Letter: No more oversized buildings in the Village of Port Chester
November 9, 2023 at 12:53 a.m.
As I drive around the Village of Port Chester, I see these huge, out of place buildings being erected. I sat on the Zoning Board of Appeals for 12 years, and when variances were requested, the applicants had to meet certain criteria, one being that the new structure had to conform with the character of the neighborhood where the variance would be approved. I see these out of place tall buildings, and it reminds me of what was called scatter site housing. I can't believe that planning would permit such oversized buildings in Port Chester. I know they have what is called the form-based code. I think they should call it the "flawed base code."
Now some other thoughts: do these developers and the village think that people are going to run to Port Chester when White Plains and New Rochelle are building thousands of rental units? What does Port Chester have to offer over them? The developers talk about retail stores being occupied here. Forget it; retail in Port Chester is dead!
I want to lay out this scenario to everyone. Let’s say that most new units don't get rented. What will happen? I believe that with empty units, the only way the developers can stay afloat is by bringing in Section 8 housing. The Section 8 housing program enables the lowest income households to rent or purchase decent, safe housing with costs subsidized by the state or county. There are 17 Section 8 offices in Westchester. What does this mean for Port Chester? It means that anyone can apply for assistance providing they meet the required rules. What will this mean as far as bringing in more children to our village? It will have a devastating impact on our schools. Our schools will need more classrooms, teachers, and who will fund these needs? Certainly not the new developments. They have been given 20 tax abatement programs. Yes, you guessed it, local residents!
Many other concerns come to light—where is the water to come from, what about electric? I understand these buildings will be only electric, no natural gas. How about our overloaded sewer system? I am also concerned about our firefighting capabilities. Well, as they say, the genie is out of the bottle and you can't put him back, but you must try. It’s time to stop any more high-rise projects. They will only be like a giant albatross on the back of this village.
Thomas F. Ceruzzi