The Sidewalks of White Plains

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Sidewalks of White Plains:

Salley: County plans 24 affordable co-op townhouses on 2 acres of Pettinichi property in Woodcrest Heights off Lake Street.

Bond issue for $1MM to buy the Pettinichi 10 acres comes before County Board of Legislators this month.

Additional $1MM expected to be bonded to build "infrastructure."

Maximum income eligible: $66,000 for family of four

By John F. Bailey - Interview with Lawrence Salley of County Planning Board


CityLine: March 14, 2001, WPCNR NewsLine

Westchester County is planning to build "affordable" cooperative housing on Lake Street below the Woodcrest Heights neighborhood.

Larry Salley, Deputy Commissioner of the Westchester County Planning Department, told WPCNR today in a telephone interview that the plan is County Executive Andrew Spano's latest effort to provide affordable housing for persons earning 80% of the county's mean income: "As the County Executive stated when he met with the residents last spring, when his plan to build 71 units of senior housing was not acceptable because of its height, he was going to develop the (Pettinichi) site for affordable housing."

The Deputy Commissioner reported he (Salley) had met with residents of the Woodcrest Heights Association two weeks ago to present a townhouse plan that would develop the Pettinichi site "as of right."

Salley said the plan is for the county to purchase the 10-acre Pettinichi property from the owner, and build 24 townhouse units on 2 acres of the property to the East of the Old Mill House which is a designated historical site, and would be preserved.

"A total of 8 two-story buildings would house the 24 units of 2 and 3-bedroom apartments. They are planned to be sold as co-ops in the range of $140,000 to $160,000," Salley reported. He defined eligible buyers as having to be "within the income limits," less than $66,000 a year, or 80% of the County median income. Salley added that downpayments as little as 3% and 5% were currently available through banks and certain government agencies.

The remaining 8 acres of the planned county financed purchase would be left "undeveloped," Salley said, and deed restrictions would be written specifying that the developer could not develop the unused eight.

The bonding authorizing approximately $2 million for purchase and construction of infrastructure on the two acres planned for development, Salley said would be presented to the County Legislature in March, but he did not have a date.

The County plans to pay the owners, the Pettinichi family, about $950,000 for the 10 acres. Salley said a developer for the townhouses had not been chosen yet.

Woodcrest Heights Association CO-Presidents, John Migliacchio and Milton Ellenbogen told WPCNR that when they were presented with this plan, they were advised that the county would turn over the property to the developer for a token sum ($1) in return for the construction.

Mr. Salley explained the $1 figure this way:

"In order to provide affordable housing, you have to underwrite the cost. Comparable 2-and 3-bedroom units like this if available on the open market would sell for upwards of $300,000. You have to bring down the cost by subsidizing the developer. We will most likely sell the land to the developer for $1, as well as pay for the infrastructure, such as sewer lines, roads, utilities."

At last evening's meeting of the Council of Neighborhood Associations, Mayor Joseph Delfino and his Executive Officer, George Gretsas, were advised of this county initative and said they had not been advised of the county plan.

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