DRAFT: NOV. 14, 2001

 

FINDINGS STATEMENT OF THE VILLAGE OF HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON BOARD OF TRUSTEES PURSUANT TO THE STATE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY REVIEW ACT FOR THE PROPOSED ZONING AMENDMENTS PERTAINING TO CONTINUING CARE RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES

 

I.            INTRODUCTION

 

This document constitutes the Findings of the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson (the “Village” or “Hastings”) Board of Trustees (“Trustees”), pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”), Article 8 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law (“ECL”), and the regulations promulgated thereunder (6 NYCRR Part 617), with respect to the request by the John E. Andrus Memorial, Inc. (“Andrus” or the “Applicant”) for amendments to the Zoning Code relating to Continuing Care Retirement Communities (the “proposed zoning amendments”).    (The document is referred to hereinafter as the “Findings”.)

 

Andrus has also applied to the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson Planning Board (“Planning Board”) for subsequent approvals pertaining to its proposed expansion and conversion of the existing nursing home facility to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (“CCRC”) to be known as the Andrus Retirement Community.  Planning Board review of those applications is dependent upon an affirmative determination of the Board of Trustees with respect to the proposed zoning amendments.  The specific project proposed by the Applicant, however, exemplifies that which would be permissible under the proposed zoning amendments that are the subject of these Findings.  Accordingly, the proposed zoning amendments, together with the applications for Planning Board approval of the CCRC, are collectively described herein and in the underlying SEQRA documents as the “Proposed Action.”

 

A.            The Basic Criteria for Review of the Proposed Zoning Amendments

 

As described more fully below, Andrus submitted an application to amend the Zoning Code to allow for the expansion and conversion of its existing nursing home facility on an approximately 23.4-acre property in the southern part of the Village (the “Site”). The initial proposed amendments were modified during the SEQRA and zoning amendment processes, resulting in the zoning amendments that are the subject of these Findings.

 

Under State law, the principal issue presented is the consistency of the proposed zoning amendments with the Village’s “comprehensive plan.”  The comprehensive plan of the Village, like those of most municipalities in the State, is not found in a single document.  Rather, the comprehensive plan is an amalgam of numerous components, including Village land use and planning documents, land use and environmental legislation and local laws, historic land uses and land use trends, environmental features, and other relevant factors.  These various considerations are addressed in this document.

 

             The most critical issues presented by the Proposed Action are: (1) the appropriateness of the CCRC use in the Village; (2) consistency with aspects of the comprehensive plan relating to density (expressed in terms of building mass, overall bulk, and population), visual impacts, and community character; (3) consistency with the Village and County Affordable Housing policies; and (4) the adequacy of proposed payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (“PILOTs”) as mitigation for the proposed use’s tax-exempt status.  Each of these key issues, as well as the other relevant criteria considered by the Trustees in connection with the proposed zoning amendments, is analyzed in detail in Section IV, below.

 

            In brief, the four voting Trustees[1] split on the issue of whether a CCRC is an appropriate use in the Village.  The Trustees did agree, however, that the scale of development that would be permissible under the proposed zoning amendments, as demonstrated by the Andrus proposal, would result in adverse impacts to community character and visual resources.  The Trustees therefore believe that the proposed zoning amendments are inconsistent with the Village’s planning goals and comprehensive plan.  Further, although certain aspects of the Proposed Action, such as the provisions for increased setbacks, the imposition of new building and lot coverage limitations, and the contribution to the trailway system, would further certain of Hastings’ planning goals, overall they would not sufficiently mitigate the adverse impacts associated with the allowable bulk and density.  The Trustees also find that the Applicant’s proposed PILOT and contributions to affordable housing are insufficient to meet the Village’s needs and planning goals.

 

B.        Synopsis of the Proposed Zoning Amendments and Consequential Permissible Development

 

The proposed zoning amendments (described more fully in Section II) would allow a lawfully existing senior use on properties in an R-20 One-Family Residence zoning district to seek a special use permit from the Planning Board allowing conversion of such a facility to a CCRC.   CCRCs are designed to provide secure and comfortable living conditions for seniors within a community.  The new CCRC use proposed by Andrus -- which incorporates a range of living arrangements with a wide variety of medical, recreational, and other services and amenities -- is intended to provide a better mechanism for fulfilling these conditions than any of the presently permitted special uses in R-20 districts.

 

The special use permit would be subject to a variety of conditions, including minimum lot size, sufficient access, maximum density, age restrictions on residency, maximum building and lot coverages, setbacks, height restrictions, and off-street parking requirements.  If adopted by the Board of Trustees, the proposed zoning would allow Andrus to seek Planning Board approval of a special use permit and site plan for expansion and conversion of its existing nursing home facility to the Andrus Retirement Community.[2]

 

The existing nursing home has been operating on the Site since the early 1950s.  It is licensed by the New York State Department of Health.  It has 247 skilled nursing beds; however, in contemplation of development of a CCRC, as of February 2001, Andrus had reduced the number of occupants to approximately 79 residents.  As proposed during the environmental review process, the Andrus Retirement Community would have comprised 273 units.  There would have been 201 independent living units (“ILUs”) and 72 skilled nursing beds (with the anticipation that 19 of those beds would eventually be converted to assisted living units).  The ILUs could accommodate single persons or couples, and would have varied in size from studios to two-bedroom units.  There would be a single common area for all residents.  All residents would be at least 62 years of age.  Andrus and Beth Abraham Health Services would operate the CCRC, which requires approval from the Department of Health pursuant to Article 46 of the New York State Public Health Law (as well as a nursing home license).

 

To accommodate the then-proposed increase in size from 247 nursing units to 273 mixed units, Andrus had proposed to add six new buildings in the central area of the Site, ranging in height from two to five stories. These new buildings would be connected to the existing approximately 200,000 square foot, eight-story facility.  All new buildings would be set back at least 100 feet from Site boundaries, and the existing staff residence building on Old Broadway would be removed (though an existing garage would remain).  Although the total parking areas would increase, almost all would be located outside the 100-foot buffer.  Some of the parking along Old Broadway would be shifted to the center of the Site.  Landscaping would be increased.   The meadow at the north end of the Site would be preserved under a conservation easement, and Andrus would provide a trail through the Site to become open to the public and part of the Village’s trailway system.

 

            Near the culmination of the zoning amendment review process before the Board of Trustees, Andrus modified both the requested zoning amendments and its proposed development.  Andrus requested that certain additional zoning provisions recommended by the Planning Board (relating to a maximum Floor Area Ratio and increased setbacks) be included as part of the proposed amendments, and modified its proposed development by eliminating proposed Building E, a 3-story, 59 foot high building that was to have contained 31 ILUs.  No other changes were proposed.  Thus, the current proposal is for a CCRC of 242 units, of which 170 would be ILUs.

 

C.            Overview of History of Proposed Action

 

Andrus submitted its application to the Board of Trustees for certain amendments to the Zoning Code in August 1998.  That application proposed the creation of a “floating zone”; i.e., the creation of a new CCRC district that the Board of Trustees, upon the satisfaction of certain conditions (e.g., minimum lot size, certain access, and adequate infrastructure), could place, or “drop,” on particular parcels.  Once an area was zoned as a CCRC district, a special use permit for the CCRC use could be sought from the Board of Trustees.  Any such development would remain subject to site plan approval by the Planning Board.  Along with these proposed zoning amendments, Andrus proposed to expand its existing nursing home to 297 units.

 

In the Fall of 1998, the Planning Board was designated as lead agency. In October, Andrus submitted a draft Scope for the Draft EIS (“DEIS”).  After public meetings thereon, a final Scope was adopted in December 1998.

 

The Applicant submitted a preliminary DEIS to the Planning Board for its review in May 1999.  There were several iterations of this document, based upon its review by the Planning Board and its independent consultants, Frederick P. Clark Associates (“FPCA”) and Allee King Rosen & Fleming, Inc., and special environmental counsel (Sive, Paget & Riesel, P.C.).  The DEIS was accepted by the Planning Board as adequate to commence the public review process in early October 1999.

 

The DEIS analyzed a reduced project from that originally proposed, consisting of 274 units (202 ILUs, 24 assisted living units and 44 skilled nursing beds) in six new buildings.  It assessed the consistency of the proposed floating zone for CCRCs with the Village comprehensive plan and identified alternative zoning approaches, including the establishment of a special use permit for CCRCs.  In addition, the DEIS assessed the various land use and environmental impacts of the proposed expansion and conversion of the existing nursing home to a CCRC.

 

A public hearing on the DEIS was held on November 8, 1999, with a period for the provision of written comments scheduled to expire on November 14, 1999.  The period for the submission of written comments, however, was extended several times, ultimately to February 29, 2000, until the Applicant had filed its application for a Certificate of Authority with the State Department of Health and had made that document available for public review and comment. 

 

There were numerous comments on the DEIS.  Many of these comments reflected substantial concern regarding the creation of a floating zone for CCRCs in the Village.  There were also extensive comments on various impacts of allowing amendments to the Zoning Code that would permit expansion of the existing facility to the proposed CCRC.  Those comments focused primarily on effects associated with the density, height and bulk of the proposal, including impacts on visual quality, open space, neighborhood character, and traffic.  

 

Andrus submitted a preliminary Final EIS (“FEIS”) to the Planning Board for its review in June 2000.  Relying on work conducted by the Village’s independent consultants, the preliminary FEIS modified the proposed amendments to the Zoning Code.  Rather than seeking to create a new CCRC district, and to rezone the Site to that district, the Applicant now sought to modify the existing R-20 district regulations to allow for the conversion of an existing senior use to a “Continuing Senior Care Facility” (a CCRC) through a special use permit process before the Planning Board.  The CCRC proposed in the preliminary FEIS was also somewhat different from the initial proposal; it was reduced to 273 units, with 201 ILUs and 72 skilled nursing beds, with the anticipation that 19 of those nursing units would ultimately be converted to assisted living units.

 

The preliminary FEIS, like the DEIS, underwent several iterations based on review by the Planning Board and its consultants, as well as the public (which was afforded the opportunity to comment on versions of the preliminary FEIS).  A series of computer simulations and a scaled model of the proposed development were shown to the Planning Board and public and incorporated in the FEIS.  In addition, the Planning Board retained PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PWC”) to conduct an independent analysis of the Applicant’s assertion that it was not financially feasible to reduce meaningfully the size of the proposed CCRC.  The PWC evaluations concurred with the Applicant’s studies showing that an approximately 25% smaller project was not financially feasible.  The Planning Board accepted the FEIS as complete and adequate in scope and contents on March 12, 2001.

 

The FEIS reflected modifications to the design of the proposed CCRC, including:  (a) movement of one of the proposed buildings (Building F) out of the 100-foot buffer and elimination of one floor from another of the proposed buildings (Building E); (b) improvement of the service entrance to enhance sight distance and vehicle turning movements; (c) removal of the parking area near Old Broadway and replacement with a landscaped garden; (d) relocation of some parking outside of the 100-foot buffer; (e) preservation of the northern meadow area through a conservation easement; (f) increase in the number of stormwater detention basins from two to three; and (g) provision of a pedestrian trail through the property. 

 

The Applicant also offered in the FEIS to take certain actions relating to affordable housing:  (a) continue its existing “scholarship” policy for current residents of the nursing home (i.e., retain those persons who would not otherwise be able to afford residency in the CCRC); (b) make a one-time contribution of $350,000 to the Village for affordable housing purposes; (c) provide to the Village up to 50 hours of technical assistance of Beth Abraham staff with expertise in the affordable housing area; and (d) make available to  the Village approximately 1/3 of an acre of land on the northernmost part of the Site for development of affordable housing (if not needed to meet zoning density requirements).

 

To address its status as a not-for-profit entity not subject to real property taxes, Andrus  offered to provide annual PILOTs to the Village and Hastings-on-Hudson Union Free School District (“School District”), and to make a one-time development payment to the Village.  The agreements would have a 99-year term, and would provide :  (1) a one-time development fee to the Village of approximately $605,000; (2) an annual payment to the Village in lieu of taxes and administrative fees of $179,000, increasing by $30,000 per year once “scholarship” units are no longer occupied, or starting in year 12 of the project, whichever is earlier; and (3) an annual payment to the School District in lieu of taxes of $125,000.  Total annual payments to both the Village and the School District would increase by 2% compounded annually.

 

Following its review of the FEIS, and after holding a number of public meetings, on April 30, 2001, the Planning Board adopted its Recommendation of the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson Planning Board and Findings Statement Pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act for the Proposed Zoning Amendments Pertaining to Continuing Care Retirement Communities (“Planning Board Recommendation”).

 

            In brief, the Planning Board found that the development of a CCRC on the Site is an appropriate goal that would serve an important purpose in the Hastings community and would meet a number of the Village’s planning criteria, including: (i) adding variety to the Village’s population through the provision of senior housing; and (ii) contributing to the Village’s goals of enhancing open space, providing greenspace overlays, and adding to the trailway system.  In addition, with the provision of suitable PILOTs and affordable housing measures,  the Planning Board found that it would do so at net benefit to the Village’s fiscal resources and affordable housing goals.

 

Nonetheless, the Planning Board further found that the then-proposed zoning amendments, and the size of a development they would permit, are inconsistent with other of the Village’s planning principles.  Most significantly, a majority of Planning Board members found that the overall bulk and density of the proposed development, as permitted by the proposed zoning amendments, are incompatible with surrounding land uses and far exceed what would otherwise be permitted on the Site.  Accordingly, the Planning Board recommended that the Zoning Code be amended to permit the development of CCRCs in the Village, but with more restrictive density requirements than those proposed in the FEIS.  Consistent with this position, the Planning Board recommended specific additional restrictions that it believed should be included in the proposed zoning amendments.  Thereafter, the Planning Board’s Recommendation was filed with the Trustees for further consideration of the proposed zoning amendments.

 

On June 7, 2001, the proposal was referred by the Trustees to the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson Zoning Board of Appeals (“ZBA”) for its comments in light of the changes recommended by the Planning Board.[3]  On July 27, 2001, the Zoning Board of Appeals, by a vote of 4 to 1, issued a recommendation that the Trustees not enact the proposed zoning amendments.  Chief among the reasons for the ZBA’s recommendation were:  (1) the scope, density and height of the permissible development; (2) the inadequacy of the proposed PILOT; and (3) questions about the sufficiency of Andrus’ representations that a smaller project could not be built.

 

On June 7 and June 14, 2001, the Trustees held public hearings on the proposed amendments.  Discussions of the proposed amendments continued at public meetings held during the Summer and early Fall.  In October, Andrus submitted its modified zoning amendments, which would include a maximum Floor Area Ratio[4] of 0.375 and increased setback from 1.5 times the height of a structure to 2 times that height.  Andrus also modified its project to eliminate Building E (3 stories and 59 feet high) and thereby reduce the number of ILUs from 201 to 170, and the total number of units from 273 to 242. Because these changes reduced the potential environmental and land use impacts of the zoning amendments and project, neither a Supplemental EIS nor new public hearing before the Trustees was necessary.

 

II.            Description of the Site, the Proposed Zoning Amendments, and the Proposed Action

 

            A.            Site History

 

            The Site consists of 24.44 acres located in the southern part of the Village.  It comprises five parcels, four constituting a 23.39 acre parcel associated with the existing Andrus Retirement Home, and a 1.05 acre parcel associated with the existing Helen Benedict House.  The Site is bounded by Tompkins Avenue on the south, Old Broadway on the east and New Broadway on the west.  Its northern boundary adjoins private residential properties.

 

            The Site was formerly occupied by a private home built in the 1860s, and was operated as a “roadhouse” and restaurant from 1910 to 1933.  After 1933, the property was abandoned and fell into disrepair.  In the early 1950s, the Site was purchased by the Andrus family and was redeveloped as the Andrus Retirement Community.  As noted, it has been consistently used in that capacity since that time, and is presently licensed as a skilled nursing facility by the New York State Department of Health.

           

B.            Present Use of the Site

 

                        1.            Existing Land Use and Zoning

 

The majority of the 23.39-acre portion of the Site that houses the existing nursing home is currently zoned R-20 One-Family Residence under the Village Zoning Code.  The northernmost portion of the Site is zoned R-10 One-Family Residence.

 

The existing nursing home use falls within the category of special permit uses provided for in R-20 districts.[5]   The facility is, however, dimensionally non-conforming with the Zoning Code’s requirements for such special uses, and has never obtained a special use permit.

 

There are currently four structures on the Site.  The main structure is eight stories and 108 feet in height (128 feet including the existing water tower),[6] comprises approximately 200,000 square feet, and sits on top of the hill in the center of the Site.  It provides housing for seniors, including independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing in a total of 247 beds.  The remaining three structures on the Site are the staff residence house, which contains 22 apartments and is approximately 20,000 square feet in size, an eight car parking garage, which is approximately 2,200 square feet in size, and the approximately 4,000 square foot Helen Benedict House.  The remainder of the Site is maintained with landscaping, mature stands of trees, and meadow.

 

Primary access to the Site is provided along Tompkins Avenue; a secondary access for deliveries is located on Old Broadway.  The Site has approximately 2,000 linear feet of frontage along New Broadway, 2,100 linear feet along Old Broadway, and 100 linear feet along Tompkins Avenue.  In addition to the existing garage, there are presently 123 surface parking spaces servicing the facility.  The Site currently has a total impervious area, including buildings, roads, parking lots and sidewalks, of 4.17 acres or 17.9% of the Site.

 

Surrounding uses include a residential neighborhood and the Old Croton Aqueduct to the west, a low-density residential neighborhood to the north, a single-family residential neighborhood to the east, and institutional land uses associated with the Graham-Windham School and the Julia Dykeman Andrus Memorial Association and Juvenile Home to the south.

 

Zoning designations in the vicinity of the Site include R-10, R-7.5 One-Family Residence, and R-20 associated with the large institutional tracts to the south.  A view preservation district associated with the Hudson River waterfront is located west of and down-slope from the Site.

 

                        2.            Existing Natural Features and Utilities

 

The Site is an oblong-shaped property.  The topography rises to a high point located at the center of the property in the vicinity of the existing facility.  From this high point, there is more gradual sloping terrain running in the north/south direction, and more steep terrain running in the east/west direction.  The more severe slope category on the site, i.e., greater than 35% slope, exists on the western and north-central portions of the Site.

 

Stormwater from the Site generally flows westward, discharging into existing storm drainage outlets.  There are no streams or other wetland areas on the Site.  Lawn and landscaped planting exists around the developed area of the Site, and forested fringes exist along portions of the perimeter.  The meadow is in the northern portion of the Site.

 

Water is currently provided by United Water New Rochelle.  The Site is located within the service area of the Yonkers Wastewater Treatment Facility.

 

C.            The Proposed Zoning Amendments

 

            The proposed zoning amendments would create a new special use to be permitted in R-20 zones.  Specifically, a “Continuing Senior Care Facility” would be permitted by special use permit from the Planning Board where a lawfully existing senior use is already present, subject to compliance with certain enumerated standards.  The amendments proposed by Andrus  are set forth below.    A complete set of the amendments is annexed hereto as Exhibit “A”.

 

            The term “Continuing Senior Care Facility” would be added to Section 295-5 of the Zoning Code and defined as “[a]n age restricted development that provides a continuum of accommodations and care, consisting of independent and/or assisted living accommodations, and long-term bed care together with a variety of ancillary uses and structures….”  Thus, a CCRC would be a type of Continuing Senior Care Facility.

 

            A new Section 295-67(B)(6) would be added providing that:  “A lawfully existing senior use may be changed and expanded for use as a Continuing Senior Care Facility by special use permit of the Planning Board….” subject to the following conditions:

 

(a)       Such lawfully existing senior use must be a licensed senior use involving a group living environment where seniors receive nursing care and/or other assistance with daily living activities.

 

(b)            The permitted density may not exceed twelve living units per acre.

 

(c)       The residency of each living unit is limited to households consisting of individuals who all are at least 62 years of age or older.

 

(d)       All buildings and structures on the site together may cover not more than 15% of the lot area, and the sum total of land covered with buildings, structures and paved areas may not exceed 33% of the lot area.

 

            (e)            New buildings may not exceed 65 feet or 5 stories in height.

 

(f)        The lot size must be at least 20 acres, and have frontage with adequate and safe access to a State or County highway.

 

(g)       Structures must be set back at least 2 times the height of the structure but in no case less than 100 feet from the nearest lot line.  The Planning Board may, however, permit up to 15% of the 100 foot setback area to be occupied by paved surfaces so long as the Planning Board determines that such placement is necessary to reduce overall site disturbance and facilitate an improved parking and traffic circulation system on the site.

 

(h)       Parking areas must be distributed on the site in proportion to the different parking demands of the project components.  The applicant can be permitted to forego the initial improvement of up to 25% of the required parking spaces if the Planning Board determines that such spaces are not initially needed.

 

(i)        The proposed signage must comply with the existing Sign Code and be set back at least 10 feet from all property lines.

 

            (j)            Stormwater detention facilities may be approved by the Planning Board.

 

(k)              A public hearing on the special use permit application is held upon the same notice as that required for a zoning variance.

 

(l)            The maximum floor area ratio is 0.375.

 

            Section 295-67(C)(8) would be amended to provide that accessory uses customarily subordinate and incidental to a Continuing Senior Care Facility, including community facilities, recreational facilities, common areas, kitchen and dining areas, medical and dental services, retail shops and sales office are allowed.

 

Section 295-36 would be amended to provide that parking must be provided at the rate of 1 space for each independent living unit and 1 space for each 2 assisted living or skilled nursing living units.

 

Finally, Section 295-103 would be amended to grant the Planning Board the authority to grant a special use permit for a Continuing Senior Care Facility.[7]

 

D.            The Proposed Project

           

            The proposed Andrus Retirement Community, which would be allowable under the proposed zoning amendments, is planned as a CCRC to be licensed under Article 46 of the New York State Public Health Law.  As presently proposed, it would contain 170 ILUs and a combination of 72 skilled nursing beds and enriched housing units.  (As noted, 19 of the planned 72 skilled nursing beds are expected to ultimately be converted into assisted living, or enriched housing, units.)  The projected total resident population of the CCRC would be approximately 315, based on an average of 1.3 persons per CCRC unit.  As the existing facility has a capacity of 247 residents, the proposal would increase population density by approximately 65 persons or about 26 percent.  The CCRC is expected to achieve full occupancy (which is considered to be 95%) two years after beginning operations.

                       

                        1.            Article 46 of the New York State Public Health Law

 

            Article 46 of the Public Health Law was created for the purpose of approving and monitoring CCRCs.  The regulation and supervision provided for in the law is intended to ensure both the appropriate care for all residents and the long-term financial health of the CCRC.  Under Article 46, potential operators are required to obtain a Certificate of Authority from the New York State Life Care Community Council, certifying that the proposed CCRC has met certain financial criteria and demonstrated financial viability.  Among other things, a potential operator must demonstrate through pre-sales and other proofs that the project will be successful and has achieved 70% occupancy with 10% deposits.  The law also sets forth strict requirements for the provision of health care and social services, including a requirement that all residents within a CCRC receive the same level of services.  The issuance of a Certificate of Authority is also necessary to obtain financing from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency (“IDA”), which is being sought by Andrus.

 

                        2.            Summary of Proposed Physical Development

 

The 23.39 acres presently associated with the Andrus Retirement Home would be affected under the project that would be allowable under the proposed zoning amendments.  The existing main building on the Site that currently contains the 247 bed skilled nursing facility would be renovated to house 92 of the ILUs and all common areas for the CCRC.  As noted, this building is eight stories and, and its highest point, 128 feet in height, which would remain unchanged.

 

Four new structures would be built to accommodate the remaining 79 ILUs.  A fifth new structure would be constructed to house the nursing facility (53 beds) and the anticipated enriched housing (19 units).  These structures would range from two to five stories and 50 to 65 feet in height.  All of the new structures would connect to the existing facility.  The total estimated square footage for the CCRC is 416,645, an increase of approximately 196,000 square feet.  The density would remain essentially unchanged, dropping slightly  from the current 10.6 units per acre to 10.4 units per acre.  Surface parking spaces would increase from 123 to up to roughly 129.[8]  Total impervious surface areas would increase from 4.17 acres to 6.75 acres.  Building and lot coverages would increase from approximately 4.7% and 17.9% to 10.3% and 29%, respectively.

 

            A 100-foot building setback would be established around the property.  The existing staff residence building, which is located 31.5 feet from the property line, would accordingly be removed.  A parking area presently located on the east side of the Site closest to Hudson Street, and within the 100-foot buffer, would also be removed and replaced with a garden area.  The total number of parking spaces within the setback would accordingly be reduced from 86 to 64.  The remaining parking spaces would be provided in new below-grade garages within four of the new buildings, the existing garage, and additional at-grade parking lots.

 

            All utilities required to service the CCRC are presently located within or near the subject property.  Stormwater drainage would be conveyed by a series of swales, open ditches, catch basins, pipes, detention basins and piped connections to existing facilities.  Water would continue to be provided by United Water New Rochelle.  Sanitary sewage would be collected by means of on-site gravity lines and thereafter conveyed to the existing municipal sewage systems.  Gas, telephone and electric services would all be available from the respective utility companies.  Proposed utility lines would be situated underground.

 

            A meadow located at the north end of the property would be preserved through a conservation easement.  A number of significant trees throughout the property would be preserved, and wooded areas along New Broadway and at the south end of the property, as well as the formal lawn area to the north of the existing building, would be retained.  In addition to removing the parking area located nearest to Hudson Street, a portion of a parking area presently located opposite Goodwin Street would be replaced with a landscape buffer.  The Applicant proposed a landscaping program for the entire Site.  A trail open to the public would be provided through the Site and become a part of the Village’s trailway system.  Permanent preservation of the trail would be ensured through a pedestrian easement.

 

            The construction period is anticipated to last approximately 26 months, with starting dates and phasing subject to approvals, sales, and financing schedules.

 


                        3.            Proposed Levels of Service for Residents

 

In anticipation of the development of a CCRC, the number of occupants in the existing nursing home had been reduced as of February 2001 to approximately 79 through attrition and a moratorium on new residents.  It is anticipated that the number of existing residents would be reduced to approximately 70 by the time the CCRC began operations.  These existing residents of the nursing home would be transitioned into the CCRC as “scholarship” residents when it became operational.

 

New residents would be offered the traditional “Type A” or “life care” contract as defined in Article 46.  The “Type A” contract provides for initial entry fees and monthly fees to cover independent living and nursing facility care, with the monthly fee to remain the same regardless of the level of care required by the resident.

 

Independent Living Units

 

ILUs would range in size from studios to two-bedroom apartments.  All apartments would have fully equipped kitchens, and washers and dryers.  Residents would have access to a number of on-site services, including three different dining facilities, convenience stores, banking services, beauty and barber shops, activity and meeting rooms, a swimming pool, and a fitness and wellness center.  They would also be eligible for nursing facility care consistent with their contract arrangements.

 

In the event that an ILU resident’s health condition changes, an assessment of the resident’s service requirements would be performed by CCRC staff and the resident’s physician.  Based upon this assessment, a determination for moving the resident to assisted living or nursing facility services would be made by the resident, the resident’s family and the resident’s physician in consultation with the CCRC staff.

 

Nursing Facility

 

            The nursing facility would originally consist of 72 beds in private rooms.  If enriched housing, or assisted living, units were introduced, the number of nursing facility beds would be reduced by 19, or to 53 beds.  It is anticipated that these beds would be initially filled by current residents on a “scholarship” basis.  The CCRC does, however, plan to accept residents without life care contracts directly into nursing facility beds should such beds become available.

 

Assisted Living

 

            It is anticipated that at a future date, 19 beds in the nursing facility would be converted to enriched housing, or assisted living, units.  These residents would receive assistance with the activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring and eating, and would have a full program of therapeutic and recreational activities appropriate to their needs.  A nurse would be on staff during the day shift and on-call during all other shifts.

 

                        4.            Amenities

 

            In keeping with the CCRC concept, a variety of amenities would also be provided to allow residents the opportunity to access social, recreational and health services without having to leave the facility.  These amenities would include:  (i) three different dining facilities, (ii) convenience stores, (iii) banking services, (iv) beauty/barber services, (v) prescription drug delivery services, (vi) a pool, (vii) a gym and fitness center, (viii) recreation and arts and crafts rooms, (ix) library, (x) an auditorium, (xi) a putting green, and (xii) a walking trail.

 

                        5.            Staffing

 

            The facility would begin operations with approximately 76 staff members.[9]  The health center would operate around the clock, and be divided into three shifts:  7:00 am to 3:00 pm, 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm, and 11:00 pm to 7:00 am.  The administrative staff shift would be from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Once the facility achieves 95% occupancy, the anticipated number of employees would not exceed 139.  Employees are expected to travel to and from work both by public transportation and private vehicles.

 

                        6.            Anticipated Costs

 

The Applicant anticipated that the cost of the project, before modification in October 2001, would approximate $138.3 million.  It is intended that the project be financed with the sale of tax exempt and taxable revenue bonds issued by the Westchester County IDA.  The proposed bond issue would approximate $119.5 million for the non-modified project, $66.9 million of which would be short term bonds to be repaid in 5-7 years from resident entrance fees collected as residents move into the CCRC, and $52.5 million of which would be long term bonds issued for a term of 30 years.  No updated financial information on the modified project was provided, except for the explanation that the reduction was made possible by a one-time infusion of additional funds from the Helen Benedict Foundation.

 

III.            Village Land Use and Planning Documents

           

Section III of the Planning Board Recommendation describes in detail the relevant Village land use and planning documents: “A Community Vision for Comprehensive Planning & Strategic Action” (August 1999) (“Community Vision”); the Village’s Affordable Housing Policy (June 1997); “Planning Review (May 1996); “Planning Principles (April 1988); “Patterns for Westchester: The Land and the People” (December 1995) (“Patterns”); “Housing Opportunities for Westchester, A Guide to Affordable Housing Development” (1997); and “Affordable Housing Allocation Plan” (1993).  That section of the Recommendation (the entirety of which is annexed hereto as Exhibit “B”) is incorporated herein by reference.  

 

IV.            Consistency of the Proposed Zoning Amendments, as Reflected by the Proposed CCRC, With the Village Comprehensive Plan

 

A.            Land Use and Zoning

 

1.            Present Conditions

 

a. Zoning of Property

 

As noted, the vast majority of the Site is located within the R-20 zoning district.  The northernmost portion of the Site (consisting primarily of the area commonly referred to as the “meadow”) is located within the R-10 district. 

 

Both the R-10 and R-20 districts are single-family residential districts that permit one-family detached dwellings as the primary principal permitted use.  Like most single-family residential districts, the R-20 and R-10 districts also allow certain other uses subject to additional criteria.  For example, “places of worship, parish houses and buildings for religious education” are permitted principal uses provided they meet certain additional standards, including those pertaining to frontage, building and lot coverage, and building height.  Certain other uses, such as schools and day nurseries, libraries and museums, hospitals, nursing homes, convalescent homes, and homes for the aged are permitted by special use permit, again, provided they meet similar additional criteria.

 

The existing facility on the Site does not comply with many of the requirements of the R-20 and R-10 districts.  A comparison of the existing facility to the requirements of the R-20 and R-10 districts, including the additional criteria for certain permitted uses in the zones, is provided below.

 

b. Dwelling Units

 

The R-20 district allows roughly 1.85 dwellings per acre and the R-10 district allows roughly 3.70 dwellings per acre (assuming a typical 15% reduction for roadways and other infrastructure).  Convalescent homes, nursing homes, and homes for the aged which do not provide general medical care are permitted to provide accommodations for up to 5 patients per acre.  There are no such unit per acre or population per acre limitations for other special permit uses (e.g., convalescent homes, nursing homes, and homes for the aged which do provide general medical care).

 

The existing facility contains 247 units for a dwelling unit density of 10.6 units per acre.  Due to the significantly lower household size in the facility (assumed to be one person per unit, due to the extremely small size of each unit therein), at full occupancy, the population density of the facility was approximately 60% higher than the population density in the R-20 district and was likely lower than the population density in the R-10 district.  The population density in the R-20 district has been estimated at 6 people per acre and the population density in the R-10 district has been estimated at 12 people per acre (assuming a household size of 3.25 persons). 

 

c. Building and Lot Coverage

 

The maximum permitted coverage for buildings and structures in the R-20 district (the most restrictive residential zone in the Village) is 15%, as is the standard for special permit uses (e.g., places of worship, nursing homes, convalescent homes and homes for the aged).  The maximum permitted coverage for buildings and structures in the R-10 district (the next most restrictive residential zone in the Village) is 25%.  Neither zone contains a standard regarding the maximum percentage of impervious surface coverage (i.e., “lot coverage”) for the development of single-family lots.  However, the maximum permitted lot coverage for places of worship, nursing homes, convalescent homes and homes for the aged, and other such special permit uses is 40%.

 

The existing facility consists of four buildings (the main structure, the staff residence, the parking garage and the Helen Benedict House) that result in an existing building coverage of approximately 4.7%.  The existing total lot coverage is about 17.9%.

 

d. Building Height

 

Both the R-20 and the R-10 districts restrict buildings to 35 feet and 2-1/2 stories in height.  As noted, the current main building is 106 feet in height at the penthouse and 128 feet in height at the water tower, and is eight stories in height at the penthouse level.

 

e. Minimum Lot Size

 

The R-20 district requires a minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet.  The R-10 district requires a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet.  However, certain special permit uses require larger lot areas.  Convalescent homes, homes for the aged and nursing homes not providing general medical care are required to have a minimum lot size of 5 acres.  Convalescent homes, homes for the aged and nursing homes which do provide general medical care require a minimum lot size of 20 acres. 

 

The current facility is located on an approximately 23-acre site, excluding the approximately 1-acre lot containing the Helen Benedict House.

 

f. Building Setbacks and Buffer Zones

 

The R-20 district requires 40-foot front and rear yards and two side yards totaling 50 feet (each of which must be at least 20 feet).  The R-10 district requires 25-foot front and rear yards and two side yards totaling 20 feet (each of which must be at least 8 feet).  Certain special permit uses, such as nursing homes, convalescent homes and homes for the aged which do provide general medical care, are required to have building setbacks of at least 40 feet along all lot lines, provided further that no side or rear yard is less than 1½ times the height of the building wall nearest that lot line.  Convalescent homes, nursing homes and homes for the aged not providing general medical care are required to have building setbacks of at least 75 feet along all lot lines.

 

Off-street parking and loading facilities for such uses are generally not permitted within front yards, or are in any event not permitted within 20 feet of any adjoining property.  However, the Planning Board may permit up to 10% of required parking spaces to be located within the front yard provided such spaces are limited to visitor use, are attractively landscaped, and are necessary to facilitate improved parking and traffic circulation.  In addition, the Zoning Code contains specific perimeter buffer and screening requirements (see Sections 295-28 and 295-46).

 

The existing staff residence building is located approximately 32 feet from the property line along Old Broadway and the existing garage structure is located approximately 50 feet from the property line along Old Broadway.  The other buildings on the Site are located in excess of 100 feet from the property lines.  For several hundred feet along Old Broadway, parking areas are located within very close proximity of the property line (generally around 10 feet with some areas even less).

           

g. Lot Frontage and Access

 

Places of worship and the other special permit uses discussed above are required to be located on a lot which fronts on, or which has direct and convenient access to, a major or collector road as determined by the Planning Board.  Convalescent homes, nursing homes and homes for the aged providing general medical care are specifically required to have at least 1,500 feet of frontage on a State highway.

 

The lot upon which the Site is located has access to a State highway and has frontage along Broadway and Old Broadway (a State highway) totaling well in excess of 1,500 feet.

 


2.            Proposed Zoning Amendments

 

                        a.            Zoning of Property

 

            The proposed zoning amendments would permit the expansion and conversion of a lawfully existing senior housing use that provides nursing care and/or other assistance with daily living activities for use as a Continuing Senior Care Facility in R-20 (and R-10) districts by special use permit from the Planning Board.  Proposed special use permit standards include controls on maximum unit density, residency restrictions related to age, maximum lot and building coverage, maximum building height, minimum lot size, and minimum building and parking lot setbacks.  Other related zoning text amendments, such as off-street parking requirements, are also proposed.  As addressed below, several of the special use permit standards proposed by the Applicant for this use would be the same as or more restrictive than existing zoning requirements for other special permit uses.  On the other hand, however, both building height and density would be significantly greater than that which is presently allowed.  Under the proposed zoning amendments, the Site would retain its existing R-20 and R-10 zoning district designations.

           

b. Dwelling Units

 

The proposed zoning amendments would permit up to 10.4 units per acre compared to the 10.6 dwelling units per acre density presently existing on the Site.  Like the existing facility, the proposed density standard would far exceed the density of dwelling units per acre in both the R-20 district (roughly 1.85 dwellings/acre) and the R-10 district (roughly 3.70 dwellings/acre).

 

The units that would be allowed under the proposed amendments could be as large as single-family residences in the area.  However, again similar to the existing facility, the population density would not be expected to be as comparatively high due to the smaller household size of CCRCs (overall 1.3 persons) as compared to single-family residential areas (3.25 persons per household).

 

The proposed 10.4 senior units per acre density would result in a population density of approximately 13.5 persons per acre, compared to 6 persons per acre in the R-20 district and 12 persons per acre in the R-10 district.  However, although the number of permitted units would be greater than that permitted in the R-7.5 district (i.e., 10.4 versus 5.8 units per acre), the actual population density would be somewhat lower due to the larger household size found in the single-family residence area.

 

The density allowed by the proposed zoning amendments would be both more restrictive and less restrictive than currently allowed for special permit uses.  When compared to the restrictions for convalescent homes, nursing homes, and homes for the aged which do not provide general medical care, the proposed amendments would allow a greater density:  13.5 persons per acre, as compared to the 5 patients per acre now authorized.  On the other hand, for such special permit uses which do provide general medical care, there are currently no population limitations.  Consequently, the proposed amendments would limit density in contrast to this special permitted use.

 

The permitted density would be in the mid-range of densities and building floor areas of other CCRCs that have been approved or are being reviewed by the State Department of Health.

 

Finally, the zoning would restrict residency of each living unit to households consisting of individuals at least 62 years of age or older.  Both the federal Fair Housing Act and the New York State Human Rights Law allow such residency restrictions on the basis of age.[10]  Consistent with these provisions, this residency restriction is proposed because it would require that all residents be at least 62 years of age, thus prohibiting school-aged children and persons of typical working age.

 

c. Building and Lot Coverage

 

The proposed zoning amendments would limit coverage by buildings and structures in a Continuing Senior Care Facility to 15%, which is the same as what is required throughout the R-20 district and for other special permit uses, and more restrictive than what is permitted in the R-10 district (25%). 

 

The proposed maximum permitted lot coverage requirement (i.e., the total coverage of all buildings, structures and paved areas) of 33% is more restrictive than the maximum permitted lot coverage requirement of 40% for other special permit uses.  (As noted above, there is no lot coverage requirement for uses other than special uses in R-20 and R-10 districts.)

           

The proposed zoning amendments also contain a provision which would allow the Planning Board to permit an applicant to forego the initial improvement of up to 25% of the required parking spaces if it is proven, to the satisfaction of the Planning Board, that such spaces are not needed based on the parking demands of the proposed use.  In such case, the approved site plan would show the location(s) on the site where such “land-banked” spaces could be provided in the future.  All unimproved parking spaces would be required to be used and maintained as landscaped grounds until used for parking.

 

d. Building Height

 

The proposed zoning amendments would limit proposed buildings to 65 feet or 5 stories in height, which would be significantly greater than the limit of 35 feet or 2½ stories in the R-20 and R-10 districts, but significantly lower than the height of the existing main building on the Site.

 


e. Minimum Lot Size

 

The proposed zoning amendments would require a Continuing Senior Care Facility to be located on a lot at least 20 acres in size, based on the objective of placing such uses on large properties, which affords greater opportunities for significant setbacks of buildings and parking areas from all sides and greater opportunity for significant and effective screening of the development.  The 20-acre lot requirement is consistent with the Village’s existing special use permit standards for nursing homes, convalescent homes and homes for the aged providing general medical care.

 

f. Building Setbacks and Buffer Zones

 

The proposed zoning amendments would require all proposed structures to be set back 2 times the height of the structure, but in no case less than 100 feet from the nearest lot line.  All paved surfaces, such as parking areas, loading areas and access roads, would also be required to be set back 100feet from the nearest lot line.  However, the Planning Board would have discretion to permit up to 15% of the 100-foot setback area to be occupied by paved surfaces provided the Board finds that such encroachment is necessary to reduce overall site disturbance and to facilitate an improved parking and traffic circulation system on the site.  The existing perimeter buffer and screening requirements of Section 295-46 would also have to be satisfied. 

 

The proposed 100-foot minimum setback for all proposed structures is based on the 100-foot wide conservation overlay zone recommended in the Community Vision.  This proposed setback requirement is greater than the existing building setback requirements for the other special permit uses described above.  The other uses described above are all required to be set back 40 feet from all property lines, with the exception of convalescent homes, nursing homes and homes for the aged not providing general medical care, which are required to have building setbacks of at least 75 feet.

 

The proposed setback for parking areas and other paved areas (i.e., 100 feet from all property lines) is similarly more restrictive than the existing standards for other special permit uses (i.e., a 40-foot setback for the majority of such uses and a 75-foot setback for convalescent homes, nursing homes and homes for the aged not providing general medical care).  The discretion provided to the Planning Board to allow a limited percentage of the setback area to be occupied by paved surfaces for certain site design reasons is similar to the discretion provided under Section 295-67(A)(3)(e) with regard to the other special permit uses.

 

g. Lot Frontage and Access

 

The proposed zoning amendments would require a Continuing Senior Care Facility to be located on a lot that has frontage and provides adequate and safe access to a State or County Highway.  This requirement is intended to restrict use to larger roads in the Village that would be more capable of handling the additional traffic (as opposed to local Village roads), and is similar to what is presently required for other special uses.

 

3.            Relationship of Proposal to Land Use and Zoning

 

This section discusses the CCRC proposed by Andrus to provide a better understanding of the type of development that would be permitted by the amendments.  The focus of this section is on the Zoning Code, which, as noted above, is one element of the Village’s “comprehensive plan.”

 

Additional discussions of the proposed project’s consistency with the Village’s land use planning policies, goals and objectives are presented in other sections of this document.

 

                        a.            Dwelling Units

 

As permitted by the proposed zoning amendments, the facility would nominally decrease  the number of dwelling units on the Site (from 247 to 243).  This would result in a density of 10.4 units per acre in the proposed facility in comparison to the current density of 10.6 units per acre in the existing facility.  The proposed facility, however, would involve a larger relative increase in population because the units in the proposed facility would be larger in size (484 to 1,493 square feet) in comparison to those in the existing facility (245 square feet in a typical room).  Thus, the average household size is assumed to increase from 1.0 in the existing facility to 1.3 in the proposed facility.  The resident population is therefore estimated to increase from 247 seniors in the existing facility at full occupancy to approximately 315 seniors estimated in the proposed facility.

 

                                    b.            Building and Lot Coverage

 

            In accordance with the proposed zoning requirements, the proposed facility would have an estimated building coverage of 10.3% (15% permitted) and a lot coverage of approximately 29% (33% permitted), as compared to the current building coverage of 4.7% and lot coverage of 17.9%.

 

                                    c.            Building Height

 

The height of the existing main building (106 feet at the penthouse and 128 feet at the water tower, and eight stories in height) would be unchanged.  It would remain lawfully nonconforming with regard to height and, in accordance with Section 295-55(A), could not be altered or enlarged to increase its nonconforming height without a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.  In accordance with the proposed zoning amendments, the new buildings would range from 50 to 65 feet and 2 to 5 stories in height.  The buildings are proposed to be constructed into the side of the hill so that the highest floor in any of the proposed buildings is approximately level with the second floor of the existing main building

 

                                    d.            Minimum Lot Size

 

The proposed facility is located on an approximately 23.4-acre site, excluding the approximately 1-acre lot containing the Helen Benedict House, in accordance with the proposed zoning requirements.

 

                                    e.            Building Setbacks and Buffer Zones

 

As required by the proposed zoning amendments, all proposed new buildings would be set back at least 100 feet, and at least 2 times their height, from the nearest lot lines.  The existing staff residence building, which is located approximately 32 feet from the property line along Old Broadway, would be removed. The existing garage structure, which is located approximately 50 feet from the property line along Old Broadway, would remain.

 

The total amount of development within the 100-foot buffer around the perimeter of the Site was estimated to increase by approximately 0.31 acres.[11]  This results primarily from the proposed 0.49-acre increase in paved areas (access roads and parking) within the 100-foot buffer (from 0.98 to 1.47 acres).  The proposed increase in paved areas within the buffer, however, is mitigated to a significant degree by the proposed removal of the staff residence building from this buffer.  The removal of this building would result in a 0.18-acre decrease (0.22 to 0.04 acres) in the amount of building coverage in this buffer.  The only building remaining in the buffer would be the existing garage, which has a building coverage of approximately 0.04 acres.

 

The proposed placement of the access roads and parking areas would also mitigate potential impacts, particularly in comparison to existing conditions.  Currently, parking areas are located within very close proximity of the property line (generally around 10 feet with some areas even less) for several hundred feet along Old Broadway.  Under the proposal, however, these parking areas would be relocated further away (generally over 25 feet) from the property line, which allows greater opportunity for the preservation of existing vegetation, the planting of new landscaping, and the placement of a proposed walking path along Old Broadway.  All paved areas would be screened in accordance with the perimeter buffer and screening requirements of Section 295-46.

 

                                   


f. Lot Frontage and Access

 

As would be required by the proposed zoning amendments, the lot upon which the facility is located has access to a State highway, and has frontage along Broadway and Old Broadway (a State highway), totaling well in excess of 1,500 feet.

 

4.            Finding

 

 As noted, several of the proposed special use permit standards for the CCRC use would be the same as or more restrictive than existing zoning requirements for other special uses in R-20 and R-10 districts, but building height and density would both be significantly greater than that which is currently permitted.  As such, some of these proposed provisions are contrary to the Community Vision goal of “maintain[ing] our existing character as a village community” by limiting the size of physical structures.  This is, moreover, exacerbated by the fact that the existing building height already exceeds what the Zoning Code allows. 

 

B.            Community Character, Open Space and Visual Resources

 

1.            Present Conditions

 

The Andrus Retirement Community has existed on this Site for nearly 50 years and has been an active part of the Hastings-on-Hudson community, with its facilities periodically open to local residents for visits and special events.  The facility has been used by the Village for cultural events and as a voting location.  However, the availability of the Site has apparently been limited in the last few years, as evidenced by the posting of “no trespassing” signs.

 

The Site is surrounded by State highways, and thus is physically separated from the neighboring area.  However, certain areas of the Site, including buildings and parking areas, are visible from various viewpoints and certain roads in the nearby neighborhood and the surrounding Village.  The main building is visible at night from portions of the Village, and lighting in the parking areas, which is unshielded, affects certain neighboring residential areas.  

 

Much of the residential neighborhood surrounding the Andrus Retirement Community was developed after the existing Andrus building was constructed and nearly all of the neighbors purchased their homes with that very prominent building sitting on the highest point of the Site and the staff residence located close to Old Broadway.  Despite this, the Site adds to the perception of open space in the area due to the largely forested nature of substantial portions of the Site, particularly around the perimeter of the property.

 


2.            Proposed Zoning Amendments

 

            Many of the proposed zoning amendments discussed in the preceding section have the possibility to impact, either beneficially or negatively, on perceived community character, open space and visual resources.  The proposed amendments that would have the most beneficial impacts on these criteria include:  (i) equally or more restrictive maximum building coverage requirements of 15%, compared to 15% in R-20 districts and 25% in R-10 districts; and maximum lot coverage of 33%, compared to 40% for other special uses; (ii) a new provision for the banking of parking spaces, to be used and maintained in the interim as landscaped grounds; (iii) a more restrictive 100 foot setback requirement for structures and paved surfaces, based on the conservation overlay zone recommended in Community Vision, as compared to the existing 40 foot setback requirement for most special uses and 75 foot setback requirement for one special use; and (iv) maintenance of existing buffer and screening requirements of Zoning Code Section 295-46.

 

The proposed zoning amendment that would most significantly affect perceived community character, open space and visual resources is that related to building height.  As noted, the proposed amendments would provide for a maximum building height of 65 feet or 5 stories, as compared to the existing maximum of 35 feet and 2-1/2 stories.  Although this is less than the 106-foot and 8 story height of the existing facility (128 feet at water tower), it is a considerable increase over what is permitted under the current zoning, and is significantly higher than any other structure in the surrounding area.

 

In sum, while the proposed zoning amendments might allow the historic use of the Andrus property to respond to the increasing need in the area for senior housing and to evolve and keep up with the changing nature of senior housing, it would also facilitate increased density, building mass and coverage as compared to existing conditions.  The increased proposed development intensity on the Site and its resultant impacts (as discussed in this and other sections of this document) would, in the view of the Trustees, be inconsistent with perceived community character, open space and visual resources.

 

3. Relationship of Proposal to Community Character, Open Space and Visual Resources

 

The Village’s planning documents contain numerous policies relating to the preservation of open space and community character.  For example, Community Vision states that the principal goal for future planning decisions is to:  “Maintain our existing character as a village community” by keeping the size of both physical structures and population growth of a Village scale, and making every effort to continue and enhance the sense of community.  As noted in the previous section, by permitting substantially greater building height and density, the proposed zoning amendments contravene this policy.

 

The following policies relate to the preservation of open space and community character in the Village on the large tracts in the Village:

 

·        “Green areas and open space are extensive and their maintenance is critical to the character of Hastings.  The fact of open space, the appearance of having open space, and the access to open space are important and must be considered in planning, particularly if any of the few remaining undedicated large tracts are developed.”

 

·        “Several of the major land tracts line the major roadways in Hastings.  The open space character of many of those parcels is important to the environmental and aesthetic quality of the village.”

 

·        “New housing on the large tracts will need to be carefully designed to relate to and or connect with existing neighborhoods and to preserve their open space character.”

 

The Applicant has utilized a variety of materials and techniques to depict the visual impact of the proposed development.  These include renderings, a large number of computer simulations of existing and proposed conditions, and a detailed model.  Based on a review of these materials, it is anticipated that the following aspects of the proposed project, consistent with the proposed zoning amendments, would maintain the open space and visual character of the Site and surrounding area:

 

·        the 100-foot setback for proposed buildings;

·        the increased setback for proposed parking areas and access road;

·        the removal of the staff building from within the 100-foot setback zone;

·        the retention of the entire wooded area along New Broadway and at the south end of the property surrounding the main entrance;

·        the retention of the meadow at the north end of the property through a conservation easement;

·        the retention of a substantial number of significant trees throughout the property;

·        the retention of the formal lawn area to the north of the existing building;

·        the provision of an extensive landscaping program throughout the Site, particularly around the perimeter of the Site; and

·        the utilization of attractive architectural forms and materials on the proposed buildings.

 

It is further acknowledged that the height of the existing main building is, and would continue to be, the largest, tallest and most conspicuous building on the Site, and that the proposed buildings would be constructed into the side of the hill in a way that the highest floor in any of the proposed buildings is roughly level with the second floor of the existing main building.

 

The Trustees split evenly as to whether the proposed zoning amendments and the development allowed thereunder are consistent with the Village policy to discourage separate, enclosed residential enclaves. It is acknowledged that the Site is currently surrounded by State highways and is therefore already physically separated from the neighboring area.  Neither zoning nor development can change this existing condition.  The proposed project could make the Site more consistent with this policy, primarily through the provision of a trailway on the property that was laid out in consultation with the Village. However, two of the Trustees opined that the CCRC concept would constitute a type of “use” enclave, and thus be inconsistent with Village planning. 

 

The proposed provision of a trailway specifically addresses Village policy that any new development should accommodate expansion of the existing trailway system.  Further, the Applicant is proposing that certain of the common areas would be available for the use of the community, including the theater space, which could accommodate local theater and musical performance groups and may be used as a polling place.

 

Despite these mitigating factors, as well as other related factors described above (e.g., the proposed building setbacks, and the proposed building and lot coverage restrictions), the proposed height of the buildings has the significant potential of contravening the Village’s goal of keeping the size of physical structures to a Village scale in order to “maintain the Village’s existing character as a village community.”  It is anticipated that the addition of the five proposed buildings, which would range from 50 to 65 feet and would be up to 5 stories in height, in combination with the retention of the existing main building, would create a perceived building mass on the Site (resulting primarily, but not exclusively from the height of the proposed buildings) that would significantly exceed the Village’s scale of development, thus adversely affecting the character of the community.

 

4.            Finding

 

As described above, the proposed zoning amendments, as reflected by the proposed CCRC, incorporate a number of measures that would mitigate potential impacts on community character, open space and visual resources.   Nonetheless, the proposed height of the buildings that would be allowable under the proposed zoning amendments would contravene Hastings’ policy of keeping the size of physical structures to a Village scale in order to “maintain the existing character as a village community.”

 

Accordingly, the Trustees find that the proposed zoning amendments, particularly with respect to permissible building height and density, would allow a bulk and intensity of development that would have significant unmitigated adverse impacts on community character and visual resources.

 

 

            C.            Diversity of Population and Increased Housing for the Elderly

 

                        1.            Applicable Village Policies

 

            Each of the Village’s principal planning documents identifies maintaining or enhancing the diversity of the Village’s population, commensurate with the capacity of the community infrastructure, as a goal.  Each of these documents also recognizes the related goal of providing increased housing for the elderly.

 

2.            Existing Population at the Andrus Facility

 

            As discussed in Section II, the Andrus facility has since the 1950s provided housing for an elderly population.  As also noted, although the existing retirement home is licensed as a 247-bed facility, in anticipation of the creation of the CCRC, the population of the Andrus Retirement Home has been reduced through a combination of attrition and a moratorium on new applications to approximately 79 residents.  Of these, the majority live independently in small suites consisting of a private bath and bedroom and take all meals in a central dining room; another large group live in individual suites but receive assisted living services, including meals, nursing supervision, and assistance with activities of daily life; the remaining residents live on the skilled nursing floor.  All of the existing residents would be eligible to be residents of the CCRC on a “scholarship” basis.

 

                        3.            Proposed Zoning Amendments

 

            The proposed zoning amendments would specifically allow for the development of housing restricted to senior citizens over 62 years of age, as permitted by the federal Fair Housing Act.  Both New York State and federal law prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, unless the project falls within certain exemptions.  The New York State Human Rights Law permits the provision of housing “exclusively to persons 55 years of age or older and the spouse of any such person.”  The federal Fair Housing Act allows “housing for older persons,” which is defined as housing “intended for, and solely occupied by, persons 62 years of age or older” or “intended and operated for occupancy by persons 55 years of age or older” where “at least 80 percent of the occupied units are occupied by at least one person who is 55 years of age or older.”

 

4. Relationship of Proposal to Diversity of Population and Increased Housing for the Elderly

 

            The proposed project would house an estimated 315 residents, an increase of approximately 65 persons above full occupancy of the current facility.  New residents of the Andrus facility would be required to be at least 62 years of age.  The Applicant would further require that new residents must be capable of independent living (as verified by the facility’s Medical Director) at the time they sign their residency contracts, and must demonstrate that they possess the financial means to pay the entrance and monthly service fees required in the residency contract.

 

            The Applicant believes that these requirements will result in a change in the character of the population of the CCRC as compared to that currently residing in the retirement home.  Specifically, the Applicant states that the focus of the facility will change from a medical-institutional model of care to an environment that emphasizes meeting the recreational, social and hospitality/customer service demands of its senior population.  To this end, 170 of the proposed 243 units are to be marketed for sale to seniors able to live independently and without assistance.

 

            With respect to the Village as a whole, the proposed zoning amendments, as reflected by the development proposal, would increase to some extent the availability of housing for the elderly.  Similarly, by increasing the maximum population of the facility by approximately 65 individuals, the diversity of the general population might be increased to some extent, as some of the units might be available to seniors who cannot presently locate housing in the Village.  Finally, because, as discussed in Section IV.D. (“Affordable Housing”), below, some residents would be able to afford the entrance fees for alcove and one-bedroom units, the diversity of the Village’s population in terms of income level might also be enhanced.

 

                       

5.            Finding       

 

            The majority of the Trustees believes that the proposed amendments would contribute, in some fashion, to the Village planning goals of maintaining and enhancing Hastings’ diversity of population.

 

D.            Affordable Housing

 

1.            Applicable Village and County Policies

 

            As addressed in Section III, above, the Village planning documents all express a need for the development of affordable housing.  The Village’s Affordable Housing Policy adopts the same definition of affordable housing as that utilized by Westchester County:  the ability of households earning up to 80% of Westchester County’s median income to afford to purchase or rent a unit where the annual rental or costs of ownership do not exceed 33% of an eligible household’s income.  Westchester County established a goal of 30 new affordable housing units for Hastings by the year 2000, which goal is restated in Community Vision.

 

            As also noted, the Affordable Housing Policy provides that where rezoning of property to a higher density is sought, the Board of Trustees, in considering the rezoning request, may require that at least 10% of the units to be constructed be dedicated to affordable housing.[12] 

 

There are, however, several important considerations in determining the extent to which this Policy should apply to a CCRC that would be allowed under the proposed zoning amendments.  The initial issue is whether the Policy should apply to a health-related facility, which is not the equivalent of the type of traditional private residential units generally contemplated by the Policy.  In its Recommendation, the Planning Board expressed the view that the Policy should in general apply to CCRCs, but only to ILUs (which are roughly comparable to typical private residential units), and with special consideration given to their unique function.  Thus, the Planning Board believed that a contribution to the Village in furtherance of its affordable housing goals would be appropriate, but that such contribution need not be based on the application of a strict mathematical formula to the number of proposed ILUs.  The Trustees concur with this view.

 

2.            Relationship of Proposal to Affordable Housing Policies

 

The Applicant believes that the proposed CCRC would help to meet the objectives of the Village and County Affordable Housing Policies because it would create housing opportunities meeting the needs of elderly Village residents that do not now exist. Senior citizens have housing and medical requirements that are independent of their economic status, which requirements are not now met by existing housing in the Village.  The Andrus Retirement Community, in the opinion of the Applicant, would meet such needs, primarily through the provision of a range of housing and accessory services.

 

According to Andrus, many of the units could be considered to be affordable housing under the Village and County policies.  The entry fees for many of the smaller units would be affordable through the sale of homes, which is the typical means by which seniors pay CCRC entry fees.  Recent data indicates that the median home value in Westchester is approximately $400,000.  Thus, some residents should be able to afford the entrance fees for the alcove or smaller one-bedroom units.[13]

 

In addition, the entrance fees for the smaller units at the proposed CCRC would be available to residents with an annual income of approximately $41,600 (80% of the median County income).  According to the DEIS, residents of CCRCs are typically able to afford to pay approximately 2/3 of their income for monthly fees, as these fees subsume not only rent but most other basic costs of living, such as food, maintenance, utilities and some recreational and social activities.  Consequently, persons with an annual income of $41,000 could afford to pay roughly $2,300 per month as fees.  As the monthly fees for the alcove units are estimated by Andrus to be $1,995, they would be affordable to lower income seniors.[14]

 

As noted earlier, Andrus would continue the support of “scholarship” residents, who could not otherwise afford to live in the CCRC, by contributing the difference between the Medicaid payments that most if not all of these residents would receive and the actual costs.  This support would continue until about thirteen years after the CCRC commences operation.  The Applicant believes that the provision of CCRC units to these residents constitutes the provision of affordable housing for Village residents.

 

Andrus has not proposed to include affordable housing units in the planned development that would be authorized by the proposed zoning amendments because, among other reasons, the provision of such units is not consistent with the provisions of Article 46 of the Public Health Law.   That Article requires that all residents in a CCRC receiving IDA financial assistance receive the same level of services.  The fees paid by residents are not segregated into housing, medical or other categories and residents cannot be surcharged to support services for others, such as affordable housing.  Such cross-subsidies would be required to allow residents seeking affordable housing to qualify for the minimum monthly fees established by the Life Care Community Council.  To avoid such cross-subsidies, it would be necessary to provide other sources of funding, which would typically be from various programs available in Westchester County.  To qualify for such programs, however, Andrus would have to place restrictions on residents’ income that, in turn, would preclude their ability to pay the monthly fees required by Article 46.

 

In lieu of providing direct affordable housing in the CCRC, Andrus has offered the following:  (a) make a one-time payment to the Village of $350,000 for a fund to be established for purpose of studying, leasing, maintaining, furnishing, and/or rehabilitating affordable housing; (b) provide up to 50 hours of technical assistance by Beth Abraham staff with expertise in the development of affordable housing; and (c) make available to the Village approximately 1/3 of an acre at the northern end of the Site for the development of affordable housing.  (A preliminary assessment by FPCA indicates that this area is not required to satisfy the density requirements of the proposed zoning amendments.)

 

                        3.            Finding

 

Andrus’ continuation in the proposed CCRC of the “scholarship” residents is laudatory, as it avoids the need for these elderly residents to be moved to a new facility -- an obviously discomfiting move for elderly persons.  Although the provision of scholarships does constitute a type of affordable housing by allowing senior residents of the existing facility to remain in the Village, it does not constitute the type of affordable housing contemplated by the Village Policy.  Thus, the Trustees (like the Planning Board) believe that some credit for the continuation of the “scholarship” units was warranted; however, such a credit  is insufficient to satisfy the Policy.[15]

 

As noted by the Planning Board, the principal purpose of the Village and County policies is to include affordable housing in a new development.  However, the Village Policy does provide for other mechanisms to provide affordable housing, including the conveyance of land for such housing and the sale of Village land to raise money for an Affordable Housing Fund.

 

Initially, the Applicant’s conditional offer to donate a third of an acre at the northern end of the Site for affordable housing is unacceptable.  The retention of this end of the Site as open space would be critical to efforts to mitigate the impacts of the proposed zoning amendments and consequential allowable development on visual quality and community character.  Placing affordable (or any other) housing at this location, even with appropriate landscaping, would have significant adverse impacts on these values.[16] 

 

Further, the offer to make the one-time payment of $350,000 is a good start but, on balance, is insufficient to meet the Village and County Affordable Housing policies.  A strict application of the 10% goal contained in the Village Policy to the 170 proposed ILUs would amount to the provision of 17 units of affordable housing.  Although the Trustees agree with the Planning Board that a strict application of the Policy is not necessarily appropriate in the context of a CCRC, given the 10% goal, it is not realistic to assume that the $350,000 payment or in-kind contribution, without more, is sufficient to meet Village (or County) objectives.  We believe a much more substantial payment would be necessary for the Applicant’s proposal to be consistent with the Village and County Affordable Housing policies.

 

           


E.            Fiscal Resources and Community Infrastructure

 

                        1.            Applicable Village Policies

 

            The Village’s planning documents all emphasize that maintaining the Village’s strong financial base, and increasing tax revenues to maintain a high level of community services, are important planning principles.  In addition, Planning Review specifically recommends the use of PILOT agreements for new tax-exempt developments.  Similarly, the documents state that any new development or increase in population should be commensurate with the available Village infrastructure and facilities.

 

2.            Existing Conditions

 

a. Fiscal Resources

 

            Because the Applicant is a not-for-profit corporation providing a nursing facility and other services to an elderly and infirm population, the existing facility is exempt from real property taxes under New York State law.

 

b. Community Infrastructure

 

            The Hastings-on-Hudson Police Department estimates that it presently responds to 30 to 40 calls per year from the Andrus Retirement Home.  These calls include ambulance needs and other medical emergencies, as well as fire drills and fire testing, trespassers and other general services.    The estimated Fire Department response time to the Site is approximately 3 to 4 minutes.  In the past several years, the Fire Department has responded to about 10 alarms per year at the existing facility.    The estimated response time of the Ambulance Corps to the Site is approximately 3 to 4 minutes.  The Corps estimates that it has responded to about 20 to 25 calls for service per year at the existing facility.

 

            Solid waste generated at the facility is currently picked up by a private carter.  The Site lies within the service area of the Yonkers Wastewater Treatment Facility, which is owned by Westchester County and operated by the Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities.  Existing average daily sanitary sewer flows from the Site are estimated to be 41,000 gallons per day.     Water is provided to the facility by United Water New Rochelle.  The existing average daily water usage at the facility is approximately 44,400 gallons per day.

 

                        3.            Proposed Zoning Amendments

 

            The proposed zoning amendments would not have any effect on the tax-exempt status of the facility.  The proposed amendments would permit the expansion of the facility, which could impact on the demand for public services and infrastructure.

 

4. Relationship of the Proposal to Fiscal Resources and Community Infrastructure

 

                                    a.            Fiscal Resources

 

            The proposed CCRC would continue to be exempt from real property taxes under New York State law.  To mitigate this condition, the Applicant has proposed a PILOT agreement that would, in its view, constitute a “fair share” of any fiscal responsibilities to the Village, and would compensate the taxing authorities for the costs associated with any increased demand on public services and infrastructure.

 

            As set forth in Section II, above, the principal elements of the 99-year PILOT agreement are as follows:

 

            The Village would receive:

 

·        a one-time development fee of approximately $605,000;

·        an annual payment in lieu of taxes and administrative fees of $179,000, to increase by $30,000 per year once “scholarship” units are no longer occupied, or starting in year 12 of the project, whichever is earlier;

·        annual payment to increase by 2% per year, compounded annually.

 

The Hastings-on Hudson Union Free School District would receive:

 

·        an annual payment in lieu of taxes of $125,000;

·        annual payment to increase by 2% per year, compounded annually.

 

                                    b.            Community Infrastructure

 

            The development is anticipated to house an estimated 315 residents, which represents an increase of about 65 individuals over the full capacity of the existing facility.  There was concern expressed that a large influx of population would put a strain on community infrastructure.  Because of the relatively modest increase in population and the range of services that the proposed zoning amendments would allow to be developed, as reflected by the proposed Andrus CCRC (including medical services and recreational facilities), it is not anticipated that the proposed facility would significantly increase demands on public services and infrastructure.  This is reflected in Section III.E.4.b. of the Planning Board Recommendation (see Exhibit “B” hereto).  The Village Police and Fire Departments and Ambulance Corps all indicated that the have sufficient resources to service the proposed development, and there is sufficient sewerage capacity and potable water supplies.

 

 

 

                        5.            Finding

 

                                    a.            Fiscal Resources

 

            The Planning Board found that a PILOT agreement is consistent with the Village’s comprehensive plan, and agreed with the Applicant that such an agreement is necessary to compensate the relevant taxing authorities.  The Trustees agree with this general finding.

 

Like the Planning Board, however, we do not believe the proposed PILOT is sufficient to satisfy the Village’s planning policies.  Accordingly, we agree with the Planning Board’s recommendation that the amount by which the annual payment to the Village is to increase once the “scholarship” units are no longer occupied, or beginning in year 12, whichever is sooner, would have to be significantly greater than $30,000.  We agree that the absence of scholarship units, coupled with the increased financial stabilization that is anticipated by this date, would result in the Applicant being able to afford larger PILOT payments.

 

We also agree with the Planning Board’s finding that a 2% compounded annual increase in the annual payments to the Village and the School District is inadequate to account for inflation or for the future costs to the Village of providing community services and facilities.   The annual percentage increase in a PILOT should be tied either to the Consumer Price Index or to annual increases in real property tax rates.

 

                                    b.            Community Infrastructure

 

            The Trustees find that the proposed changes in the population and physical characteristics of the facility that would be allowed by the proposed zoning amendments would not result in any significant increase in the demands for community facilities or services.  Accordingly, the existing community infrastructure would be adequate to support the CCRC authorized by the proposed zoning amendments.

 

F.     Traffic, Pedestrian Circulation and Parking

 

Sections III.F.1., 2. and 3. of the Planning Board Recommendation contains a detailed description of existing traffic, pedestrian and parking conditions, together with the impacts of the proposed amendments and development.  That discussion is incorporated herein, with the caveats noted below.[17]

 

Although the Planning Board found that traffic impacts would not be significant, at least one Trustee expressed concern that the impacts on the neighborhood and the Village at large would be greater than set forth in the FEIS (the basis for the Planning Board’s finding).  In particular, that Trustee was concerned that more residents would drive than was expressed in the FEIS and that the van service that would be provided would not be as successful as described in the impact statement.  Two Trustees also expressed their belief that there would be impacts on parking at the train station because a number of residents of the CCRC would commute and would not use the shuttle bus provided by the facility.  The majority of the Trustees find that the record developed before the Planning Board and the Trustees, however, does not provide a factual predicate to support a conclusion that traffic impacts would be significant.

 

Accordingly, while the above-noted concerns remain, the majority of the Trustees find, on the basis of the record, that the zoning amendments would not be expected to result in significant adverse impacts to traffic, and thus would be generally consistent with the Village’s land use policies involving traffic flow.

 

            G.            Site Disturbance and Other Environmental Impacts

 

            Implicit in each of the Village planning documents’ emphasis on the preservation of green areas and open space and the creation of greenspace overlay zones is a concern with the protection of the environment.  In addition, both Community Vision and Planning Principles state that “the impact on…soil conditions and air quality must be considered in any future development.”

 

Because the amendments would allow for an expansion of the facility, they have the potential for introducing impacts on environmental resources.  Accordingly, the Planning Board Recommendation considered the impacts of the site disturbance associated with the proposed CCRC that would be allowable under the proposed zoning amendments on six categories of environmental resources -- (i) surface water resources; (ii) soils, geology, topography and slopes, (iii) vegetation and wildlife, (iv) cultural and archaeological resources, (v) air quality, and (vi) noise.

 

The Trustees adopt the Recommendation with respect to these areas.  (Section III.G.1.-7. of the Recommendation.)

 

            H.            Alternatives

 

            A number of alternatives were considered in the DEIS and in the FEIS, in response to comments on the DEIS received from the public and the Planning Board.  These alternatives, and their consistency with the Village’s comprehensive plan, are considered in detail in the Planning Board Recommendation (Section III.H.1.-4.), and, except as noted, are incorporated by reference herein.

 

            Information obtained during the SEQRA process indicates that a number of other existing and proposed CCRCs in the Westchester area are smaller in magnitude than that proposed by the Applicant.  During the proceedings before the Planning Board, and until October 2001, however, Andrus stated that it could not reduce the number of ILUs, and thus the size of the proposed project, because of the need to generate revenues sufficient to support the “scholarship” residents.  The Planning Board found based principally upon an evaluation by PWC of Andrus’ financial submission to the State and related documents, that a 25% reduction in the number of ILUs in the CCRC was not financially feasible.  In October, however, when it presented its reduced project, Andrus explained that a proposed one-time contribution by the Helen Benedict Foundation had enabled it to eliminate Building E and thus reduce by 31 the number of ILUs.  This reduction is roughly half the 25% reduction analyzed by PWC.

 

            Of the assessed alternatives, only the modified development presented in October 2001 would achieve the fundamental objectives of the Applicant.  In light of the significant adverse impacts discussed above, however, particularly those due to increased bulk and density, the Trustees find that the reduced project remains unacceptable in the area of height and density, although the modified development is a step in the right direction..

 

V.            Summary of Findings

 

            The Trustees find that, particularly with respect to density and building height, fiscal resources and affordable housing, the proposed zoning amendments to permit the development of a CCRC in an R-20 district are not generally consistent with the Village comprehensive plan.  These inconsistencies with the Village’s comprehensive plan outweigh the contributions to the Village’s open space and greenspace planning goals that would be achieved by certain elements of the proposed zoning amendments and the development, such as the increased setback, conservation easement on the meadow in the northern portion of the Site, removal of an existing building from within the 100-foot buffer zone, and the addition to the trailway system.

 

Although a CCRC could contribute to the diversity of the Hastings population and increase the stock of housing for the elderly, without having any significant adverse impacts on community infrastructure or the environment, the Trustees are divided as to the appropriateness of a CCRC use in the Village.

 

Overall, therefore, the Trustees find that the proposed building height and density provisions in the proposed zoning amendments could result in development of a size and intensity that exceeds what is appropriate in light of the Village comprehensive plan.  The Trustees thus find that the proposed zoning amendments would be likely to result in adverse impacts to community character and visual resources that, as demonstrated by the Andrus proposal, would not be adequately mitigated. 

 

Further, the Trustees find that neither the proposed PILOT nor the proposed contributions to the development of affordable housing appears sufficient at this point to be consistent with the comprehensive plan or meet the needs of the Village.  While it might be possible to negotiate a suitable PILOT and affordable housing agreement with the Applicant, given the even split in the Board of Trustees as to whether the proposed zoning amendment allowing for a CCRC is an appropriate use of the site,[18] and the significant unmitigated adverse impacts associated with the bulk and density of the development permissible under the proposed zoning amendments, the Trustees do not believe it is necessary to address what such suitable amounts might be.

 

VI.            Conclusion

 

            Having considered the DEIS and the FEIS, including the comments on the DEIS and the responses thereto, and the relevant planning principles and environmental impacts, facts and conclusions disclosed in the FEIS (including the preceding written facts and conclusions), the comments of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Recommendation and Findings of the Planning Board, the Village Board of Trustees certifies  that:

 

·        The requirements of SEQRA, including 6 NYCRR § 617.9, have been met and fully satisfied;

 

·        Consistent with the social, economic and other essential considerations, to the maximum extent practicable, adverse environmental effects of the proposed amendments to the Hastings Zoning Code revealed in the EIS process (and set forth in Section IV of this Findings Statement) have not been minimized or avoided to the maximum extent practicable; and

 

·        Consistent with the social, economic and other essential considerations, from among the reasonable alternatives hereto, the proposed zoning amendments do not constitute the alternative which minimizes or avoids adverse impacts to the maximum extent practicable, including the effects disclosed in the EIS and set forth in Section IV of this Findings Statement.

 

Board of Trustees of the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

 

 

 

            /s/                                                                                                                   

Signature of Responsible Officer                                               Name of Responsible Officer

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                               

Title of Responsible Officer                                               Date

 

 

Address of Agency:                      Hastings-on-Hudson Municipal Building

                                                Seven Maple Avenue

                                                Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

 

 

Adopted by a motion made by:      

 

Seconded by:            

 

Approved by:              ROLL CALL VOTE

 

ROLL CALL VOTE                                                  AYE                NAY

 

                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

p:\2006\trustee findings.1b



[1] One of the five Village Trustees recused himself from participating in the application, leaving only four participating, and voting, Trustees.

[2]   Most of the Site is zoned R-20.  The remainder is zoned R-10 One-Family Residence.  As addressed below, special uses permitted in R-20 districts are generally also allowed by special use permit in R-10 districts.

[3] The Zoning Board of Appeals had previously issued a recommendation on the proposal following the preparation of the DEIS, but prior to the completion of the FEIS.

 

[4] FAR is defined in Section 295-5 of the Zoning Code as “[t]he gross floor area of all buildings on a lot divided by the area of such lot….”  “Gross floor area” is defined as “[t]he total horizontal area of all stories of a building or buildings measured from the exterior faces of exterior walls…and including any basement used for the principal use…, but excluding porches, terraces and balconies.”

 

[5] In addition, Section 295-68(B) of the Zoning Code provides that, in general, uses allowable by special use permit in R-20 districts may also be allowed by special use permit in R-10 districts.

 

[6] The term “height” is used in these Findings consistent with Section 295-21(A)(4) of the Zoning Code, which essentially measures height from the lowest to the highest elevation of a building (as opposed, for example, to the number of feet above grade).

[7] This provision would govern applications for special use permits for Continuing Senior Care Facilities in both R-20 and R-10 districts because, as noted above, with the exception of certain enumerated uses not relevant to this proposal, the same uses that are allowable by special use permit in R-20 districts are allowable in R-10 districts.

[8] The Applicant did not analyze whether there would be a reduction in the number of proposed surface parking spaces to correspond with its proposed elimination of the 31 ILUs in Building E.  Because the proposed zoning amendments would require one space per ILU, however, it is estimated that the increase in surface spaces would be 31 less than the 160 proposed in the FEIS, or 129 spaces.

[9] The Applicant did not analyze whether the number of staff members would be reduced as a result of its proposal to eliminate the 31 ILUs in Building E.  Therefore, the numbers of staff cited in the FEIS are used here.

[10] Indeed, the federal law requires that “housing for older persons” be either housing “intended for, and solely occupied by, persons 62 years of age or older” or “intended for and operated for occupancy by persons 55 years or age or older” where “at least 80% of the occupied units are occupied by at least one person who is 55 years of age or older.”  45 U.S.C. § 3607(b)(2).

[11] As noted, the Applicant did not analyze whether there would be any reduction in surface parking spaces to correspond with its proposed elimination of the 31 ILUs in Building E; however, it is possible that such a reduction would decrease somewhat the amount of development within the 100-foot buffer.

[12] Although the Site is not being rezoned, the proposed amendments would allow an increase in residential density of the Site.  Thus, the Trustees believe the Policy is applicable to the proposed zoning amendments.

 

[13] Andrus estimates that the cost of the alcove units will range from $236,500 to $254,000, which falls below the median home value of $400,000.  The cost of the smaller one bedrooms is estimated to range from $291,500 to $467,500.  Accordingly, a number of these units might also be affordable through the sale of homes.

 

[14] The monthly fees for small one bedrooms are estimated to range from $2,475 to $2,750, and thus some of these units might also be affordable to lower income seniors.

[15] It should be noted that Andrus’ assumption of the financial burden associated with such residents, as is reflected by the PWC report, does affect the economic viability of the proposed CCRC.

 

[16] Moreover, the Applicant has not conducted any study regarding the feasibility of this location, including such factors as access.

 

[17] We note, however, that due to the reduction in the size of the project, the traffic impacts discussed in the Recommendation are likely slightly overstated. 

 

[18] The two Trustees who voted that a CCRC is an appropriate use in the Village are Mayor Kinnally and Trustee Walrath.  The two Trustees who voted that a CCRC is not an appropriate use in the Village are Trustees Apel and Holdstein.