Column: Port Chester’s massive project next door

CareyGood-bye United Hospital, hello Southern Gateway mixed use district.

This sweeping change is bound to cause mixed feelings for those of us who left part of our anatomy at United, and to cause concern for those who live in northeast Rye. The attached map shows what is planned just across the border, a “Southern Gateway Mixed Use Overlay District.”

Documentation for the Port Chester village board’s April 21 meeting included a resolution entitled “Acceptance of Amended Petition for Consideration of Zoning Text and Map Change Relating to the Proposed Redevelopment of the Former United Hospital Property and to Commence the State Mandated Environmental Review Process.”

As an “involved agency,” the City of Rye is to be given notice addressed to “Christian Miller, City Manager.” Does Port Chester have inside information on the identity of our next City Manager?

Here are some of the highlights of the Southern Gateway Mixed Use Overlay District:

The application to the Port Chester village board describes “a mixed-use development that includes a combination of a hotel, retail stores, restaurants, residential and senior age restricted uses and community open space. More specifically, the proposal offers a retail-based destination public space, together with age-restricted and appropriate multi-family residential densities, market-based medical office space, restaurants and cafes, gathering places and a hotel. The action also provides adequate on-site surface and structured parking, as well as ample green space and associated recreation facilities.

“As the southwestern gateway to Port Chester, the redevelopment of this vacant and blighted site to a viable use that complements the existing and future development of the surrounding area is critical for the long-term success of the village. Given that the hospital facility has been vacant and inoperative since 2005, the proposed redevelopment will result in the immediate revival of this important property, which represents the single largest redevelopment site in the village.

“The purpose of the Southern Gateway Mixed Use Overlay Zone is to permit bonus increases in allowable density in exchange for providing a designated community or public benefit.

“For all projects containing a residential component, dwelling unit configurations shall be comprised of primarily studios, one bedrooms and loft style apartments.

“Permitted principal uses

“(1) Multi-family dwellings containing efficiency, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units only; age restricted housing (e.g. 55 plus) including all unit configurations; convalescent home or nursing home.

“(2) Hotel or motel.

“(3) Bar or tavern; catering or events establishment; cabaret; table service restaurant, no drive-in, open front, fast-food or curb service restaurants.

“(4) Assembly hall; membership club; fraternal organization or similar social institution not operated for profit.

“(5) Health club, including racquetball facilities and indoor swimming pools; commercial indoor athletic training facility; bowling alley.

“(6) Theater

“(7) Retail store or personal service shop.

“(8) Office, office building; bank, excluding any drive-in windows.

“(9) Off-street parking lot or garage for motor vehicles…

(10) Ground-floor office as accessory use to multi-family development.”

Other permitted accessory and special exception uses are also listed.

“The maximum building height for all uses shall be eight (8) stories or eighty-five feet.”

This compares with the 12 stories now at 999 High St., a location within the proposed redevelopment area.

We trust our Rye City Council, in-line with their responsibility to protect us residents, will take a very active role in scrutinizing Port Chester’s Southern Gateway project. After all, it’s our Rye Gateway too.