Column: The lowdown on Kensington Road

Mayor-MarvinOn Tuesday night, there was a meeting in the village library to discuss the logistics for the Kensington Road project. We assembled the meeting as quickly as possible, knowing many residents leave the village in July and/or August. Professionals from Fareri and Associates, the project’s developer, were on hand along with village staffers to field questions.

As a recap, this project is a redux of the one previously approved approximately six years ago after almost two years of vetting by every village board as well as the MTA, United Water and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The seminal questions of the amount and quality of the contaminants in the soil, the method of removal, the effect of blasting/drilling on any nearby structures—including the Christ Church organ—‑and the number of potential school-aged children—demographic study estimates 5 to 7 youngsters—were studied and given a signoff as part of New York’s stringent State Environmental Quality Review process.

According to SEQR, the village, as well as the developer, met all required standards as to protocol, procedures and safety measures. Information wasere shared in detail by the professionals at Tuesday’s meeting and, if you were unable to attend, the program will be aired repeatedly on the cable access channels.

To summarize, the project will be constructed by Fareri and Associates of Greenwich, Conn., a highly regarded developer, owner and manager of more than $600 million in real estate in Fairfield and Westchester counties. As an added benefit, Fareri’s specialty is high-end properties expertly shoehorned in very unique sites, including on contaminated properties as well as adjacent to Metro-North tracks.

Two four-story buildings in the Mission architectural style will be constructed with amenities focusing on the empty-nester in design and spatial arrangement, as well as concierge service, a fitness center, community room and a fully landscaped plaza.

Two levels of underground parking will be built with 203 spaces dedicated for the exclusive use of Bronxville residents and merchants, a significant increase to our outdoor parking inventory.

In addition, an estimated $600,000 in annual tax revenue will be generated for the village and school district on a site that currently generates no taxes. More than 20,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil will be removed at no cost to the village. This site cleanup would have cost village taxpayers $8 million to $10 million as a result of new regulations promulgated by the current Environmental Protection Agency that dictates immediate cleanup regardless of the passive use as a capped-off parking lot. All cleanup protocols have been approved by the New York State Department of Conservation.

Long term, every trustee believes the project is a win-win on every level, but we are fully aware and very sensitive to the fact that the disruptions involved to reach completion is not insignificant, especially to those residents who live and/or park in that area.

With the help of New York State Sen. George Latimer and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, we procured the required legislation allowing the needed overnight parking on village streets for the displaced parkers. We are currently perfecting a plan to place parkers as close as possible to their homes.

Appreciating the displacement caused by the project to current lower Kensington lot parkers, we have reduced fees by 25 percent until the underground parking facility becomes available.

Tuesday night’s meeting was an effort to partner with interested and affected residents, to share information and listen, and continue to hear resident input that may help us to improve our logistical plans and minimize disruption. Like any new situation, in spite of diligent efforts, we realize our rollout will not be 100 percent perfect and we are open to adjusting as warranted.

There will also be a dedicated construction update section on our revamped village website devoted entirely to the Kensington site, so residents will be aware in advance of all construction activities.

Thanks to a very constructive dialog with residents living near the project at our June Board of Trustees meeting, we are now making concurrent adjustments to address safety concerns currently along Sagamore Road.

The Kensington Road project has been almost 30 years in the making and is a long overdue clean-up of a site that is not worthy of the surrounding neighborhood. In addition to a beautifully built and architecturally conforming structure, the adjacent neighborhood will benefit from underground wires, new sidewalks and abundant landscaping.

The trustees’ and my goal is to have the project serve as the gold standard in public-private partnership in terms of communication with residents, listening to local needs and adjusting accordingly, and being equal and fully transparent partners as we enhance our village for the decades to come.

Should you have any questions following Tuesday’s meeting, I urge you to email me at mary.marvin@gmail.com and you will receive a response.