Town ignores its own laws and allows assisted living in any residential neighborhood anywhere unincorporated Greenburgh.
In unincorporated Greenburgh, following the law is optional for the Town.
Last night, the Greenburgh Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted 4-3 in favor of granting variances for the Shelbourne assisted living facility. The project would be located more than a mile from where the law permits, thereby setting a precedent that these facilities can now be located in any residential section of unincorporated Greenburgh. (Note: incorporated villages have their own ZBAs so this decision is inapplicable to them.)
The Town has touted the project as being tax favorable for Edgemont. But the Town failed to undertake any analysis of the expenditure burden it would place on the Greenville Fire District, which could easily outweigh any revenues to the Edgemont School District. We note that the Town, and only the Town, would benefit from the upfront building fees that would be paid by the developer. And we further note that the Town has been increasingly aggressive and optimistic in its use of building fees to balance the budget and stay under the tax cap.
In the hearings, which have lasted for years, residents have raised serious concerns about precedent, safety, emergency vehicle noise, the unknown cost implications to the Greenville Fire District. Both the Town Board and the ZBA have ignored repeated requests by the public and the Greenville Fire District for a professional, independent, comprehensive study of the project’s potential impacts to safety and services.
The public and dissenters on the ZBA have pointed out that this “variance” is so significant that it may actually constitute a change in legislation, which is obviously an inappropriate action of an administrative body such as the ZBA. Click here for a clear and concise explanation of this problem.
Nonetheless, the ZBA ruled and will formally vote on the written decision in the next 30 days. The issue will then move back to Paul Feiner and the Town Board for final approval of the special permit (as recommended by the Planning Board).
Paul Feiner may attempt to pander to Edgemont and voice objections when it is back in front of his Town Board. Click here to listen to Paul Feiner's position on Shelbourne. Paul Feiner had pointed to a 48-signature petition in support of the project (several of those signers have since moved away) while simultaneously ignoring another petition with 230 signatures in opposition (gathered in a week).
Assisted living facility projects are important and deserve due consideration by towns, villages, or any level of government with zoning and planning responsibilities. But laws and data are also important. Unfortunately, in unincorporated Greenburgh—where there is no accountability (Paul Feiner is running unopposed this November)—laws and data are mere inconveniences.
For more detail, click here for the Edgemont Community Council’s write-up and review the website dedicated to the matter.