allow for a combination of retail and housing. And RM-3 standards would need to be adjusted to boost conformity and promote redevelopment. Both already allow for places of worship and municipal uses.
At a Village Board meeting where the recommendations were presented, some residents expressed concern over possible intentions to bring more fast food establishments to the area, and others raised issues about whether or not the changes would be positive for neighbors and residents in adjoining areas as well.
"My experience is that communities benefit from more accessible development," said Veronica Vanderpool, the executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
The presentation addressed the need to preserve the neighborhood's residential character.
Other potential affects were also addressed. The projected increase in number of children entering the school system, traffic and cost of public services was considered minimal.
"We have professionals putting this together and yes it came up that people are worried about gentrification and so on, but that was covered," Mayor Norman Rosenblum said. "And as noted before, this is not to create parking lots; it's to create a new and better environment for that section of the Village of Mamaroneck, in essence extending the downtown part of the Village up to and beyond the railroad bridge. I think it's a great idea, but of course everything will be discussed in a public hearing."