With one lone resident raising questions about former Mayoral candidate Bill Brown’s 42-unit senior and affordable housing project for the Eastview neighborhood, the council adjourned the public hearing last Tuesday until September 20.
Brown proposes a 42-unit, 5-story housing project slated for the Eastview neighborhood on South Kensico Avenue down the street from the toney housing project now going up, Clayton Park.
Brown, a principal in the project, advised that the senior “affordable” housing project is planned to feature 29 single unit apartments, 4-1-bedroom apartments reserved and 9-2-bedroom apartments. with 20% of them “affordable” to moderate income families.
The need-targeted population is senior citizens. Brown said rents would be as low as $825 in some of the apartments, ranging up to $1,900.
Denser Zoning Requested.
William Null, attorney for Brown and his partner, urged the Council to give him approvals as soon as possible to take advantage of their option on the land. He stressed these were “totally affordable units,” badly needed in White Plains.
Brown’s organization, White Plains Avenue LLC, is seeking an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance, allowing them to go to 6 stories, and to reduce the minimum square feet per dwelling to 325 feet for senior apartments and 500 feet for those apartments available to moderate income families. Null admitted it was a greater density than otherwise would be allowed by the present zoning.
Councilperson Rita Malmud was very positive: “This is terrific. We have yet to create more affordable housing in White Plains, preferably for White Plains residents to have priority.” Pauline Oliva voiced her support for the project, too, citing the low priced rents.
Lone resident who lives there: not so sure.
Carlos Caceres of 406 Main Street, waiting 5 hours to address the council on this project, raised several concerns. He said the 42 units would “create a strain on our community (the Eastview neighborhood),” which he said was suffering from quality of life issues already: speeding traffic, automobile congestion, public vagrancy, and unsavory conditions created by unstable persons and day laborers already residing in substandard housing in the area who are prone to loitering.
Fear of Section 8
Caceres indicated these conditions would be further aggravated by the population attracted to the low rents proposed by Brown’s project. He expressed fear that the low rents in line with that of Section 8 housing, proposed for Brown’s project would further destabilize the population by attracting undesirable people and deteriorate the neighborhood.
Stablizing southend while destabilizing Eastview?
“What is it going to do for our community? “ Caceres asked.” We’re already an overcrowded situation in Eastview, with some families living three families to a 1 bedroom apartment. It (Brown’s project) creates the quality of life we want to run away from. Now, they (the Brown organization) want to cram people into one building. I wish you do not change the zoning. How can you change the zoning in some neighborhoods to preserve density, while intensifying density in our neighborhood that cannot stand it. We’re (Eastview) is entitled to low density, too.”
Claims White Plains residents priority. Social history checked.
Null, reacting with a sense of quiet alarm, sought to assure the council that residents would be screened very carefully for past history and stability, and that White Plains residents seeking senior and affordable housing would be given preference in selecting tenants.
Caseres said 24 units would be acceptable, while he felt the 42 was too much for the block.
The Council adjourned the hearing until September 20.
WPCNR asked Mr. Null, how Brown’s project could limit the renters to White Plains residents, especially since it was subsidized housing, and this appeared discriminatory. Null said he was not sure, but that it had been done at other similar projects in the county.