TOO MUCH DEVELOPMENT ADVOCATED BY ONEWHITEPLAINS DRAFT COMPREHENSIVE PLAN. RESIDENT POINTS OUT

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WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. February 7, 2024:

 

February 5, 2024

To Common Council Members:
Mayor Thomas Roach
Justin Brasch
Jeremiah Frei-Pearson
Richard Payne
John M. Martin
Jennifer Puja
Victoria Presser
CC:
Planning Board Members
Christopher Gomez, Commissioner of Planning

Subject: Opposition to the Draft Comprehensive Plan: liveWP 13 and liveWP 14

Dear Common Council Members,

I am writing to express my opposition to specific sections of the draft One White Plains Comprehensive
Plan – namely, liveWP 13 and liveWP 14. These sections propose amendments to zoning regulations that
would allow clustering techniques for large properties in single-family zoning districts on parcels greater
than 10 acres and permit attached housing units on parcels greater than five acres. These suggested
modifications deviate from the City’s existing Comprehensive Plan and present a substantial risk to the
distinctive character and open spaces of our R-30 districts, potentially resulting in significant
consequences for the affected neighborhoods.

In addition to conflicting with the goals of the current Comprehensive Plan, permitting changes in R-30
zoning to allow cluster and attached housing in the last open spaces, such as golf courses and
environmentally-sensitive areas, can create various problems for the landscape and the community,
including environmental concerns, loss of open space, increased density, and population and traffic
congestion.

One of the primary concerns is that alterations in land use, particularly the expansion of
impervious surfaces through development, can impact surface water runoff and result in shifts in water
flow patterns and flooding. The notion of altering zoning regulations to allow attached housing units and
clustering in R-30 zones under the guise of conservation is fundamentally contradictory. True
conservation efforts should focus on safeguarding open spaces, preserving natural habitats, and
maintaining the ecological balance of an area. The introduction of attached housing and clustering in
these zones stands in stark contrast to the very essence of conservation.

With a substantial increase in multi-family apartments in White Plains over the last decade, it becomes
crucial to question the relentless march of development. The City’s charm and character are at stake, and
the proposed changes in zoning, allowing for more attached housing and clustering in single-family
residential areas, signal a potential tipping point. Thousands of apartment units have already altered the
landscape of our community; thus, we must ask ourselves: when does it stop? The solution isn’t to change
zoning for more development, more attached housing, and more clustering. Instead, the long-term plan
should prioritize protecting the character of our neighborhoods and preserving the remaining open spaces
that make White Plains unique.

In addition to considering changes to zoning regulations for single-family areas greater than five and 10
acres, the draft also proposes potential revisions for institutional campuses like New York Presbyterian
Hospital and Burke Rehabilitation Center (liveWP 12). Furthermore, major properties such as
Bloomingdale’s and the former Windward School are also being evaluated for potential redevelopment.

These additional alterations to the Comprehensive Plan, combined with the suggestion to explore the
potential for permitting two-family residences, townhomes, and/or medium-density housing along parts of
the North Street Corridor (liveWP16), underscore the significant and potentially negative impact of the
proposed changes on the City.

When considering the broader picture, including potential revisions on institutional campuses and redevelopment of significant properties, alongside the proposed changes in zoning for multi-family housing and clustering in single family districts, it becomes evident that the draft advocates for even more density development and substantial modifications across various segments of
the City.

These proposed changes to the Comprehensive Plan raise serious concerns about the long-term impact on
the City’s character, open spaces, and overall quality of life for its residents. I strongly urge you to
reconsider these proposed changes and prioritize the preservation of the City’s unique neighborhoods and
the true essence of conservation.

Sincerely,
Melanie Kolby

 

Hello, Editor…

I wanted to inform you that a Common Council public hearing took place Monday night to discuss the draft comprehensive plan. The meeting drew a significant crowd to the City Chambers, as well as several neighborhood association presidents questioning the proposed zoning changes and lack of neighborhood association input.
Many attendees expressed concerns about the proposed shift towards greater density in the south end of the city. As you may be aware the city wants to change zoning in single family districts on larger properties to allow clustering and attached housing, which would dramatically change the landscape of the south end.

I think this story can help WP residents understand how the new Comprehensive Plan aims to alter the city’s landscape.I am a resident of Gedney Farms and also very concerned about the proposed changes to zoning in single family districts.

Attached is a letter I wrote to the Common Council, Planning Board and Commissioner Gomez, and also below is a link of the video which includes the public hearing from last night: Feb 05, 2024 Regular Stated Meeting of the Common Council – White Plains, NY (swagit.com)

I hope you consider writing about this issue.

Thank you,
Melanie Kolby

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