As mentioned previously, the Assisted Living Zoning code was written by the attorneys for the Brightview Assisted Living facility and custom tailored for their then-proposed Glenville takeover. They specified the height requirement, the acreage needed, the need for a State or County right-of way within 200ft and so on. There are other points, but these are the most salient and what was again being regurgitated to the ZBA this night. To their credit, even though the lawyers droned (more on drones in a moment) on, the ZBA members appeared to pay attention. The ZBA is actually the last line of defense for homeowners to not lose their neighborhoods. However, with the last few appointments made by Mr Feiner, that privilege is slowly being lost.
The fact that Mr Feiner wants this project to move forward for whatever reason and at any cost is more than troubling. This project is very much reminiscent of another inappropriate commercial project in a residential neighborhood that he endorsed and even held a phony referendum for: the GameOn 365. With that project, he claimed an 8-story sports bubble placed in a residential neighborhood was perfectly acceptable! While Mr Feiner enjoys a relatively unscathed lifestyle in his gated community, he has no qualms about devaluing your home or neighborhood to satisfy the financial needs and wants of his developer friends.
During the ZBA meeting many points were made by the attorney’s for Shelbourne, although many if not most were simply their opinion. In fact they showed a flyover video recorded by a drone of the property. They claimed to have unanimous Planning Board and Town Board support. This point is correct. Mr Feiner wants this project and these two Boards’ members know not to go against him or be “Sonya’d”. So they are for it. They claim there will be less impervious space and they are remediating the existing flooding on the northwest corner. Perhaps, but remediation usually entails regrading and altering the terrain, ultimately moving the water from one location to another. A key point, then, is who will get stuck with the water? They plan to extend the sewer lines into the existing ones in the area. New, larger sewer piping will be linked for these 80 units into the smaller existing sewer lines already in place. With a failing infrastructure throughout our Town being ignored by this administration, we don’t think this is a very good plan. Finally, attorneys claimed they worked closely with emergency responders at their other facilities to respond to alarms without lights and sirens. We know this cannot be correct.
The Shelbourne attorney’s tag-team presentation insisted multiple times that the residents for this facility will come from our Greenburgh neighborhoods. They will not be welcome if they are on Medicaid or have no assets to pay their way into this high-end facility. They also claimed to have ten facilities operating elsewhere and three of them are on less than the required 4-acres of property. Yet they have never said where these facilities are. Why does this matter?
Because as you agree to insert any commercial facility in a residential neighborhood, it sets a precedent that then allows any commercial facility to appeal for a variance and build where they want, whether appropriate or not. Likewise, when you have a Town Board who refuses to follow the zoning and dare we say Comprehensive Plan for the Unincorporated Town, you’ll get fractured neighborhoods, lack of continuity with looks, traffic and feel all being compromised. Is that what our homeowners signed on for when they purchased their home? We doubt it.
At issue are the same two points Shelbourne refuses to accept and know they don’t have to, mostly because they have Mr Feiner on their side fighting their fight. But the Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals, as we mentioned before, is the Town’s and its residents’ last line of defense. This proposed facility needs variances because the property is too small at 3.79-acres instead of the required 4-acres and is over a mile away from the State or County right-of-way that is required to be 200ft or less. The Town allowed Brightview’s attorney’s to write the current Town Zoning ordinance. That ordinance was tailor written for their facility at Rt. 119 and Benedict Avenue. It overwhelmed the rest of the neighborhood, is exclusionary to Greenburgh residents on Medicaid or without any money to purchase a space and doesn’t blend in with the surrounding area.
If you’re not sure that the size really makes a difference, go there and see how their facility looms over the edge of the property and overpowers the area. Shelbourne’s requests for variances will probably be approved by the newer half of the Zoning Board. However, this request is cut and dry. The variances should be refused because the variances are bigger than a simple variance such as moving a set back distance from 50ft to 40ft. Shelbourne is looking to cavalierly overturn Town Zoning code for their financial benefit. This must not be allowed to happen. If Shelbourne truly wants to build an assisted living facility in Greenburgh, they should seek a different location. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.