By PHIL NOBILE
A recent proposal for a new apartment complex on Halstead Avenue was given to the town Planning Board at its Nov. 19 meeting as the project was presented publicly for the first time.
The plan calls for the creation of a five-story, 36-unit residential development where Port Chester Lumber Co. used to sit. Located at 550 Halstead Ave. behind a Sunoco gas station, the proposal will re-purpose the half-acre property to match the existing apartment properties to the north and south of the lumber yard, a seven-story and a four-story living complex, respectively.
“We’re confident the project sits well within the fabric of the Harrison community,” David Steinmetz, attorney for the project leader Kurt Wittek, said.
During the November Planning Board meeting, Steinmetz called the project “consistent with community character, more than a lumber yard,” and touted the benefits that will coincide with downtown revitalization, which is a hot topic in Harrison government and culture.
The organization behind the project called 550 Halstead Corp. plans to target young, commuting professionals as the building is located 2,000 feet from the Harrison train station on Halstead Avenue and other amenities.
“Our client believes there is strong demand for this type of product with a short walk to the Metro-North station, shopping, parks and the Harrison community,” Steinmetz said. “With a project like this, one would think the target demographic would be young professionals who would want to reside within Westchester with easy access to New York City.”
The organization behind the project is represented by the White Plains firm Zarin & Steinmetz and is operated by Wittek, who was described by his attorneys as having “developed a multitude of residential and institutional projects in the United States.”
According to the proposed project, the complex will feature gas appliances, central air, on-site laundry, large windows and other currently desirable amenities. The plan also calls for a rooftop terrace for tenants.
The project, however, will require future variances from the town Zoning Board of Appeals as the permitting process continues. For example, the project calls for a height of five stories and 60 feet, in a zone where a maximum of four stories and 45 feet is allowed on the property. Also, the minimum parking requirement is listed as 1.5 spaces per resident or 54 spaces, while the 550 Halstead Corp. plan only calls for 1.25 spaces per resident or 45 spaces. However, the organization believes the smaller amount of spaces will suffice because of their target demographic of young, train commuters.
Thomas Heaslip, the chairman of the Planning Board, described the project as having a “litany of concerns,” but said this was common for plans presented to the board.
“We have concerns with every site that comes in front of us,” Heaslip said. “We’re talking about parking, talking about access to and from, talking about how it impacts the neighbors, concerns about drainage, concerns about lighting affecting neighbors, green materials, concerns about deliveries and if they have areas where that can be done.”
According to Heaslip, the process is in the beginning stages, as the board now has to begin SEQRA review of the project, which is an environmental impact assessment of all projects in the town. The board hopes by the next meeting, 550 Halstead Corp. will return to address its concerns.
“We’ve given them our concerns, and we expect them to come back with answers to those,” Heaslip said.
The next town Planning Board meeting will be on Dec. 17.