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Federal Monitor Faults Design Of Chappaqua Housing Proposal

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. — Federal housing monitor James Johnson has challenged Conifer Realty to do better with the exterior design of its proposed 36 affordable housing units at 54 Hunts Place in downtown Chappaqua.

In a letter addressed to a Conifer official Andrew Bodewes, Johnson said he has concerns for the building from an aesthetics standpoint. He said the project, as currently designed, risks significant stigmatization and isolation of the building's would-be residents.

"The interior amenities described in your letter could make the project attractive to residents, but the single apparent exterior amenity, a small terrace, is insufficient to overcome a design that could mark the residence and its occupants as distinctly apart from Chappaqua," Johnson wrote.

Johnson said the location ? sandwiched between a bridge, a parkway and railroad tracks ? is not ideal, but he believes the project can be salvaged given that Conifer has previously shown an ability to develop "attractive and successful affordable housing."

"I have also consulted with architects about the design for the project and have reason to believe that Conifer can do much better on this very challenging site," Johnson wrote. "Indeed, it is Conifer’s record of success that gives me reason to believe that it is possible to develop the site consistent with the consent decree."

Johnson said his monitoring team will be meeting with architects over the next few weeks to develop potential remedial measures to make the design more consistent with Chappaqua.

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