Letter to the Editor: ADU’s and the Future of Single-Family Homes in Tarrytown

Feb. 4, 2023

To the Editor:

The future of single-family neighborhoods in Tarrytown is at stake. The Mayor and Board of Trustees are preparing to vote on the rezoning of single-family neighborhoods to allow for ADUs–Accessory Dwelling Units on single-family properties, in form of additional buildings or converted garages, among others. This sweeping change from single- to multi-family zoning would have potentially devastating effects on the property values and quality of life of homeowners.  As the proposed law is written, practically any single-family home in Tarrytown could be converted to a multi-family unit, without regard to such important concerns as parking, neighborhood character, density, and resident sentiment.

The Village Government is proposing this law without having shared crucial data. Concerned residents of Tarrytown are therefore asking the Mayor and Board of Trustees to pause and perform the necessary due diligence before voting on such a sweeping change in the Village we love. In particular, we are asking for independently verified research on essential questions, including the following:

  • The proposed law would affect several thousand residents and their investments. The Village has neither directly contacted affected homeowners about the proposed law, nor surveyed them. What does the majority of single-family homeowners want?
  • What would be the costs to homeowners who don’t want ADUs but would have to live next to one? One ADU will affect multiple homes in its vicinity. How will the property values and quality of life of those homes be affected? In particular, how will the increase in density, traffic, and noise on one hand, and the loss of open space, safety, and privacy on the other hand affect property values and quality of life?
  • The Village Government has argued that ADUs are needed for affordable housing. But Tarrytown already has well above-average affordable housing when compared to other municipalities in Westchester County. Tarrytown also has more rental units than many of the villages in the area. Why do we need more? And what effect will ever more density have on the character of the town that has been touted as “one of the best places” to live?
  • Hochul has called for a 3% increase in housing within 3 years. How close is Tarrytown to reaching this goal? The current YMCA development will add 109 units. How many more units are needed to reach the goal, if any?
  • Hochul allows for “any means” to reach the housing quota, including the conversion of empty office buildings. Has the Board explored any options other than ADUs for Tarrytown?

Many concerned residents are at a loss. What is the rationale for changing the zoning of 60% of Tarrytown from single to multi-family? It doesn’t appear to make sense, will destroy our neighborhoods, and devalue our life investments.

We ask the Mayor and Board of Trustees of Tarrytown to go back to the drawing board and provide the population with independently researched data on these and the other essential questions. For a detailed list of these questions, see https://tinyurl.com/Tarrytown-Questions.

The potential impact of the proposed law is unknown and may be devastating to Tarrytown’s homeowners. It should not move forward without significantly more research and scrutiny.

ADUs will be on the agenda of a public hearing at the Tarrytown Village Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 7 pm.


Elisabeth Gareis
Tarrytown, NY

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