Earlier this week members of the Town Board discussed “a path to revitalize the 4 corners” of Hartsdale with two local architects- Patrice Ingrassia and Christine Broda. The link to the discussion is below. The goal of the architects is to transform the failing 4 corners intersection into a revitalized, vibrant neighborhood focused area. They propose changing the 40 year old, rigid Central Ave district zoning that now applies to the 4 corners ( East and West Hartsdale Ave and Central Ave). They are advocating mixed use with residential use. The current zoning prohibits residential use on properties as small as that found at the corners.
Patrice Ingrassia and Christine Broda run a real estate consultancy firm called Inspired Places LLC. They are representing several families who are land owners with long time commitments to Greenburgh. The Chen’s are long time Greenburgh residents who own businesses on the southeast corner dating back to the 1980s. and the Corotolo’s and Cartelli’s invested in the northeast corner over the past two decades. Despite all their difficulties in renting properties through the years and resulting negative cash flows, they have continued to make improvements there.
The discussion included a review of some of the conditions detrimental to residents and businesses and highlighted the serious storm water issues. In 2007 and in 2011 there was significant flooding. After the floods retail vacancies greatly increased. Failing infrastructure enabled flooding at the corners that traveled down East Hartsdale Ave, damaging residential businesses and shops again.
The two architects recommend that the town adopt a Supplement to the Comprehensive Plan that will enable the mixed use zoning that is a current obstacle to change at the 4 corners and has been successfully used by other municipalities across the country. Revitalization rests on the three central arcs: the aging of baby boomers, the migration of millennials to the suburbs and the location of the 4 corner—within walking distance to the train station.
Among the issues discussed during the two hour meeting was traffic, driver visibility and safety, walkability and pedestrian safety at crosswalks. Parking, lack of safe bike paths and bike path connections. Lack of existing environmentally sustainable development or building design guidelines. Some of the buildings are old, some constructed 90 years ago. We discussed aesthetics. We were presented with petition signatures from more than 500 residents who support the rezone change.
I think you will find the link to the discussion very interesting and informative. And, look forward to hearing your thoughts. E commerce is making it more difficult for small businesses to survive. We need to think out of the box and come up with creative initiatives that will enable us to address the changes in the business world. The proposed rezone could generate millions of dollars per year in tax revenue to the town, fire and school districts.
ONE ACTION STEP I TOOK AFTER THE MEETING – I WROTE TO THE HEAD OF Zip Car and asked that they consider having a presence in Hartsdale. We discussed the fact that younger people who move into a community prefer zip cars to owning cars. I’d like to encouraging car sharing services. ANOTHER ACTION STEP TAKEN AFTER THE MEETING: I wrote to the Greenburgh Central School district and Hartsdale Board of Fire Commissioners inviting them to designate a liaison to work with the Town Board as we review the rezone application. We want to make this review a partnership with the school district and fire district, which will be impacted by decisions we make. We will also explore grant opportunities for storm water management.
We promise to keep you informed! And welcome your input and thoughts.