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County Backs Funding For Conifer's Chappaqua Station Proposal

The proposed site for Conifer Realty's Chappaqua Station apartment building.
The proposed site for Conifer Realty's Chappaqua Station apartment building. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- Conifer Realty has secured Westchester County approvals needed for its Chappaqua Station affordable housing proposal.

On Wednesday, County Executive Rob Astorino signed four legislative items pertaining to the proposal following approval by the county Board of Legislators, according to Ned McCormack, Astorino's communications director.

The package of legislative items includes $1,650,000 in county funded bonding for Conifer's proposed 28-unit apartment building, which would be on a site at 54 Hunts Place in downtown Chappaqua. The site is between train tracks and the Saw Mill River Parkway.

The four items passed by a 15-1 vote. Legislator Michael Smith was the only one who voted against the measures, and Legislator Catherine Parker was absent.

In December 2015, the board narrowly rejected funding by an 8-9 vote, records show.

The approvals come just days after board Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, who represents Chappaqua, announced that funding would be considered again. However, he explained that expenditure of the funds would be conditioned upon Conifer getting state and municipal variances.

Conifer was dealt a blow in July when a state board denied it seven of eight building and fire code variances needed for the project.

The county's measures are not without precedent for Conifer. The project's special permit -- it was approved by the New Castle Town Board last year in a 3-2 vote, records show -- also makes getting variances a condition.

Reached for comment, New Castle Supervisor Rob Greenstein discussed a upcoming revised proposal for the building, which will be the subject of an upcoming meeting for the state Board of Review.

"We have been advised that the county legislature intended to conditionally approve funding for Conifer’s project, subject to issuance of the necessary building and fire code variances," he wrote. "We have also been advised that Conifer’s revised plans do not shrink or materially change the footprint of Conifer’s proposed building.  In other words, Conifer still proposes to build from property line to property line. Conifer will appear on the 12/9 agenda."

Randolph McLaughlin, an attorney for Conifer, did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Conifer's units would count towards the county's 2009 federal housing settlement, which calls for building 750 affordable housing units in predominately white communities over seven years.

As a result of the passage, the county has met its 2014 benchmark for units financed, according to McCormack, which is 450.

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