Irvington’s Board Split…With One on the Fence

To say that Irvington residents and the Mayor and Board they elect think long and hard about the scope of any new development or changing zoning codes to accommodate it, would be a simple truth.

The latest case in point came on Monday, March 7 at the Village Board meeting. Before the Mayor and five Trustees is the consideration for rezoning an 8-acre parcel currently zoned for “Single Family Residential” into an “Assisted Living” use.

The White House, as it is referred to in Irvington, has been an office building since the 1970’s. It is currently for sale and has a variance to be used as an office space. BrightView Senior   Living (brightviewseniorliving.com) has been before the Board requesting a zoning change that will allow them to build a facility on the 8-acre parcel where the White House currently sits.

In speaking with Irvington’s Village Administrator, Larry Schopfer, he noted that the original proposal made at the end of 2014 was for 150 units of which 85 were for independent living and the remaining 65 units to be for assisted living and memory care. “The scope of the project was deemed too big by the Mayor and the Board. It was 165,000 square feet. At the last Board meeting BrightView presented again. They had reduced the number of units from 150 to 116. In addition they reduced the size of the building to 100,000 square feet from the original 165,000 square feet proposal. There are no independent units in this proposal, only assisted living and memory care units,” he said.

When asked how the Board perceived this latest proposal for a zoning change to “Assisted Living” use, Schopfer shared his perception of the meeting. “Trustee Janice Silverberg found it acceptable as did Trustee Constance Kehoe. Trustee Christina Giliberti found it unacceptable as did Mayor Brian Smith. Trustee Mark Gilliland was hard to characterize and seemed to be mostly concerned with how the new building would present itself from Broadway. It appears his vote rests on the changes BrightView may or may not make,” he said.

The Mayor and the Board are keenly aware of the large amount of tax revenue this would generate for the Village and the School District, but will not be swayed by that reason alone. They also realize that traffic issues are not of paramount concern, because no one who resided at BrightView would drive and employee shift changes would be timed so as to not compete with rush hour traffic.

In essence, the size and presentation of any new building just off the east side of Broadway remains the focus of granting the zoning change.

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