Dear Better Larchmont Supporter:
At its October 21st Board Meeting, the Village Board continued the public comment period for the special zoning for the proposed massive Centro apartment building. Over 135 people were in attendance, and Better Larchmont was extremely well-represented at the podium, with more than a dozen speakers who spoke in detail about the many negative aspects of the Centro project.
THANK YOU to everyone who answered the call to attend the meeting - the packed room made a strong statement to the Board about the strength of the opposition to this project as proposed.
The main focus of BetterLarchmont’s comments was directed to the idea that the Village Board should slow down, step back and approach revitalization in our commercial district in a thoughtful and methodical manner, i.e., by creating a plan for the commercial district that would serve as a the template for well-planned future development rather than granting piecemeal zoning exemptions every time a developer comes along.
Kate Bialo from BetterLarchmont presented the Board with a Petition from an additional 250 residents – a total of 500 at two public hearings – expressing opposition to the proposed zoning change and the Centro project it would allow. She said “The responsible way to approach it would be to create a plan for the central business district, those couple of blocks around the intersection of Palmer and Chatsworth. We need a VISION for what ALL OF US would want the heart of our Village to look like in 10, 20 or more years from now. Because without a plan, without a vision, the Board is selling the heart, selling the soul of our Village to the first, and then the next and the next developer that walks in the door.”
BetterLarchmont is not alone in recommending that the Board create a zoning plan for the commercial district. Jennifer Gray, an attorney from the firm of Keane & Beane of White Plains with expertise in environmental and land-use law, spoke on behalf of Preserve Larchmont and Better Larchmont. In her remarks, she noted that the County Planning Board suggested strongly that a plan should be made first, and development to follow in accordance with the plan.
The speakers pointed out in detail the adverse effect that the looming Centro buildings would have on Village character and many other critical issues, including aesthetics, environment, traffic, safety, parking and school overcrowding. In doing so, the speakers questioned the developer’s studies on several of these issues, and urged the Board to live up to the spirit of its legal responsibility to take a completely independent “hard look.” Adam Kaufman showed how the developer’s assertions of property tax benefits to the schools and Village were wildly exaggerated, possibly by “more than 100% too high.” Syrette Dym, a Wendt Avenue resident and a municipal planner by profession, pointed out that current groundwater and stormwater flooding would be exacerbated by the proposed massive building and excavation for an underground garage. Kelly Brock discussed the possible impact of additional children from Centro tipping Chatsworth School into re-districting.
After nearly three hours, the Mayor adjourned the meeting, to be continued at the Village Board meeting on November 18th.
Better Larchmont and all who question the wisdom of this special zoning and massive proposed Centro building should use the next four weeks to let the Mayor and Village Board know it should slow down and do the right thing – make a plan for the commercial district that will allow for coherent, not piecemeal development. We urge you to keep spreading the word to your neighbors and friends in Larchmont and beyond to visit BetterLarchmont.org to get more information on the project, sign up to express opposition and e-mail or write the Board to express your views.