Jenkins Pushes For Second Look At Chappaqua Station Funding

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The most recent Chappaqua Station iteration would weigh in at four stories and 28 apartment units.
The most recent Chappaqua Station iteration would weigh in at four stories and 28 apartment units. Photo Credit: Kitchen & Associates
Ken Jenkins represents Yonkers on the Westchester County Board of Legislators.
Ken Jenkins represents Yonkers on the Westchester County Board of Legislators. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Westchester Legislator Ken Jenkins (D – Yonkers) wants to show the federal government that the county is serious about fair and affordable housing by getting the ball rolling again on a 28-unit development in Chappaqua.

County Executive Rob Astorino introduced legislation in December to fund the acquisition and improvements on the .34-acre property at 54 Hunts Place, known as Chappaqua Station, for $1.27 million. But, the Board of Legislators narrowly voted it down amid concerns about inadequate emergency access.

For another vote to take place, Astorino would have to reintroduce the legislation, which would become the first affordable housing financing deal drafted by the county.

The County Executive plans to re-introduce the legislation, according to his communications director Ned McCormack. But, he is waiting on a state variance board to decide April 8 whether or not it will grant the developers eight variances it needs to be able to build Chappaqua Station.

“We were going to wait to see what the state opined on to see if we need to change the legislation that we sent down last time,” McCormack said.

The property is tucked in between the Saw Mill River Parkway off-ramp and the Chappaqua Metro-North train station on a dead-end street.

The 28 units would count toward the 750 Westchester is required to build by 2016 under the 2009 fair and affordable housing settlement. The county is ahead of schedule on meeting that target. However, Jenkins said they need to show the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development they are serious.

“It’s important that Westchester County continue its efforts in backing the construction of affordable housing to satisfy the needs of our seniors, veterans and young professionals,” he said. “With its close proximity to the Chappaqua Train Station, these new housing units will be in high demand. We should start moving this project along as quickly as possible. It’s already been vetted, and it’s ready to go.”

Although the New Castle town board approved a special permit for the development last fall, the town’s building inspector Bill Maskiell said the site doesn’t meet code.

“That’s why I directed them to get variances from the state. If it met code then I would be obligated to issue the permits,” he said.

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What is Jenkins thinking??? The affordable housing legislation is not for seniors, veterans and young professionals; he should know better. The legislation is part of the Westchester County Housing Settlement to provide affordable housing to be affirmatively marketed to African-American and Hispanic people who do not earn more than a certain percentage of the average income of people in Westchester; persons below this income ceiling are eligible. Makes no difference whatsoever what age the applicants are at or whether or not they are veterans or whether or not they are seniors; it is the persons income level that defines eligibility. The project has not been properly vetted, that is why it is stalled and that is why concerned citizens have filed an Article 78 Petition against the Town of New Castle Town Board to overturn their irresponsible approval of this dreadful project. Concerned citizens are supporting the same number of affordable units in a better location that is safe and is not located just feet from the Saw Mill Pkwy exit ramp and just feet from the railroad tracks. No wonder Jenkins lost the chairman position of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. What is Jenkins thinking???