At a public information session at the Village Board meeting in Larchmont Monday the developer of the planned 51 condominium units of affordable housing for Palmer Avenue
spoke of his plans publicly for the first time, encountering little dissent.
"I can just tell you," said Bill Balter, President of Wilder Balter Partners of Elmsford, "in community after community where we’ve done developments, people have been pleased."
The County has informed the Village of its plan to build a 51 unit, 100% affordable housing project on a set back tract of land near the railroad tracks at 2101-2105 Palmer Avenue in Larchmont. The original plan, approved by in 2008 the Village Zoning Board of Appeals, was for 5 of those 51 housing units to be affordable housing. Now it appears the other 46 will be used satisfy the Federal court order to build more in affluent areas of the County.
Balter said the plan was for a "spring start" in early March, and construction would last up to 18 months.
"This is not a fait accompli," Mayor Josh Mandell said. "The ultimate control rests with the County," which must approve approximately $6 million in funding.
Eileen Gerspach of Stuvesant Ave. asked about the increased number of school aged children who would presumably be at Chatsworth Elementary and the District Middle and High Schools. Under the "Espisito plan," the original plan with only five affordable housing units, "the revenue was to cover 7 school aged children." She asked if the expenses for an increased number of children (estimated at $15,000 each per year) would be "borne by the community."
Balter said, "the revenue and taxes (on the properties) shouldn’t be any different."
Several people asked about financing and marketing of the units. Rose Noonan, of the Housing Action Council, the non profit sponsor of the development said that financing has been arranged through nine different bank lenders. Community groups and commercial media will be used to find potential buyers, who will ultimately be chosen in a lottery once they qualify financially.
As far as whether the development will satisfy the affordable housing obligation of Larchmont to the County in return for the $1.5 million grant from the County to build the turf field at Flint Park, the Mayor said he understood it to be in effect, though he hadn’t "seen anything in writing."
A representative of the County assured him that the "Village’s support of (this) housing satisfies (the) agreement."
Russ Baldicerri, owner of Palmer’s Crossing restaurant on Palmer Ave. in Larchmont ended the public comments saying, "Since 2002, we’ve seen a downturn on Palmer Avenue. I am excited by the prospect of having a whole new community, and I want to wish you the best of luck."