EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Although it’s more than a year in the making, residents and town officials remain divided over what to do with the proposed Summerfield Gardens senior housing development in Eastchester.
The proposed five-story, 92 unit apartment building on Summerfield Street has been a point of consternation in town since DELV Development proposed it in 2012. Due to its massive size, it requires nearly a dozen zoning variances that include the maximum building height and number of units.
The building would be exclusively for seniors older than 55. It would replace the former Ted Hermann’s Auto Body Shop, and DEVL Development’s proposal includes an underground parking garage.
At the latest town Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, residents came out to listen as attorneys on both sides of the argument pled their cases to board members.
“It’s just silly. We aren’t some major city, we don’t need some massive building in the middle of northern Eastchester,” Maple Street resident Lori George said. “It’s been tied up so long for a reason; we don’t want it.”
On Summerfield Street, the town’s zoning code only permits buildings that are less than four stories and less than 45 feet high. The proposal remains 10 feet over the limit, with one too many floors and 46 more units than the code allows.
Northern Eastchester residents that oppose the building have noted that if the building were to be constructed as currently constituted, it would be an eyesore and would stand out above nearby buildings. Lawyers for DELV Development could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Senior housing is a longtime coming in Eastchester. In 2009, the Planning Board passed an amendment that authorized its members to grant a special permit for the construction of senior housing that does not provide nursing care. Before that, assisted living facilities and nursing homes were not permitted in Eastchester.
“The location isn’t ideal for an older generation because there isn’t a lot of things within walking distance, and I’m not sure about where or even if they would house vehicles for everyone,” Chris Brugy said. “There’s a lot of housing in the area for elderly people, I don’t know if it’s even necessary.”
At its April 24 meeting, the Planning Board determined that the project would not have a negative impact on the environment, which passed the proposal forward to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which continued the public hearing until June 10. Lawyers representing both northern Eastchester residents and DELV Development are expected to again be in attendance.
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