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Five Affordable Housing Questions With Barbara Gerrard

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y.--The Daily Chappaqua recently sat down with New Castle town supervisor Barbara Gerrard to discuss affordable housing initiatives in the community.

At recent town board meetings and work sessions, affordable housing has been under discussion as the Westchester County Planning Board recently proposed amendments to the Westchester County Affordable Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Units Model Ordinance Provision.

What is the current state of affordable housing in New Castle?

We’ve created some affordable housing not as much as we need to. The Hunts Lane and Chappaqua Crossing developments are going forward........ We have units that we have created over the years but as far as going forward yes there are two projects. There is the Chappaqua Crossing, 20 units, and the Hunts Lane project.

Do these zoning regulations sent from county government make a difference in your affordable housing plans?

There’s one big difference from the Housing Model Ordinance Provision versus what we’ve already had on the books. We’ve always had what they call “affordable housing”, which was keyed to local residents and local volunteers that met the financial requirements. That would be local teachers or teacher’s aides, school bus drivers so we gave preferences to those people. The model ordinance from the county prohibits local preferences.

The Westchester Fair Housing Settlement requires 750 affordable units throughout the 31 communities, which means that New Castle would need about 24. How many would Hunts Lange and Chappaqua Crossing possibly contain?

There is no allocation and some of the jurisdictions could put up a large amount of affordable housing, Cortlandt has already talked about 90. There is absolutely no requirement that any jurisdiction do one (affordable housing unit). It’s just that the 750 be within the 31 jurisdictions.

Is there a deadline to fulfill that requirement?

It’s a seven year timeframe and their goals in the settlement as to how many building permits have to be issued by a certain date and the county is already ahead of that. I think it was supposed to be 150 by the end of the year and this year they’ve already 170 or something like that.

Which project is more feasible and more likely to be developed first?

They’re both feasible and they both…Summit Greenfield owns the property for Chappaqua Crossing and they haven’t submitted any paperwork. The Hunts Lane Project has been looked by the planning board and is in the process of being reviewed but of course that can’t go forward until the (Route 120/Quaker Road) bridge is finished because the site is where the construction is being maintained from. It’s a staging site right now.

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