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Conifer Changes Not Enough For Some In Chappaqua

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - Cosmetic changes to a proposed affordable-housing building at 54 Hunts Place were not enough to satisfy some residents who still believe the planned building is simply too large for the location.

“It’s too big for the lot, it’s too big for the hamlet, and I don’t think there’s any way to responsibly squeeze 36 units onto the lot as it exists today,” resident Matt Egan said at Wednesday night’s Town Board meeting.

The five-story proposal consists of 24 one-bedroom units and 12 two-bedroom units, ranging from 669 to 975 square feet. The applicant, Conifer Realty, said it must keep the 36 units or be forced to start over with the process of requesting state funds for the project.

Egan suggested that if Conifer is truly invested in Chappaqua for the long term, it should re-apply for funding for a lesser number of units.

Conifer officials began the public hearing by presenting several exterior changes from the original design, in hopes of giving the building more of a residential feel. Changes include using stone to complement the look of the new Quaker Street bridge, and the addition of bay windows and a mansard roof.

“A mansard roof, in its nature, is a trick. It’s intended to make somebody think that what is a story is actually a roof, and not a real story,” said resident and architect Bill Spade. “When we’re resorting to tricks in order to get a building passed, it tells you that the underpinning of the project is on bad footing.”

Despite a large number of residents in opposition to the project at Wednesday night’s meeting, Conifer was not without its supporters.

“Wherever you put this project, people are going to find legitimate complaints,” said resident Steve Goldenberg. “The question is: can you compromise and make it acceptable? What I’ve seen today, it seemed to be very acceptable.”

The public hearing was adjourned to an Oct. 23 Town Board meeting to give Conifer more time to respond to additional questions and to allow residents sufficient time to comment.

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