Lewisboro Officials Get Feedback On Multifamily Housing Rezoning

SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. -- This week, Lewisboro's Town Board took comments at a meeting from residents regarding a proposed zoning change that would allow multifamily affordable housing in some commercial areas.

Lewisboro Town Board members at their May 18 meeting.

Lewisboro Town Board members at their May 18 meeting.

Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

The proposed zoning change, Supervisor Peter Parsons explained, would allow for multifamily housing to be a permitted use in the Campus Commercial districts, Service Utility districts, General Business districts and the Retail Business districts. The legislation also includes a legal definition of Affordable Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) units.

New units that are AFFH would count towards Westchester County's 2009 federal housing settlement, which calls for creating 750 new affordable housing units over a seven-year period in predominantly white communities. 

Resident Jonathan Monti asked whether the ordinance is just to put affordable housing in the four zones mentioned. Councilman Dan Welsh explained that it does not turn, for example, a two-acre residential zone into multifamily.

“It stands on its own,” he said.

Resident Dean Travalino voiced support for the legislation, saying the iteration “has a lot of positive changes in it.” He added that it will incentivize people to build.

Travalino expressed concern, however, with the formula for building in the various zones, something that he described as one-size-fits all formula. As an example, he cited a seven-acre parcel near the South Salem hamlet center that is near wetlands and raised the possibility of the zoning change allowing dozens of units to be built on it.

Town officials noted that such a site would still have to go through other land-use regulations.

Parsons mentioned that the seven-acre site currently has a pair of multifamily dwellings on it and was supportive of what he called an upgrade. However, the supervisor shared Travalino's sentiment of not allowing too much density on it.

“If somebody wants to come in and put in 20 homes there, I got a real problem.”

The board ended discussion of the legislation without closing the hearing or voting; Parsons told colleagues that he was going to speak with the Planning Board.

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