Town out of HUD settlement

The Town of Mamaroneck received notification on Dec. 11 that Department of Housing and Urban Development federal monitor James Johnson requested the town be removed from HUD’s list of 31 Westchester communities with exclusionary zoning. File photo

The Town of Mamaroneck received notification on Dec. 11 that Department of Housing and Urban Development federal monitor James Johnson requested the town be removed from HUD’s list of 31 Westchester communities with exclusionary zoning. File photo

By ASHLEY HELMS

One less Westchester municipality remains on the Dep-artment of Housing and Urban Development’s list of communities earmarked for construction of affordable housing units.

The Mamaroneck Town Cou-ncil received notification on Dec. 11 from James Johnson, HUD’s federal monitor, that, due to its efforts in expanding opportunities for affordable housing, the town would no longer be on the list of communities outlined in a 2009 settlement between HUD and the county.

HUD mandated in a 2009 settlement that 31 Westchester communities would be required to build 750 units of affordable housing over a seven-year period.

Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson, a Democrat, said after the town changed its zoning codes in September to allow for housing in business areas like Boston Post Road, the moderator, James Johnson, notified town government and County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, that the Town of Mamaroneck should be removed from the list.

Only the unincorporated section of the Town of Mamaroneck and the Village of Larchmont were included in the affordable housing settlement. The village of Mamaroneck was not identified in the settlement. The 31 municipalities were chosen in the settlement by assessing racial and demographic data along with the amount of housing designated for affordable or multi-family units.

The Village of Larchmont has begun taking steps to adhere to the settlement. Mayor Anne McAndrews, a Democrat, said Larchmont is constructing a condominium building on Palmer Avenue that will boast about 47 units, all of which will be fair and affordable. The project is expected to be completed next year.

“The whole project is part-and-parcel to the Westchester settlement,” McAndrews said.

Toward the end of the summer, Seligson said representatives from HUD met with town officials in order to understand the steps they’ve taken to increase affordable housing. Seligson said HUD was notified the town was slated to pass zoning changes to areas surrounding Boston Post Road and Myrtle Boulevard.

In September, the Town Coun-cil approved zoning changes for the Boston Post Road and Myrtle Boulevard areas in order to allow for the construction of about 300 residential units over the next 10 years, which is intended to make the location more financially appealing to contractors.

After town government extended an invitation, HUD rep-re-sentatives were shown the community, including the Wash-ington Square neighborhood, which has numerous units of multiple-family housing, and Seligson said she explained the Town of Mamaroneck shouldn’t be assessed separately from its two villages.

“Separating us out from the two villages was an inaccurate way to look at us because it’s a regional community,” Seligson said. “When you look at it straight by numbers and not by going to the communities, it doesn’t really give an acc-urate picture.”

Then, a second meeting with Johnson and HUD representatives occurred in November, and town officials explained that almost all of the Town of Mamaroneck is fully developed, with the remaining open space being so expensive that contractors haven’t wanted to build affordable housing there, the supervisor said. She also explained the town’s model housing ordinance to Johnson and members of HUD. This mandates that 10 percent of all housing developments have to be designated for fair and affordable housing for the next 50 years. The ordinance was approved in September.

The supervisor was congratulated by members of Astorino’s staff and, while she isn’t quite sure what being taken off of HUD’s list means yet for the town, she said she is satisfied with the monitor’s decision.

“We’re very happy to not be named as a comm-unity with exclusionary zoning,”
Seligson said.

Contact: ashley@hometwn.com 

 
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About Ashley Helms

Ashley Helms has been covering Eastchester and Tuckahoe for The Town Report since 2012 and has recently added Rye to her coverage area. Before joining Home Town Media Group, Ashley freelanced for the Daily Voice in Fairfield County, Conn., and was a social media intern at Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic. She graduated from the State University of New York at Purchase with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and gender studies. She currently resides in the Bronx. Reach Ashley at 914-653-1000 x23 or ashley@hometwn.com; follow her on Twitter @townreport.