Two years after hearing Bedford officials reject his effort to build dozens of senior-citizen housing units off McLain Street, Merv Blank found a warmer reception when he returned Monday with a vastly scaled-back plan.
Blank’s —44 units of senior housing, including a dozen affordable ones—required a zoning change and ran into a buzzsaw of local opposition. The town board, citing traffic and other concerns, reluctantly refused the rezoning. By contrast, Blank's new proposal, presented Monday to the planning board, would create four building lots for single-family homes on some 10 acres off McLain Street, a site already zoned for private homes on two acres.
The proposal, just beginning its trek through the regulatory process, will likely require refinements and further hearings before winning final approval. Still, as planning board member John Sullivan told Blank, “Honestly, you’re kinda there.”
Noting the amount of vetting that has already been done on the site as a result of the 2010 application, Sullivan said of Monday’s appearance, “You came to bat [tonight] and you’re on third base already.”
Blank sat alone in a virtually empty town hall chamber, a far cry from the standing-room-only crowd of more than 85 people who turned up for a public hearing on the senior housing proposal in June 2010.
Blank's defeated 2010 plan from Mount Kisco. At the time, Mayor Michael Cindrich cited the proposal's reliance of septic - he preferred a tie in for the village's sewer system - and entrance and exit arrangement.
Reached for comment about the new plan, Cindrich replied that he has not seen it. However, he added that he trusts Bedford's planning board to review it.
"I recognize the property rights of the owner to develop the property in accordance with the zoning ordinance and may have further comments after reviewing the proposal," Cindrich added.
On the other side of the room Monday, Ed Delaney, an engineer with Bibbo Associates in Somers, reviewed a sketch of the proposed new subdivision.
Discussion focused largely on the single road that would provide access to the four homes from McLain Street. The road, Delaney said, could be kept private, requiring homeowners to maintain and plow it, as they would a driveway, or be dedicated as a town thoroughfare.
Planning Director Jeff Osterman, noting that taxpayer dissatisfaction with maintaining a private road grows over time, recommended making it public from the outset. The road would be 20 feet wide on a 50-foot right-of-way, at one point splitting lanes to circle an island, giving emergency vehicles a turnaround area. Planning board Chairman Donald Coe directed Blank to obtain approvals from both the Bedford Hills and Mount Kisco fire departments before the panel considers a preliminary subdivision approval.
By using only 10.06 of the 12.6 acres proposed for the senior housing, Blank retains about 2.5 acres, or another potential building lot.
Chappaqua-Mount Kisco Patch Editor Tom Auchterlonie contributed to this story.