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Port Chester Discusses Future of United Hospital Site

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. - The Port Chester Board of Trustees held a joint meeting with members from the village's Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC), the Planning Commission, and the Zoning Board of Appeals regarding the village's Comprehensive Plan on Tuesday.

The CPAC, which is made up of 15 citizens appointed by the Board of Trustees, was formed in 2007 to assist in the village's revisions of the comprehesive plan.

Tuesday's workshop was the second the village has held in thirty days, and was a continuation of the joint meeting just before Christmas.

"We hope that we've gotten most of the revisions and comments," Frank Fish of Buckhurst, Fish and Johson (BFJ) Planning said. "It's still a draft, but it's a more complete draft."

Since the last workshop BFJ added two chapters to the end of the report. The chapters, which were presented by BFJ's Sarah Yankel, walked the board through various locations within the village and set forth land use strategies for those locations. One location that was of particular interest to members of the CPAC and the board was the site of the former United Hospital.

Fish stated that the plan puts several limitation on the 15-acre site, including an eight story limit in addition to a limit on residential construction. While members of BFJ and the board remained content about creating certain, non-family, residential housing on the site, others were not as pleased.

"I'm concerned with density of the village," Gene Chicarelli of CPAC said. "If it becomes a retail or office space, that’s (the developer's) risk. The risk I don’t want is to see a development with more residential. We shouldn’t be considering more residential."

According to Trustee Daniel Brenkwood, the village already has over 800 uninhabited residential units that could house around 2,300 people. That computes to about an 8 percent vacancy throughout the village.

However, some developers and members of the public warned about implementing too restrictive a zoning plan as it may ward off potential developers.

"I want the village to be healthy and successful," developer Robert Weinberg said. "The site is so crucial to the village we have to avoid being over restrictive."

Fish added that the next public hearing set by the board could be as late as June. However, the CPAC is obligated to call a public hearing of their own, which could take place as early as February. The village will post the most recent version of the Comprhensive plan on its website by the end of the week.

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