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

 

I.          INTRODUCTION

 

This document constitutes the recommendation of the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson (“Village”) Planning Board (“Planning Board”) to the Village Board of Trustees, pursuant to Section 295-157 of the Village Zoning Code (“Zoning Code”) 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”).  This document, though a recommendation, also sets forth the Planning Board’s Findings, as Lead Agency, 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), in connection with the proposed zoning amendments.  (The document is referred to hereinafter as the “Recommendation”.)

 

Andrus has also applied to the Planning Board for subsequent approvals pertaining to its proposed expansion and conversion of its existing nursing home facility to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (“CCRC”) to be known as the Andrus Retirement Community.  Planning Board review of these applications is dependent upon the determination of the Board of Trustees with respect to the proposed zoning amendments.  Accordingly, these Findings only address the proposed zoning amendments, and do not constitute the Planning Board’s SEQRA Findings Statement with respect to such applications.  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 24-acre property in the southern part of the Village (the “Site”) to the Andrus Retirement Community. The initial proposed amendments were modified during the SEQRA process, resulting in the zoning amendments that are the subject of this Recommendation.

 

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 key issues before the Planning Board in reviewing the proposed zoning amendments are:  (1) 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; (2) consistency with the Village and County Affordable Housing policies; and (3) 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 Planning Board in connection with the proposed zoning amendments, is analyzed in detail in Section IV, below.

 

            In brief, the Planning Board finds that the development of a CCRC on the Site is an appropriate goal that would serve an important purpose in the Hastings community.  A CCRC would provide secure, comfortable and convenient living accommodations for seniors within the Village, and would likely add variety and vitality to the Village’s population.  In addition, as exemplified by the Andrus proposal, such a development could contribute to the Village’s related goals of enhancing open space, providing greenspace overlays, and adding to the trailway system.  Moreover, with the provision of suitable PILOTs and affordable housing measures, it would do so at a net benefit to the Village’s fiscal resources and affordable housing goals.  As such, it would meet a number of the Village’s key planning criteria.

 

Nonetheless, the Planning Board believes that the proposed zoning amendments, and the size of a development they would permit, are inconsistent with other of the Village’s planning principles.  Most significantly, these members find that 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 recommends 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 has recommended specific additional restrictions that should, in its view, be included in the proposed zoning amendments.

 

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 CCRC concept -- which incorporates a range of living arrangements with a wide variety of medical, recreational, and other services and amenities -- provides 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, as a majority of the Site is zoned R-20.[1]

 

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 now proposed, and as evaluated in the Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) prepared pursuant to SEQRA, the Andrus Retirement Community would comprise 273 units.  There would be 201 independent living units (“ILUs”) and 72 skilled nursing beds (it is anticipated that 19 of those beds would eventually be converted to assisted living units).  The ILUs could accommodate single persons or couples, and would vary 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 this increase in size from 247 nursing units to 273 mixed units, Andrus has 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.

 


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 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 amendments to the Zoning Code, Andrus proposed to expand its existing nursing home to 297 units.  In September 1998, the Planning Board proposed that it be designated as the Lead Agency for the SEQRA process, and that designation became effective the following month.  A draft Scope of the Draft EIS (“DEIS”) was submitted by Andrus in October 1998, and public meetings with respect to the proposed Scope were held in November 1998.  The Planning Board adopted a final Scope 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.  The DEIS indicated, with respect to the proposed floating zone for CCRCs, that this district could be applied, in addition to the Andrus Site, to three additional properties (the 28.6-acre Andrus School property, the 38.7-acre Graham-Windam School property, and the 21.4-acre Burke estate).  The DEIS assessed the consistency of the proposed floating zone for CCRCs with the Village comprehensive plan.  It also 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, given the potential for four large properties to be subject to such rezoning, and asserted that such a floating zone was not consistent with the Village comprehensive plan.  There were also extensive comments on various impacts of allowing amendments to the Zoning Code that would allow 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.  This variation of one alternative evaluated in the DEIS would, at present, limit the potential impacts of the zoning amendments to the Site, and avoid the implications and impacts associated with the prior floating zone proposal.  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 submissions showing that it is 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 was filed with the Planning Board on March 23, 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 has 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 the following:  (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.

 

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 of five parcels, four constituting a 23.39acre parcel associated with the existing Andrus Retirement Home, and a 1.05acre 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 1860’s, 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.[2]   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),[3] 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 houses 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 in the FEIS are set forth below.  As discussed in Section IV, below, the Planning Board is recommending certain changes to the proposed amendments.  A complete set of the amendments is annexed hereto as Exhibit “A”, with the recommended changes from the proposal highlighted.

 

            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 1½ 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.

 

            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.[4]

 

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.  It would contain 201 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 353, based on 1.4 persons per ILU and one person per skilled nursing (or assisted living) unit.  As the existing facility has a capacity of 247 residents, the proposal would increase population density by approximately 106 persons or about 43 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.

 

Five new structures would be built to accommodate the remaining 109 ILUs.  A sixth 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 460,645, an increase of approximately 240,000 square feet.  The density would increase from the current 10.6 units per acre to 12 units per acre.  Surface parking spaces would increase from 123 to up to 160.  Total impervious surface areas would increase from 4.17 acres to 7.09 acres.  Building and lot coverages would increase from approximately 4.7% and 17.9% to 11.8% and 30.4%, 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 (a total of 240 are proposed) 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 has 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 when the CCRC begins operations.  These existing residents of the nursing home would be transitioned into the CCRC as “scholarship” residents when it becomes 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.  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 be 139.  Employees are expected to travel to and from work both by public transportation and private vehicles.

 

                        6.         Anticipated Costs

 

The Applicant anticipates that the cost of this project will 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, $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.

 

III.       Village Land Use and Planning Documents

           

This Section describes the key documents (other than the Zoning Code) that constitute the Village’s comprehensive plan, and the planning criteria identified in each that are most pertinent to the Proposed Action.  Section IV then sets forth the Planning Board’s findings and recommendations with respect to the likely impacts of both the proposed zoning amendments and the proposed project, to the extent it would be permitted by the zoning amendments, on each of the Village’s principal planning criteria.

 

A.        Village Planning Documents

 

1.         A Community Vision for Comprehensive Planning & Strategic Action Plan

 

            The most recent planning document prepared by the Village is entitled “A Community Vision for Comprehensive Planning & Strategic Action” (“Community Vision”), and was issued in August 1999.  This document was the latest produced in response to a 1996 mandate from the Village Board of Trustees that the Planning Board initiate a comprehensive planning process for the Village.

 

             Earlier as part of this process, in October 1997, the Planning Board issued a document entitled “A Community Vision for Hastings Future -- A Compendium of Committee Reports.”  This document contained the summaries and findings of the following committees, appointed by the Chair of the Planning Board, and chaired by members of the Planning Board:

 

·        Housing and Population

·        The World Around Us

·        Economic Development

·        Community Amenities

·        Visual Images of the Village Core

 

            Community Vision both incorporates and expands on the criteria set forth in the earlier document.  It establishes two critical planning goals:  (1) maintaining Hastings’ existing character as a village community; and (2) reestablishing the Village’s connection to the Hudson River.  A number of both general and specific criteria for achieving these primary goals in each of five Village areas -- (i) Waterfront, (ii) Village Core, (iii) Residential Areas, (iv) Parks, Trailways, and (v) Other Public Spaces and Large Land Tracts -- are enumerated.  Those criteria that are of the greatest relevance to the Proposed Action are set forth below.

 

Residential Areas

 

Primary Principle:

 

·        “It is important that Hastings remain a unified community with a diverse population utilizing a central school, library, and recreational facilities.”

 


            Planning Principles:

 

·        “Separate, enclosed residential enclaves should be discouraged.”

 

·        “Future development should provide housing and amenities for people of varying income levels and ages, including housing for the elderly.”

 

·        “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.”

 

·        “Hastings can absorb an increase in population, but such an increase should be limited to the capacity of the community infrastructure.”

 

·        “New residential development should be designed to produce more village and school tax revenues than any additional costs of village and school services attributable to the development.”

 

            Current Goals:

 

·        “Completion of plans and approvals for 30 affordable housing units on sites throughout the Village.”

 

Parks, Trailways, and Other Public Spaces

 

            Primary Principle:

 

·        “Outdoor public spaces, both those conductive to solitude and those for community gatherings, are essential to village life, as are the pedestrian routes needed to access these spaces.”

 

            Planning Principles:

 

·        “Any new development in the Village should accommodate expansion of the existing trailway system.”

 

Large Land Tracts

 

            Primary Principle:

 

·        “The remaining tracts of open private land provide an important environmental asset and play a major role in defining the character of the Village.”

 


            Planning Principles:

 

·        “In light of village topography and the extent of existing development, the impact on traffic, parking, sewage, drainage, solid waste, soil conditions and air quality must be considered in any future development of open land.”

 

·        “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.”

 

            Current Goals:

 

·        “Development of a greenspace overlay plan to be mapped on the larger open tracts located along the major roadways.”

 

·        “Completion of an assessment of potential cluster housing and setback options related to overlay zones.”

 

                        2.         Affordable Housing Policy for the Village of Hastings

 

Hastings’ Affordable Housing Policy, adopted in June 1997, emphasizes a commitment to facilitate the development of affordable housing to accommodate Hastings’ employees and residents who would otherwise not be able, respectively, to afford to live in or remain living in the Village.  Two of the Policy’s principal goals are to increase diversity in the Village and to enhance housing opportunities for the elderly.   The Policy reflects the Village Trustees’ concern about a shrinking pool of volunteers for emergency services (e.g., ambulance) and civil and school activities, a diminishing diversity in the Village, and loss of local continuity if seniors or younger individuals cannot afford to stay or return to Hastings.

 

The Policy defines affordable housing as the ability of households earning up to 80% of Westchester County’s median income to afford to purchase or rent a unit.  Under the Policy, the annual rental or costs of ownership should not exceed 33% of an eligible household’s income.  The 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.  The Policy identifies mechanisms to achieve affordable housing, such as density bonuses and the provision of accessory apartments.

 

                        3.         Planning Review

 

            In May 1996, the Planning Board’s consultants, Ferrandino & Associates, Inc., submitted a report entitled “Planning Review.”  The document was aimed at taking a long range planning view of the Village’s future with respect to four key areas:  large land tracts, open space, waterfront development and economic development.  The document also focused on other issues, including traffic and parking, and affordable housing.  Those planning recommendations identified in the document of greatest relevance to the proposed zoning amendments are set forth below.

 

Large Land Tracts

 

·        “Adopt overlay ordinances…, and supplement existing ordinances as necessary.”

 

·        “Negotiate PILOTs.”

 

Open Space

 

·        “Complete open space plan to better preserve and utilize open space, especially privately owned and/or institutional properties.”

 

Other

 

·        “The provision of affordable housing, infill housing and population diversity.”

 

·        “The possible remediation of traffic and parking conditions.”

 

In its assessment of large land tracts, Planning Review specifically discussed the Site that is the subject of the proposed project.  With respect to the Site, the document states:

 

….the Andrus Home is problematic due to its tax-exempt status, as it represents nearly 12 percent of the total assessed valuation for the Village.  Assuming that the property was sold to a taxable entity for single-family residential development, an increased assessment would generate greater property tax revenues for the Village.

 

However, assisted living or congregate care development is probably a better utilization of the site due to its current use, as well as potentially generating a greater net fiscal benefit, with less impact to the community….

 

                        4.         Planning Principles

 

            In April 1988, the Planning Board issued a document entitled, “Planning Principles.”  The principles enumerated in that document continue to influence Village planning.  The key criteria relevant to this Action are set forth below.

 

The Community

 

·        “Hastings-on-Hudson has a long tradition of a diverse population.  Future development should maintain this tradition and ensure that housing and other amenities are available for people of varying ages, income levels and lifestyles.  Appropriate consideration should be given to development and/or adapting housing opportunities for the elderly and handicapped.”

 

·        “Future development should reflect and preserve the present scale and character of the Village.”

 

Financial Base

 

·        “A strong fiscal base is essential to ensure the continuation of high quality community services, and reasonable property taxes that are affordable by people of varied income levels.  Increasing the tax base is an important planning goal.”

 

Land Use

 

·        “The total land area of Hastings is only two square miles, with hilly, rocky terrain, and old, narrow streets.  The impact on traffic, parking, sewage, drainage, solid waste, soil conditions and air quality must be considered in any future development.  Pedestrian circulation should be encouraged.”

 

·        “Green areas and public open-space provide essential environmental resources in an area of concentrated population and should be made available where possible throughout the community.  Preservation of open space is an important planning principle to be balanced with recognition of the need for additional housing and other development.”

 

·        “The Zoning Ordinance and Land Development Regulations shall allow for a variety for [sic] land use methods and construction techniques and financing to secure a broad range of market rate and affordable housing.”

 

Population Growth

 

·        “A vibrant population enriches the community.  Hastings can absorb an increase in population consistent with the Village’s resources.”

 


            B.        County Planning Documents

 

                        1.         Patterns for Westchester: The Land and the People

 

            In December 1995, the County of Westchester Planning Board issued its comprehensive planning document, entitled “Patterns for Westchester: The Land and the People” (“Patterns”).  Patterns is designed to “offer[] a broad policy framework for governmental actions to guide the county’s future physical development.”  The policies articulated in Patterns are those that the County advocates for use in local jurisdictions.

 

            Patterns identifies three elements of land use planning with which the County, in its “generalized view of land use issues,” evaluates the impact of development on land and on people.  These three elements -- density of development, relationship to surrounding development, and visual impact -- as well as the key criteria within each that are most relevant to the Proposed Action, are set forth below.

 

Density of Development

 

            Patterns identifies three levels of density -- high density urban, medium density suburban and low density rural -- and then defines ranges of recommended density for the County on the Patterns Map.  The Site is situated in an area identified on the Patterns Map as medium density suburban development, for which the gross recommended density is 2 to 7 units per acre.  Because of the generalized nature of Patterns, however, that designation does not account for the existing uses of individual parcels.  Patterns states: “[u]nlike municipal governments which must be concerned with the details of land use proposals for particular sites, the Westchester County Planning Board takes a generalized view of land use issues….”  Thus, the Site’s inclusion in a broader area designated as medium density does not account for its existing non-conforming use as a retirement home.

 

Relationship to Surrounding Development

 

            With respect to this criterion, the County Planning Board focuses on the impact that a particular use has on the surrounding area.  Patterns points to factors such as increased traffic, sewage and water usage that could affect community character, even if a proposed use is compatible with its density recommendations.

 

Visual Impact

 

            With respect to visual impact, the document states:

 

Patterns aims at guiding development in ways that will:

 

a)  Preserve and enhance the distinct character and visual quality of Westchester’s cities, towns and villages and reinforce their residents’ sense of place;

 

b)  Protect the open space that separates and gives definition to centers; and

 

c)  Encourage attention to design in public and commercial buildings, streets and other facilities….

 

            Patterns identifies the Site and the institutional and campus office development south of the Site as an area of open space character.

 

                        2.         Affordable Housing Policy for the County of Westchester

 

The County of Westchester’s affordable housing policy is incorporated in two documents, “Housing Opportunities for Westchester, A Guide to Affordable Housing Development,” published by the Westchester County Housing Opportunity Commission in 1997, and “Affordable Housing Allocation Plan,” published by the Westchester County Housing Implementation Commission in 1993.  The County has suggested an affordable housing goal for the different communities in the County.  For Hastings, the objective is the provision of 30 units by the year 2000.  The County definition of affordable housing is the same as that in the Village Policy.

 

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 (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

 

            As discussed in Section III, above, 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, with the exception of building height and density, the proposed special use permit standards for this use would be the same as or more restrictive than existing zoning requirements for other special permit uses.  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 12 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 will 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)  (As reflected in the EIS, and discussed further in Section IV.H (Alternatives), below, it is estimated that the Site could accommodate thirty-three single-family homes if it were developed as a single-family subdivision in accordance with the existing zoning.  If developed in accordance with the requirements for an R-10 district, it has been estimated that the Site could accommodate forty-one single-family homes.)

 

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 (1.3 persons) as compared to single-family residential areas (3.25 persons per household).

 

The proposed 12 senior units per acre density would result in a population density of approximately 15.6 persons per acre, compared to 6 persons per acre in the R-20 district and 12 persons per acre in the R-10 district.  Further, although the number of permitted units would be just over twice that permitted in the R-7.5 district (i.e., 12 versus 5.8 units per acre), the actual population density would be roughly equivalent 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:  15.6 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 these special permitted uses.

 

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.  As addressed in Section II, above, the federal Fair Housing Act allows such residency restrictions on the basis of age.  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 of 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 afford 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 (Section 295-67(B)(3)(a)).

 

f.          Building Setbacks and Buffer Zones

 

The proposed zoning amendments would require all proposed structures to be set back 1½ 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 100-feet 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.  For example, Section IV.B (Community Character, Visual Resources and Open Space) addresses consistency with the Village’s numerous policies relating to the preservation of community and visual character and the preservation of open space.

 

                        a.         Dwelling Units

 

As permitted by the proposed zoning amendments, the facility would involve a modest increase in the number of dwelling units on the Site (from 247 to 273).  This would result in a density of 11.7 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 350 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 11.8% (15% permitted) and a lot coverage of approximately 30% (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 and 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-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 buildings would be set back at least 100 feet, and at least 1½ 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 would increase by approximately 0.31 acres.  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 0.4.

 

The proposed placement of the access roads and parking areas would also significantly 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.         Findings and Recommendations

 

The proposed zoning requirements were structured around existing requirements in the Village Zoning Code for other similar special permit uses authorized in the R-20 district.  Because the Zoning Code comprises part of the comprehensive plan for the Village, consistency of the proposed zoning requirements with existing zoning requirements for similar uses indicates consistency with this component of the Village’s comprehensive plan.

 

As noted, with the exception of building height and density, the proposed special use permit standards for this use would be the same as or more restrictive than existing zoning requirements for the other similar uses.  Therefore, the proposed zoning amendments, as reflected by the proposed physical development, are generally consistent with the Village’s comprehensive plan.  Further, they are consistent with the explicit statement in Planning Review that:  “assisted living or congregate care development is probably a better utilization of the [Andrus] site [than single family housing] due to current use, as well as potentially generating a greater net fiscal benefit, with less impact to the community….”

 

Specific findings and recommendations for ensuring that the proposed building height and density requirements are consistent with the comprehensive plan are contained in the following section of this Recommendation.

 

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.  As discussed further in Section IV.F (Traffic, Pedestrian Circulation and Parking), below, traffic from the existing facility does not materially affect perceived neighborhood character.

 

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 would 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 facilitate increased density, building mass and coverage as compared to existing conditions.  The increased permitted development intensity on the Site and its resultant impacts (as discussed in this and other sections of this document) could adversely affect 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.  The following additional policies relate more directly to the project and 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 proposed zoning amendments, as reflected by the specific Andrus project that would be allowed thereby, are, by and large, consistent with and/or further these community character and open space policies.

 

As discussed, 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.

 

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), as noted, the proposed height of the buildings has the most 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 six proposed buildings, which would range from 50 feet and 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 almost exclusively from the height of the proposed buildings) that would exceed the Village’s scale of development, thus adversely affecting the character of the community.

 

The proposed development and amendments 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 physically separated from the neighboring area.  Neither zoning nor development can change this existing condition.  However, the proposed project would 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.  The proposed provision of a trailway also 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.

 

4.         Findings and Recommendations

 

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, it is anticipated that the proposed height of the buildings that would be allowable under the proposed zoning amendments would potentially 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.

 

            Some members of the Planning Board believe that the height and density of the development permitted under the Applicant’s proposed zoning amendments deviate significantly from the Village’s comprehensive plan and, consequently, warrant a recommendation that different standards be imposed.  Other members believe that the concerns over allowable height and density are sufficiently addressed by the Planning Board’s ability under its site plan review authority to impose appropriate restrictions upon a development proposal, as exemplified by the Andrus proposal and its accompanying mitigation measures.  These members also believe that any height and density concerns are offset by such considerations as the height of the existing facility and the benefits associated with a CCRC.  Nonetheless, all of the Planning Board members believe that some modification to the proposed zoning amendments as to density is appropriate, and this issue has been the subject of extensive discussion and analysis by the members.

 

            A number of solutions have been proposed to address the height and density issue, all of which are variations on measures evaluated in the EIS process.  Three primary options for refining the proposed zoning amendments have emerged, each of which is set forth below.  All of the Planning Board members favor modifying the proposed zoning amendments in accordance with the first of these options.  In addition, a majority of the members favor modifying the amendments in accordance with some variation of the second option.  A minority of the members would also favor modifying the proposed amendments in accordance with the third option.  As noted above, the proposed amendments, together with the Planning Board’s recommended modifications, are set forth in Exhibit “A”.

 

Option 1:       Increase the setback requirement to two times the height of the point of the structure nearest the lot line.

 

All of the Planning Board members recommend that the setback requirement be increased such that the distance of any point of a structure from the nearest lot line is at least two times the height of such point.  The requirement that a structure may in no case be set back less than 100 feet from the nearest lot line would remain.  This requirement would effectively mean that, if a building were set back the minimum 100 feet, the walls nearest the lot line could not exceed 50 feet in height.

 

Option 2:       Impose a floor area ratio (“FAR”).[5]

 

Imposing an FAR would have the effect of limiting the overall density of development by putting a cap on the total square footage of floor area that could be constructed on a site.  Three approaches for imposing an FAR requirement have been suggested:

 

            Option 2(a):  FAR not to exceed 0.45.

 

Option 2(b):  FAR not to exceed 0.40; however, the FAR may be increased by the Planning Board up to an additional 10% in consideration of certain enumerated factors, including (i) the degree to which buildings are set back in excess of the 100-foot setback, and (ii) the height of the buildings in relation to surrounding finished grade and other factors such as landscaping and architectural design elements that have the effect of reducing perceived building mass.

 

Option 2(c):  FAR not to exceed 0.375; however, the FAR may be increased by the Planning Board up to an additional 15% in consideration of the same discretionary factors.

 

At the Planning Board’s request, FPCA devised these two options based on an analysis of the scope of development that is currently permitted under the Zoning Code.  Applying the provisions of Section 295-67, FPCA calculated that the maximum FAR of a nursing home that would be permissible as a special use in R-20 districts is 0.375.  The Planning Board believes that CCRCs, with their need to provide ancillary services and amenities, may well require an additional FAR allowance above this number.  Thus, taking 0.375 as a base, FPCA developed the two approaches for a slightly increased FAR allowance for CCRCs set forth above.

 

A majority of the Planning Board members recommend that the third of these approaches be enacted.

 

Option 3:       Decrease the maximum building height to 54 feet or 4 stories.

 

A minority of the members of the Planning Board would, in addition to the previous measures, also decrease the maximum building height from 65 feet and 5 stories to 54 feet and 4 stories.  They would further provide, however, that the height of individual buildings could be increased by the Planning Board up to 65 feet or 5 stories in consideration of the same discretionary factors that would apply to Option 2(b) above.

 

            Each of the buildings in the proposed CCRC meets the higher setback requirement under Option 1 above.  In other words, no building is designed to have a wall located nearest the lot line in excess of 50 feet in height.  The proposed CCRC has an FAR of approximately 0.40.  It would therefore meet the requirements of Option 2(a) above, but would possibly require that the Planning Board exercise its discretion to grant it some or all of the additional 10% above the FAR provided under Option 2(b), and would require all or a portion of the additional 15% under Option 2(c).  The proposed CCRC would not meet the requirements of Option 3 above.  As two of the proposed buildings are presently designed to be 65 feet in height, the Applicant would either have to reduce the height of these structures, or else request that the Planning Board exercise its discretion under Option 3 to permit these buildings to be constructed to 65 feet.

 

A majority of the Planning Board members believe that modifying the proposed zoning amendments to include the first and second of the above options would render the density and building height aspects of the proposed amendments consistent with the Village comprehensive plan.

 


            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 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 350 residents, an increase of approximately 100 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, 201 of the proposed 273 units are to be marketed for sale to seniors able to live independently and without assistance.

 

            With respect to the Village as a whole, by increasing the number of units from the current maximum level of 247 to 273, the proposed zoning amendments, as reflected by the development proposal, would increase the availability of housing for the elderly.  Similarly, by increasing the maximum population of the facility by approximately 100 individuals, the diversity of the general population would be increased to some extent, as some of the units would 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.         Findings and Recommendations

 

            The Planning Board finds that the proposed zoning amendments, and consequential permissible CCRC, would be consistent with the Village planning goal of increasing housing for the elderly.  By allowing a development that would increase the population of seniors in the community, the proposed amendments could also contribute to the goal of maintaining and enhancing Hastings’ diversity of population.  As discussed in further detail in Section IV.D (Affordable Housing), they may also help to achieve this latter goal through increasing the Village’s stock of affordable housing.

 

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 has 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.[6] 

 

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.  It is the Planning Board’s 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 believes that a contribution to the Village in furtherance of its affordable housing goals is appropriate, but that such contribution need not be based on the application of a strict mathematical formula to the number of proposed ILUs.

 

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.  With the median home value in Westchester approximately $286,000, some residents should be able to afford the entrance fees for the alcove or smaller one-bedroom units.[7]

 

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.[8]

 

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 direct 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.         Findings and Recommendations

 

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.  The Planning Board believes that the provision of such scholarships does constitute a type of affordable housing, as it allows senior residents of Hastings to remain within the Village.  However, the Board also believes that this does not constitute the type of affordable housing contemplated by the Village Policy.  Thus, although some credit for the continuation of the “scholarship” units is warranted, it is insufficient to satisfy the Policy.[9]

 

Although the Planning Board believes that the principal purpose of the Village and County policies is to include affordable housing in a new development, 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.

 

The Applicant’s conditional offer to donate a third of an acre at the northern end of the Site for affordable housing does not change our previously stated opinion.  The retention of this end of the Site as open space is important to efforts to mitigate the impacts of the proposed zoning amendments and consequential allowable development on visual quality and community character.  Placing affordable (or other) housing at this location, even with appropriate landscaping, would have adverse impacts on these values.[10] 

 

The offer to make the one-time payment of $350,000 is, in the view of the Planning Board, a good start but not sufficient to meet the Village and County Affordable Housing policies.  A strict application of the 10% goal contained in the Village Policy to the 201 proposed ILUs would amount to the provision of 20 units of affordable housing.  As stated above, the Planning Board does not believe that a strict application of the Policy is necessarily appropriate in the context of a CCRC.  However, given the 10% goal, it is not realistic to assume that the $350,000 payment would be sufficient to meet Village (or County) objectives.  We believe a much more substantial payment is necessary for the Applicant’s proposal to be found 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

 

Current Village infrastructure is adequate to support the existing facility, as illustrated by the discussion below.

 

            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 350 residents, which represents an increase of about 100 individuals over the full capacity of the existing facility.  Because of the 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 exemplified in the following discussion.

 

            The Hastings-on-Hudson Police Department anticipates that it would be able to accommodate any additional calls for ambulances or other emergency services associated with an expanded Andrus facility.  In addition, the facility would be staffed 24 hours a day and would include an on-site security system as part of its operation.

 

            The Fire Department has indicated that it has sufficient resources to service the proposed CCRC.  As part of the project design, the facility would be equipped with a sprinkler system.  There are no known circumstances where water supply to the Site would be affected in the event of a fire.

 

            The Ambulance Corps has indicated that it has sufficient resources to service the proposed facility.  The CCRC would be staffed on a 24-hour basis.  In the event that a resident required assistance, a call to the facilities administrative office would alert on-duty staff who could then take appropriate measures.

 

            Solid waste would continue to be picked up by a private carter.  The ECL requires the use of water saving plumbing devices in all new and renovated buildings.  Because overall domestic water demand is accordingly projected to decrease, the overall sanitary sewage volume at the proposed CCRC is expected to decline to 28,320 gallons per day from the current level of approximately 41,000 gallons per day.  The Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities indicated that the Yonkers Wastewater Treatment Facility has sufficient capacity to accommodate the proposed facility.

 

            Water would continue to be supplied to the proposed facility by United Water New Rochelle.  As noted, the ECL requires the use of water saving plumbing devices in all new and renovated buildings.  Accordingly, despite the increase in the size of the proposed facility, the average daily water consumption is anticipated to decline from the current level of 44,400 gallons per day to approximately 32,000 gallons per day.

 

                        5.         Findings and Recommendations

 

                                    a.         Fiscal Resources

 

            The Planning Board believes that a PILOT agreement is consistent with the Village’s comprehensive plan, and agrees with the Applicant that such an agreement is necessary to compensate the relevant taxing authorities.  While we believe that the tentative PILOT represents a good first effort, we do not believe it is sufficient to satisfy the Village’s planning policies.  Accordingly, we recommend first 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, should be significantly greater than $30,000.  The Planning Board believes 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.

 

Second, we do not believe that a 2% compounded annual increase in the annual payments to the Village and the School District is adequate to account for inflation or for the future costs to the Village of providing community services and facilities.  Instead, we recommend that the annual percentage increase be tied either to the Consumer Price Index or to annual increases in real property tax rates.

 

Finally, we believe that a provision should be included in the PILOT agreement specifying that, in the event that a portion of the facility is converted to multifamily housing but remains tax exempt, as is discussed in Section IV.H (Alternatives) below, the annual payment would be increased accordingly.

 

                                    b.         Community Infrastructure

 

            The Planning Board believes 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

 

1.         Present Conditions

 

Traffic surveys for the Traffic Impact Study were conducted from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. and from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.  The Peak Highway Hours observed on the adjacent roadways are:  Peak AM Hour, 7:45 to 8:45 a.m.; and Peak PM Hour, 2:45 to 3:45 p.m.  These surveys indicated that area traffic volumes before or after the peak hours are generally considerably lower than those during the peak hours.  When operating with 164 beds occupied, the facility was observed, from surveys, to generate 44 trips during the Peak AM Hour and 67 trips during the Peak PM Hour.  Under full occupancy (i.e., 95% of the beds occupied), 74 more beds would be occupied (in comparison to 164 beds).  Full occupancy would result in additional vehicle trips associated primarily with additional visitors, staff and deliveries.  The existing Andrus facility, when operating at full capacity, was estimated to result in between 59 and 64 trips during the Peak AM Hour, and between 97 and 107 trips during the Peak PM Hour. 

 

Concern has been raised during the SEQRA process regarding the adequacy of the existing entrance on Old Broadway, particularly with regard to the adequacy of sight distance from and to this driveway and the accommodation for adequate turning movements for trucks.

 

The existing facility has 123 parking spaces contained in surface parking lots.

 

Pedestrian counts indicated that very few of the residents in the surrounding residential neighborhood or those presently residing in the facility currently walk along Broadway.  This is due, in part, to unsafe conditions and a lack of sidewalks along that road.

 

The Zoning Code has a number of standards that encourage the provision of adequate and safe traffic circulation and parking areas.  Such standards are contained within Article IV, Off-Street Parking and Loading, and Article XII, Site Plan Approval.

 

Under the existing zoning, other special permit uses are required to be located on a lots  that front on, or have direct and convenient access to, a major or collector road as determined by the Planning Board.  The lot upon which the facility is located has access to a State highway and has frontage along Broadway and Old Broadway.

 

2.         Proposed Zoning Amendments

 

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 the use to larger roads in the Village that would be more capable of handling the additional traffic (as opposed to local village roads).

 

The proposed zoning amendments include specific parking requirements for the proposed uses: 1.0 space per each independent living unit and 0.5 space for each skilled nursing or assisted living unit. This figure is consistent with published standards, national studies and experience at similar senior developments, and takes into consideration parking for residents, employees and visitors.  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 any such “land-banked” spaces could be provided in the future.  All unimproved parking spaces would be required to be maintained as landscaped grounds until used for parking.

 

3.         Relationship of Proposal to Traffic, Pedestrian Circulation and Parking

 

Based on anticipated population changes in the facility, experience at similar senior housing communities, and on projected staffing levels, there would be no significant increase in traffic during the hours of peak traffic activity on the surrounding streets as compared to when the facility operated at capacity (i.e., 247 beds) and from existing levels.  Within the CCRC, no driving would be done by skilled nursing residents, and, few, if any, assisted living residents would drive.  Among the independent living residents, some would have cars and use them.  However, their usage of their cars is not anticipated to be significant because:  (1) few, if any, of the residents would be employed and, thus, would not be expected to be driving to and from work during peak hours; (2) residents would be likely to distribute their driving activities throughout the day due to their retired or semi-retired status; (3) van service would be required to be provided for residents, reducing the need to drive; and (4) the facility would offer a variety of services and activities on site.  Moreover, industry-wide experience has shown that automobile ownership and use declines as the population of a senior facility ages.

 

The combination of these factors is expected to hold peak hour traffic activity at the Site to levels generally comparable to those that would prevail if the present facility were to operate at full capacity, and not significantly greater than present levels.  When compared with 1999 peak hour traffic activity, at which time the Andrus facility was operating at 65 percent of occupancy, the proposed project is projected to result in 19 additional trips during the Peak AM Highway Hour and 28 additional trips during the Peak PM Highway Hour.  These trips would disperse quickly to the surrounding roadway system.  This constitutes less than a five percent increase over existing volumes at the intersections most affected and would be essentially equivalent if the current facility were fully occupied.

 

Peak traffic activity associated with the facility in the morning hours is anticipated to occur between 6:30 and 7:30 AM.  At that time, which is before the 7:45 to 8:45 Peak AM Hour, 25 staff vehicles are actually anticipated to enter the facility and 22 staff vehicles (47 total trips) are anticipated to exit the facility.  Traffic analysis estimated a condition where 31 vehicles entered the Site and 32 vehicles exited the Site (63 total trips) during the Peak AM Hour.  During the Peak PM Highway Hour, which coincides almost entirely with the anticipated period of busiest activity at the proposed facility, 27 staff vehicles are anticipated to enter the facility and 25 would exit (52 total trips).   The traffic analysis estimated a condition where 48 vehicles entered the Site and 47 vehicles exited the Site (95 total trips) during the Peak PM Hour.

 

An accident analysis performed as part of the DEIS revealed that only one accident had occurred at the service driveway on Old Broadway in the three year period studied.  However, it is recognized that the existing service driveway is minimally adequate and has associated potential capacity and safety concerns.  The proposed driveway and roadside improvements would substantially upgrade the driveway to one which would provide adequate width and sight distances to properly accommodate all traffic, thereby reducing the possibility of future accidents at this location.  These improvements would increase the available sight distance from 195 feet to 315 feet.  This distance would be adequate to accommodate travel in wet weather at 40 miles per hour, ten miles per hour greater than the posted speed limit, which is greater than the recorded operating speed (85th percentile) of 38 mph.  The improvement would also provide additional maneuvering room for vehicle turning movements into and out of the driveway.  These would be a substantial improvement over the present condition.

 

There would be an increase in traffic during the demolition and construction period.  Throughout this time, normal local traffic and construction activities would be coordinated with the Village Police Department, Traffic Division as well as the Public Works Department.  It is anticipated that, other than at specific limited times for such activities as utility installation, flow and direction of traffic would remain as currently facilitated.  Contractors would be bound by specific contract language limiting vehicle parking, delivery and travel to the Site. Parking for subcontractors would be permitted only in specified areas on site consistent with the particular phase of construction.  All subcontractors would park along the perimeter road constructed on site and in lots that would be built for the project.  No additional parking would be created  for the construction.

 

Access in and around the facility would be safely maintained during the construction phase by employing the measures specified in the relevant section of the NYSDOT “Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.”  Such measures include but are not limited to the deployment of appropriate advance warning signs, the placement of traffic cones and barricades to separate pedestrian and opposing flows of traffic, as necessary, and the use of flag persons, if necessary.  In addition, the Applicant has committed to paying for the Village to retain a construction manager who would oversee the construction process.

 

As noted, due in part to unsafe conditions and a lack of sidewalks, pedestrian counts show that very few of the residents in the surrounding residential neighborhood or those presently on the campus walk along Broadway.  Potential increases in future pedestrian activity from the Site is expected to be lowered by a required van service that would take residents to and from the Village as needed.  Further, the Andrus campus provides ample space for residents to get their required daily exercise.  In addition, working with the Village, the applicant has identified a route for a trailway on the property, and a potential route for the trail has been added to the site plan drawings for the proposed project.

 

            Parking provided for the Andrus Retirement Community is based on experience at similar developments, and covers the requirements of residents, visitors and staff.  The current site plan includes 240 parking spaces; 75 of these are located in garages within Buildings A, B, D and E, providing convenient, protected parking for independent living residents; the remainder are located in at-grade parking lots, except for five which are located within the existing garage building.  Experience at senior living facilities indicates that many of the residents who have vehicles use them infrequently, particularly when alternative transportation is provided, as at Andrus, and automobile ownership declines as the population of the CCRC ages.  As a result, the proposed parking would be more than adequate to meet the needs of the development.  Based on the proposed unit count, the proposed zoning would require 237 spaces for the proposed facility.

 

Staff shifts at the facility would be staggered so that they happen not to correspond with Peak AM and PM traffic volume hours.  In addition, there would be transportation available at the facility for resident use that would help to reduce individual trips.

 

4.         Findings and Recommendations

 

The project that would be allowed by the proposed zoning amendments would be consistent with the Village’s land use policy that traffic flow, pedestrian circulation and parking be carefully considered in the review of plans involving growth in the community, as summarized below.

 

The Planning Board finds that there would be a slight increase in traffic volumes on streets surrounding the Andrus facility due to the proposed zoning amendments and development when compared to the current occupancy.  However, the current traffic figure is lower than when the facility was at full occupancy.  Moreover, the traffic impacts due to the proposed zoning amendments and resultant development at the Site would not be significant, given that:  (i) all intersections would function at similar overall Levels of Service, under Build and No-Build conditions; (ii) staff shifts at the facility would be staggered so that they do not correspond with Peak AM and PM traffic volume hours; and (iii) there would be transportation available at the facility for resident use which would help to reduce individual trips.  The Planning Board would require that the provision of van service for the life of the facility be an explicit condition set forth in any approval  following site plan review.

 

The provisions of the proposed zoning amendments governing parking are consistent with national studies and regional examples of similar facilities and takes into consideration parking needs for residents, employees and visitors.  The improvements proposed at the existing service entrance on Old Broadway would improve safety.

 

The provision of a trail through the Site would provide pedestrian routes for both residents and public, and would specifically address the Village’s policy that any new development should accommodate expansion of the existing trailway system.

 

            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 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 -- are addressed briefly below.

 

1.         Surface Water Resources

 

a.         Present Conditions

 

The Site is located within the Hudson River drainage basin.  Stormwater runoff from the Site generally flows westward, discharging into the Hudson River via existing storm drainage outfalls.  The Village Building Inspector has indicated that there is no history of flooding in the New Broadway drainage system and the Old Broadway drainage system.

 

b.         Relationship of the Proposal to Surface Water Resources

           

            In accordance with the proposed zoning requirements, the proposed facility would have an estimated building coverage of 11.8% (15% permitted) and a total lot coverage of approximately 30% (33% permitted) as compared to the current building coverage of 4.7% and lot coverage of 17.9%.  Therefore, the amount of resulting stormwater runoff is expected to increase in comparison to existing conditions on the Site but may be lower than other special permit uses, as the proposed maximum permitted lot coverage requirement of 33% is more restrictive than the existing requirement of 40% for other special permit uses.

 

Construction of new buildings, parking areas and associated roadways would result in increased peak flows of stormwater runoff.  Runoff from the project Site will be collected in roof drains and catch basins and conveyed via a network of existing and new underground storm drainage pipes.  Detention systems have been designed to attenuate post development 100-year storm flows to those that currently exist.  A restricted flow of stormwater would be discharged from proposed detention facilities into the existing storm drainage systems in both New Broadway and Old Broadway.  These flows, when added to the flows generated from the undetained portions of the Site, would be less than discharge rates under existing conditions.

           

            While site development would result in increased stormwater runoff, the provision of the detention basins as proposed is an adequate mitigation measure which is designed to ensure that post development run-off rates do not exceed pre-development run-off rates for the full range of design storms (2-, 10-, 25-, and 100-year design storms).

           

            While the project would result in an increase in the pollutant loading values over pre-development conditions, no significant impact from such pollutant loadings is anticipated because the design of the detention basins meets NYSDEC criteria by providing extended detention of the first flush runoff (½ inch runoff).

 

                        2.         Geology, Soils, Topography and Slopes

 

                                    a.         Existing Conditions

 

            The Site is located in a geographic area known as the Hudson Highlands.  Bedrock on the Site consists of Fordham Gneiss.  Depth to bedrock ranges from 3 to 25 feet.  There is a series of rock outcrops located in the south central portion of the Site.  The soils on the Site are Charlton-Chatfield (CrC), Chatfield-Charlton (CsD) and Charlton Loam (ChE) types.

 

            The Site is situated on a topographic rise associated with a ridgeline that trends in a north/south direction.  The ridgeline has a more gradual slope running north/south and steeper terrain running east/west.  The high point of elevation of approximately 363 feet is located just south of the main building on the Site; the low point of elevation of approximately 233 feet is situated in the northernmost portion of the Site.  The majority of slopes fall into the 0-10 percent category.  The more severe slope category of 35+% occurs on the western and north-central portions of the Site.

 

b.         Relationship of the Proposal to Geology, Soils, Topography and Slopes

 

            Development of the Site would require alterations to the existing topography.  Most of the disturbance would occur on areas with less than 15% slope.  The Applicant has made an effort to locate the proposed buildings, road network and parking areas so as to reduce the impact to Site topography.  As is presently the case, the majority of the development could be condensed near the center of the Site in order to minimize impacts to steep slopes.

 

            An approximately 6.83 acre portion of the undeveloped areas of the Site would be cleared to permit site grading and construction.  This area includes a wooded area of about 1.76 acres and 5.07 acres of lawn/meadow.  All disturbed areas that are not proposed to be built or used for site access would be replanted and remain as an open space component.

 

            The majority of the disturbed area on the Site would consist of Charlton-Chatfield (CrC) soils (approximately 14.89 acres).  A disturbed area of about 0.39 acres would consist of Chatfield-Charlton (CsD) soils.  No Charlton Loam (ChE) soils would be disturbed.  During soil moving operations, runoff on the Site would increase as a result of the change in land cover type.

 

            Potential soil erosion and sedimentation is proposed to be controlled through use of temporary soil erosion and sediment control, designed and installed in accordance with “Westchester County’s Best Management Manual for Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control” (1991).  The Applicant has submitted a sedimentation and erosion control plan for review.

 

            Andrus has represented that it would, to the greatest extent practicable, excavate for and remove rock by ripping and hoe ramming, and would follow all applicable local, state and federal guidelines related to blasting as a means of rock removal.  A preconstruction survey would be performed for all buildings and other structures on- and off-site within 500 feet of any proposed blasting.  Pre- and post-blast surveys would consist of individual reports for each of the properties.  Each pre-blast survey would include a written description of the property and photographs of existing damage.  A copy of the report would be provided to each owner of surveyed property prior to the construction.  Post-blast surveys would be conducted at the conclusion of construction or when an owner notified the contractor of damage.

 

            The proposed grading plan utilizes existing and new retaining walls at several locations to create a sufficiently level area for buildings, access roads and parking, while reducing the amount of disturbed area.

 

                        3.         Vegetation and Wildlife

 

                                    a.         Existing Conditions

 

            There are no wetlands on or adjacent to the Site.  The upland areas consist predominantly of the existing retirement home, parking areas, roads, lawn and landscaped areas.  The landscaped portions of the Site contain a combination of trees, shrubs and lawn.  A continuous narrow wooded area (up to approximately 120 feet wide) consisting of mixed forest is present along the western portion of the property located adjacent to New Broadway.  Smaller mixed forest areas also exist around the northern, eastern and southern portions of the Site.

 

            The wildlife expected to be found within the habitats on the property include species typical to suburban settings that are relatively tolerant of humans.  No unique or significant habitat types, and no direct evidence of rare or endangered species, were identified during field visits to the Site.  The NYSDEC Natural Heritage Program identified no known occurrences of endangered, threatened or special concerns species of either plants or animals, or any significant habitats, on the Site.

 

b.         Relationship of the Proposal to Vegetation and Wildlife

 

            The proposed development would result primarily in the conversion of some landscaped and lawn areas to buildings and roads.  Approximately 158 trees of 12-inch caliper would be removed, including 47 trees with a 24-inch caliper or greater.  The Applicant has proposed a landscaping plan to replace these trees and to supplement the vegetation to remain on the Site.  In addition, a 100-foot setback would be established around the property, and a parking area currently located on the east side of the Site closest to Hudson Street would be removed and replaced with a garden area.  The wildlife on the Site would be expected to continue to utilize undeveloped portions of the Site as well as areas adjacent to the Site.

 

                        4.         Cultural and Archaeological Resources

 

                                    a.         Existing Conditions

 

The Site has experienced disturbance associated with the construction of various outbuildings and gardening activities since the 1950s, but has also experienced disturbance over at least the last 150 years through the construction and demolition of a number of houses and outbuildings that have been located on the property.

 

b.         Relationship of the Proposal to Cultural and Archaeological Resources

 

Based on the New York State Museum Prehistoric Archaeological Site File model and known prehistoric resources in the immediate vicinity, a Stage 1B Archaeological Field Survey was undertaken by the Applicant on those limited areas of the Site determined to be substantially undisturbed.  Of the ten shovel tests performed, none yielded prehistoric cultural material.  Four shovel tests yielded 19th century artifacts in the area of the historic Dykeman house.  These artifacts were judged to be in profoundly disturbed soils, deposited during earth moving episodes associated with the construction of the retaining wall along Broadway.  This locus is judged to have lost its archaeological integrity.  The study found that the proposed development would not impact any cultural and archaeological resources within the area.

 

                        5.         Air Quality

 

                                    a.         Existing Conditions

 

             Background (ambient) air quality levels for the Hastings area are below the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (“NAAQS”) established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) for all pollutants except ozone.  Westchester County has been designated by EPA as being in severe nonattainment for ozone.  Compliance in New York State with the NAAQS for ozone must be achieved by 2007.  Westchester County is in compliance with the NAAQS for carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, lead, hydrocarbons, particulates, and sulfur dioxide.

 

                                    b.         Relationship of the Proposal to Air Quality

 

            Anticipated impacts associated with future emissions would likely be limited to the existing heating plant and Site operations (e.g., landscaping equipment).  Due to the relatively minor changes in traffic expected, there would not be any anticipated traffic-related air quality impact associated with the proposed zoning amendments and Andrus project.

 

            Fugitive dust emissions from land clearing operations could occur over unpaved areas.  Much of the fugitive dust generated by construction activities consists of relatively large particles, which are expected to settle within the construction site and not significantly affect the nearby neighborhood.

 

            The Applicant would mitigate potential impacts during construction by conducting excavation and construction activities with the care mandated by the Site’s proximity to active uses on and off-site.  Appropriate fugitive dust control measures, including watering of exposed areas and buildings to be demolished and dust covers for trucks, would be employed.

 

                        6.         Noise

 

                                    a.         Existing Conditions

 

            Due to the proximity of the Site to Route 9, an important highway corridor, the primary noise source in the vicinity is roadway traffic noise.  The vehicle trips are related to traffic associated with resident use, visitors, employees and deliveries.  Additional noise is generated by site operations including landscaping equipment.

 

                                    b.         Relationship of the Proposal to Noise

 

            Long-term noise impacts from roadway traffic and site operations would not be expected to increase substantially as a result of the proposed zoning amendments or development of the CCRC.

 

Short term increases in noise levels would be anticipated due to construction activities related to specific Site improvements.  This temporary impact would be anticipated to raise noise levels in the vicinity of the Site during those hours when there would be construction activity.   Noise impacts during the construction period would result from construction equipment operation and from construction vehicles traveling in and out of the Site.

           

Construction equipment noise is regulated by EPA noise emission standards.  These requirements mandate that most construction equipment and motor vehicles meet specified noise emissions standards, and that except under exceptional circumstances, construction activities are limited to weekdays between the hours of 7:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M.  In addition, construction material must be handled and transported in such a manner as to not create unnecessary noise.

 


            7.         Findings and Recommendations

 

            a.         Surface Water Resources

 

Considering that:  (i) proposed development would involve the retention of the majority of the forested portions of the Site (particularly the steep slope areas); (ii) post development run-off rates would not exceed pre-development run-off rates for the full range of design storms (2-year, 10-year, 25-year, and 100-year design storms); and (iii) no significant impact from increased pollutant loadings is anticipated because the design of the detention basins meets NYSDEC criteria by providing extended detention of the first flush runoff, the Planning Board finds that the CCRC allowable under the proposed zoning amendments would adequately mitigate potential stormwater impacts resulting from the increase coverage of the Site in comparison to existing conditions.

 

                                    b.         Geology, Soils, Topography and Slope

 

            The Planning Board finds that there would be temporary construction-related impacts associated with earth and rock removal that can be mitigated through appropriate erosion and sedimentation control methods, monitoring and adherence to local and state blasting regulations.  The proposed structures and landscaping should help to act as erosion control measures once the Site is developed and stabilized.

 

                        c.         Vegetation and Wildlife

 

            The Planning Board finds that removal of some vegetation is an unavoidable impact of the proposed development.  The proposed landscaping plan and other mitigation measures, however, promote appropriate replacement consistent with Village planning policies.  No significant species or habitats would be displaced by the proposed development.

 

                                    d.         Cultural and Archaeological Resources

 

No impacts are anticipated for any property listed or eligible for listing on the National or State Register of Historic Places.  Accordingly, although a number of structures and landscape features are located on the Site, no buildings or structures of historic significance would be impacted by the proposed construction.

 

                                    e.         Air Quality

 

            The development of the proposed CCRC would not result in any significant air quality impacts from machinery, traffic or other sources.  With the implementation of the indicated control measures during construction, no significant air quality impacts from fugitive dust emissions would be expected.

 

                        f.          Noise

 

There would be short-term, construction-related noise impacts from the proposed development.  However, due to the characteristics of the Site, including topography and underlying bedrock material, virtually any type of development on the property would require rock removal.  The Applicant would be required to adhere to all Village policies with regards to noise and blasting and, as a result, it is anticipated that there would not be significant impacts on adjacent uses.

 

            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 summarized below.

 

                        1.         No Action

 

            Under the No Action alternative, there would be no amendments to the Zoning Code, current conditions at the Site would be unchanged, and the existing 247 bed nursing home would remain.  The Applicant would not achieve its objective of expanding the existing facility and establishing a CCRC on the Site.

 

            Under this alternative, the various benefits to the Village associated with the proposal discussed above would not be realized.  These benefits include:

 

·        providing increased housing for the elderly to meet increasing demand in Westchester County, including the Village;

·        potentially increased diversity of Hastings’ population with the increase in elderly residents associated with the larger CCRC;

·        preservation of the meadow area through a conservation easement;

·        provision of a trailway through the Site;

·        implementation of a 100-foot buffer area, and the removal of the existing staff residence building currently within that buffer zone;

·        increased landscaping that would enhance certain existing views of the Site;

·        payment to the Village of a one-time development fee; and

·        PILOT payments to the Village and School District that would not be made if the current facility continued to operate on the Site.

 

On the other hand, those adverse impacts associated with the proposal discussed above would not occur either.  These impacts include:

 

·        increased buildings and building mass;

·        loss of open space and trees;

·        impacts on some viewsheds;

·        increase in density of units and persons per acre;

·        some increase in traffic; and

·        overall impacts on neighborhood character.

 

In the event the CCRC were not developed, the Applicant would presumably continue to operate the existing nursing home.  The Applicant represented in the DEIS that, under the No Action alternative, it would begin again to actively recruit new Medicaid, Medicare and private-pay residents, which might prove difficult given the competition of larger and more amenity-rich retirement communities currently contemplated or available in the region.  Andrus might also begin to market its beds -- which are all licensed for skilled nursing -- to discharge planners at local hospitals, as well as other social and elder service agencies, for direct admission, likely funded by Medicare and Medicaid.

 

There would be an increased potential under this alternative, however, for the Applicant to ultimately determine to take action to make the Site available for alternative development.  Single-family residential development could occur over the entire Site under the existing zoning.  This would require, however, that the existing facility be demolished.  As discussed further below, the Applicant has asserted that the costs associated with demolition of the existing main building and associated structures make this option infeasible.  In the alternative, a development proposal could seek a zoning change or a variance to permit use of the existing facility for multi-family housing, and/or develop other portions of the Site for single-family residential use.  These alternatives are discussed below.

 

                        2.         Use of Alternative Zoning Provisions

 

                                    a.         Establishment of a New Zoning District for CCRCs

 

            Establishment of a new floating zoning district for CCRCs was the proposal originally forwarded by the Applicant and evaluated in the DEIS.  This proposal was replaced by the proposal for amendments to the R-20 zoning classification, because it was perceived as having negative ramifications that outweighed the potential benefits.

 

            This alternative would have the potential for Village-wide impacts because it would make several of the existing large open tracts amenable to more intensive development.  The benefits of such a scheme would include the possibility for additional housing opportunities for seniors, and perhaps for the development of affordable housing.

 

            The drawbacks include the potential for:

 

·        additional burdens on municipal services, without any assurance of PILOTs;

·        impacts on open space and on the community character of neighborhoods with existing large open tracts; and

·        increases in traffic in other portions of the Village.

 

                                    b.         Use of Existing Special Use Permit Provisions

 

            Two different use categories requiring special use permits in R-20 districts, each potentially applicable to the proposed use, are presently contained in the Hastings Zoning Code.  Section 295-67(B)(3) allows convalescent homes, homes for the aged, and nursing homes providing general medical care (which is not defined), on parcels which:  (1) are at least 20 acres in size; (2) possess 1500 feet of frontage on a State Highway; (3) provide convenient access to a major or collector road; (4) have building and structure coverage no greater than 15%; (5) have total impervious lot coverage no greater than 40%; (6) possess yards of 40 feet, but with no side or rear yards less than one-and-a-half times the height of the nearest building wall; and (7) generally have no parking or loading within any required yard or within 20 feet of an adjoining property.

 

            Section 295-67(B)(4) allows convalescent homes, homes for the aged, and nursing homes not providing general medical care, on parcels which:  (1) are at least 5 acres in size; (2) possess yards of 75 feet; (3) provide for a density of no more than 5 patients per acre of land; (4) provide convenient access to a major or collector road; (5) have building and structure coverage no greater than 15%; (6) have total impervious lot coverage no greater than 40%; and (7) generally have no parking or loading within any required yard or within 20 feet of an adjoining property.

 

            It is arguable whether either of these provisions would permit the development of the proposed CCRC.  The terms “convalescent home,” “home for the aged,” and “nursing home” are not generally used to describe a modern facility such as a CCRC, which consists of a combination of independent and assisted living units accompanied by a skilled nursing facility.  Further, none of these terms is used any longer by the State of New York in its levels of licensing, but have been replaced by terms such as “enriched housing,” “adult home,” and “assistive living.”

 

              In any event, neither provision is a good fit for the development of a CCRC from a planning perspective.  With respect to Section 295-67(B)(3), it is unclear whether the proposed use would be considered to provide “general medical care” in the skilled nursing portion of the facility.  As noted, that term is not defined in the Zoning Code, but arguably applies to a broader range of medical services than those that would be offered at the facility.

 

            With respect to Section 295-67(B)(4), the existing facility, at about 10 patients per acre, already exceeds the permitted density of 5 patients per acre.  On the Site, that density requirement translates into a total of about 100 patients.  The proposed CCRC would increase the population to an expected 350 individuals, far in excess of that permitted under Section 295-67(B)(4).

 

            Finally, this is a significant proposal for a large parcel in the Village.  Special use permit applications are made to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which generally is concerned with a relatively narrow set of standards.  The proposed zoning amendments and consequential large-scale proposal are more appropriately considered from the viewpoint of Village-wide planning, an area of concern generally within the purview of the Planning Board and Board of Trustees.

 

                                    c.         Use of Existing Variance Provisions

 

            An alternative to seeking a special use permit would be to apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance from strict compliance with some of the provisions of Sections 295-67(B)(3) and (4).

 

            The standard for an area variance, i.e., a variance related to the otherwise impermissible dimensional aspects of the proposal, is a balancing test:  does the benefit to the applicant outweigh the detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood or community?  This is a difficult standard to meet, and it is considered unlikely that the Applicant would be granted an area variance, particularly in light of the impacts to open space, community character, and visual resources addressed in Section IV.B (Community Character, Visual Resources and Open Space), above.

 

            The standard for a use variance, i.e., a variance allowing an otherwise impermissible use, is notoriously difficult to meet.  Under this standard, the Zoning Board of Appeals considers such questions as whether the applicant cannot otherwise realize a reasonable return on the property, whether the variance will alter the essential character of the community, and whether any hardship on the applicant’s part is self-created.  It is considered extremely unlikely that the Applicant would be able to meet this standard.  First, the question of the ability of the Applicant to realize a reasonable return is complicated by the fact that it is a not-for-profit entity, and because of the operation of the existing facility on the Site.  Second, as addressed above, it is considered that the proposed CCRC would have impacts on community character, though whether those impacts are sufficient to alter the essential character of the community is an open question.  Finally, the operation of the existing facility would likely affect the issue of self-created hardship.

 

            Finally, as in the case of the special use provisions, this proposal is not appropriately considered under the variance provisions, but is better considered by the Planning Board and Board of Trustees in the context of broad Village planning.

 


                        3.         Alternative Uses of Site Under Existing Zoning

 

                                    a.         Not-for-Profit Institutional Uses

 

            Several not-for-profit institutional uses are permitted in R-20 districts under the Hastings Zoning Code.  These uses include:  (i) libraries and museums; (ii) philanthropic and eleemosynary institutions; (iii) hospitals; and (iv) convalescent homes, homes for the aged, and nursing homes.  The last of these includes, of course, the existing use, but for the reasons discussed above, arguably would not include the proposed use.

 

With respect to the remaining uses, development of a philanthropic or eleemosynary institution is considered the most likely alternative use of the Site.  Development of a library or museum is considered untenable because, given the costs of conversion and rehabilitation of existing buildings, it is unlikely that a sufficient scale of activity could be generated to make the alternative financially feasible.  Development of a hospital is considered unlikely given the extensive rehabilitation costs required to meet current standards for operation of a hospital.

 

            The beneficial impacts of the philanthropic or eleemosynary institution alternative include the following:

 

·        the open space character of the Site would remain intact;

·        visual quality would remain relatively unaffected; and

·        the Site would retain consistency with existing neighboring uses.

 

The adverse impacts include:

 

·        some site disturbance for expansion and improvements to the existing facility;

·        significantly increased traffic and concomitant noise due to the office nature of the use, which would in turn have potentially significant adverse impacts on roadways and safety, as well as on neighborhood character; and

·        no PILOTs to the Village or School District.

 

                                    b.         Single-Family Residential Development

 

            As discussed in Section IV.A (Land Use and Zoning), above, applying relevant zoning and subdivision standards to the Site (calculated at 24.44 acres, including the 1.05 acre parcel housing the Helen Benedict House), the Applicant calculated a potential lot count if the Site were developed as single-family housing of 33 homes.  This alternative would involve developing essentially all of the Site, thereby eliminating existing open space components.  Development of the Site as single-family residences would also result in a loss of the Applicant’s tax-exempt status.

 

This alternative is considered by the Applicant to be economically infeasible, however, due to the costs associated with the required demolition of the existing facility and associated structures.  The Applicant’s estimate of the cost of removing the existing main building is approximately $1.63 million.  This cost would be added to other development costs, including those related to removing other existing structures.

 

The beneficial impacts of this alternative include:

 

·        consistency of use with neighboring residential areas; and

·        generation of at least $110,000 in taxes for the Village and $308,000 in taxes for the School District, which represents, in the aggregate, an increase over the proposed PILOTs.

 

The adverse impacts include:

 

·        disturbance of over 10 additional acres of the Site, unless clustering was employed (under current zoning, clustering could not be mandated);

·        diminishment of the open space character of the Site;

·        no increase in housing for the elderly;

·        increase in school-age children with concomitant impacts on schools; and

·        increase in demand for municipal services.

 

                                    c.         Multi-Family Residential Development

 

            Because the existing facility has been specifically designed to serve an elderly and infirm population, the units would not generally be suitable for marketing as conventional multi-family dwellings.  They are small, some of the non-ILU units do not contain full kitchens, and they contain accessibility features that are irrelevant to typical younger residents.  Further, because multi-family housing is not permitted in R-20 districts, this alternative would necessitate the granting by the Zoning Board of Appeals of a use variance to reuse and substantially modify the existing main facility for use as multi-family housing units, or a rezoning of the property.

 

            Accordingly, the Applicant has treated this alternative as a “worst case scenario,” which would only be employed in the event the proposed project failed.  The Applicant considers the failure of the CCRC highly unlikely given New York State’s comprehensive regulatory scheme.  Indeed, there have been no failed CCRCs developed pursuant to Article 46, and any such failed project would be subject to the control of the Continuing Care Retirement Community Council.

 

            In the event of marketing difficulties, the CCRC could continue to operate at less than full capacity (i.e., 95%) for a number of years.  Occupancy of 85% is projected to be the breakeven point for the facility.  The CCRC could operate for some years at this level, and could even operate for some time at as low as 70% occupancy.

 

            Ultimately, however, alternative approaches would need to be considered.  One possibility would be to reduce the required minimum age of seniors eligible to reside in the CCRC to 55 years, which, as discussed in Section II above, is permissible under the Fair Housing Act so long as at least 80% of all occupied units are occupied by at least one person at least 55 years old.

 

            In the event that this measure still failed to sufficiently raise the occupancy level of the CCRC, the Applicant would have to seek a use variance or rezoning of the property to permit the modification of at least a portion of the facility for use as multi-family housing.  Conversion to multi-family housing, whether partial or full, would also require certain structural changes to the facility.

 

            If there were a partial conversion of the facility to non-seniors, the principal impact would result from the occupancy by families of the larger units, i.e., those in excess of 1,000 square feet.  Anything smaller than this size might be attractive to singles or couples, but not to families with children.  The Applicant estimates that, based upon an assumption of 70% occupancy of ILUs (the assisted living and skilled nursing units would be assumed to be at full occupancy), a total of 50 units would be available for younger residents, which would generate a population of approximately 67 persons.

 

The beneficial impacts of the partial conversion alternative include:

 

·        reduced demand for medical facilities and ambulance services; and

·        continued tax-exempt status of facility and continued PILOTs to the Village and School District.

 

The adverse impacts include:

 

·        slightly increased demand for police services;

·        slightly increased demand on recreational facilities and programs;

·        addition of approximately six school-age children with concomitant impacts on schools totaling approximately $60,366 (at an average cost of $10,061 per student); and

·        increased traffic and concomitant noise, which would in turn have potentially significant adverse impacts on roadways and safety, as well as on neighborhood character.

 

In the event that these measures were still inadequate to render the facility financially viable, a full conversion to multi-family housing might be required.  Under this scenario, the assisted living and skilled nursing units would be eliminated, as they would not be suitable for standard households.  The Applicant estimates that a full multi-family development would contain approximately 6 studios, 92 one-bedroom units, and 104 two-bedroom units, with an overall increase in population to 492 individuals.  A full conversion of the facility to multi-family housing would result in a loss of the Applicant’s tax-exempt status.

 

The beneficial impacts of the full conversion alternative include:

 

·        consistency of use with neighboring residential areas;

·        reduced demand for medical and ambulance services;

·        possible increased revenue for local businesses;

·        possible increase in diversity of Village population, depending on income levels of residents; and

·        generation of approximately $188,870 in taxes for the Village and $527,100 in taxes for the School District, which represents, in the aggregate, an increase over the proposed PILOTs.

 

The adverse impacts include:

 

·        increased demand for police services;

·        increased demand on recreational facilities and programs;

·        significantly increased need for on-site parking (approximately 94 more spaces than proposed for the CCRC), which would result in a reduction in open space;

·        increased demand for parking at the train station from an increased number of commuters;

·        substantially increased traffic, particularly during AM and PM peak hours, and concomitant noise, which would in turn have potentially significant adverse impacts on roadways and safety, as well as on neighborhood character;

·        no increase in housing for the elderly; and

·        addition of approximately fourteen school-age children with concomitant impacts on schools totaling approximately $140,854 (at an average cost of $10,061 per student).

 

d.         Partial Single-Family Residential Development

 

            Another alternative within the scope of those considered in the EIS would be retention of the existing nursing home, with single-family residential development of the remainder of the Site.  This would avoid the costs associated with demolition of the existing facility, as well as some of the adverse impacts associated with the proposed project, as discussed in connection with the No Action alternative.  Because it would result in the complete development of the Site, this would also be likely to result in some of the adverse impacts (e.g., loss of open space), as well as some of the benefits (e.g., increased tax revenue over current non-payment) associated with development of the entire Site as single-family housing.

 


                        4.         Development of a Smaller CCRC

 

            At the request of the Planning Board, the Applicant performed an analysis of the alternative of developing a smaller CCRC.  Specifically, the Applicant evaluated the financial viability of an approximately 25% reduction in the planned capacity of the proposed project.  Based on the analysis of its consultants, the Applicant determined that a 25% reduction in the number of ILUs in of the CCRC was not financially viable.  The Planning Board then retained PWC to conduct an independent review of the financial viability of the reduced alternative. 

 

PWC identified the key assumptions employed in the analysis by the Applicant’s consultants, such as the inclusion of past and future debt associated with support of “scholarship” residents, the structure and cost of financing, unit size, and the strength of the market.  For certain of these assumptions, PWC assessed their appropriateness; other assumptions, related to the specific operations and costs of the proposed CCRC, were accepted in the PWC report.  Overall, PWC concurred with the conclusion reached by the Applicant’s consultants that a 25% reduction in the number of ILUs in the proposed CCRC was not financially viable.

 

            The reduced alternative analysis was accomplished by eliminating 50 of the ILUs and approximately 61,203 square feet from the overall project.  The 72 skilled nursing beds/enriched housing units were not reduced.  Although generally a reduction in ILUs would generate a reduction in the number of skilled nursing beds/enriched housing units, in this project the initial number of skilled nursing beds/enriched housing units is driven by the need to accommodate current nursing home residents.  Because of this unique situation, the number of such beds/units cannot vary with the number of ILUs.  In addition, according to the Applicant, the skilled nursing beds/enriched housing units have been designed to operate within optimally sized nursing units, such that a slight reduction in beds/units could result in inefficiently sized units and higher operating costs.

 

The reduction in size decreased total project costs from $138.8 million to $118.7 million.  Because the 25% reduction is applied evenly among types of ILUs, the overall estimated population of the ILUs is reduced by approximately 25%.

 

            PWC concluded that the reduced alternative analysis would result in greater operating losses than the proposed project for the following reasons:

 

·        Due to the need to accommodate the existing nursing home residents, the skilled nursing bed/enriched housing unit component of the project cannot be reduced, resulting in a disproportionate reduction in the total costs of developing a 25% smaller ILU community of only $19.8 million, or 14%.

 

·        In order to achieve a 25% reduction in the ILUs, two of the proposed ILU buildings were eliminated.  As all of the common areas for the CCRC are located in the existing main building, none are contained in the ILU buildings.  Therefore, no common space could be eliminated in accordance with the overall reduction in size.  This results in the total square footage of common space per ILU increasing from 1,460 to 1,512, and the blended cost per unit increasing from $507,000 to $532,000.

 

·        The overall reduction in units was accomplished by reducing all ILU types by 25%, because the proposed buildings all contain a representative mix of unit types.  This precluded eliminating particular types of units that might result in lesser blended costs per unit.

 

·        Over time, the 25% reduction in units results in a 25% reduction in revenue.

 

·        A significant portion of the operating expenses, particularly those related to the skilled nursing beds/enriched housing units, are fixed, and do not change as a result of the reduction in the number of ILUs.  In addition, a portion of salary expenses are fixed and do not vary with the size of the project.  Finally, although depreciation and amortization expense is reduced under the reduced alternative, interest expense increases because more of the financing is required to be shifted to a long-term basis at a higher interest rate.  In total, operating expenses in the reduced alternative are only decreased by approximately 6 to 7% percent.

 

·        Operating losses for the reduced alternative increase by over 30% in 2005 and more than double by the end of the ten-year projection as compared to the proposed project.  This is due to the loss in revenue while operating costs remain fixed and higher long-term debt financing.  This reduces the debt service ratio for the reduced alternative to below acceptable levels.

 

Thus, PWC concurred with the Applicant’s consultants that, under the reduced alternative analysis, they could not conclude that sufficient funds could be generated to meet the project’s operating expenses, working capital needs and other financial requirements, including the debt service associated with the proposed bond offering, as required by Article 46.

 

                        5.         Findings and Recommendations

 

            Based on the foregoing, the Planning Board does not believe that any of the assessed alternatives would achieve the fundamental objectives of the Applicant.  With respect to the smaller CCRC alternative assessed in the FEIS, the Planning Board understands that this alternative is not fiscally practicable, based upon the PWC report and the assumptions thereunder.  With respect to the remaining assessed alternatives, the Planning Board does not believe that they would achieve the benefits associated with a CCRC, nor would they comport with the sound planning principles adopted by the Village to any greater extent than would the proposed zoning amendments.

 

V.        Summary of Findings and Recommendations

 

            The Planning Board finds that, with the exception of density and building height, discussed further below, the proposed zoning amendments to permit the development of a CCRC in an R-20 district are generally consistent with the Village comprehensive plan, and would provide considerable benefits to the community.  A CCRC would contribute to the diversity of the Hastings population, and would likely increase the stock of housing for the elderly, without having any significant adverse impacts on community infrastructure or the environment.  In addition, the proposed building coverage, lot coverage and setback provisions would contribute to the Village’s open space and greenspace overlay planning goals.

 

Various aspects of the project proposed by the Applicant consistent with the proposed amendments -- which would be required by the Planning Board at the site plan review stage -- would further advance the goals established in the comprehensive plan.  For example, the conservation easement on the meadow in the northern portion of the Site, removal of an existing building from within the 100-foot buffer zone, the addition to the trailway system, and extensive landscaping would promote the Village’s open space and greenspace goals.

 

Further, the Planning Board believes that the negotiation of a suitable PILOT agreement would ensure that the fiscal benefits to the Village and School District exceed any additional costs attributable to the development.  Similarly, the negotiation of an appropriate financial contribution would advance the Affordable Housing Policy of the Village (as well as that of the County).  As described earlier, however, the Planning Board believes that material improvements in the PILOT agreement and in the affordable housing proposal are necessary.

 

The sole issue with respect to which the Planning Board members were not in concurrence concerns the proposed building height and density limitations.  To address these concerns, the Planning Board is recommending certain changes to the proposed amendments, with which a majority of the members concur.  As addressed in detail in Section IV.B (Community Character, Open Space and Visual Resources), above, and set forth in Exhibit “A”, these changes would (i) increase the minimum setback of structures from all lot lines to two times the height of the point of the structure nearest the lot line, and (ii) impose an FAR requirement to put a cap on the total permissible density of development.

 


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 Planning Board 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 been minimized or avoided to the maximum extent practicable;

 

·        Consistent with the social, economic and other essential considerations, from among the reasonable alternatives hereto, the proposed zoning amendments 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; and

 

·        The proposed zoning amendments, as modified by the additional provisions set forth herein, are consistent with the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson’s comprehensive plan, and the Planning Board therefore recommends, subject to the specific recommendations herein, that the Village Board of Trustees enact the proposed zoning amendments as modified.

 

 

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

 

 

 

            /s/                                                                                            Rhoda Barr                            

Signature of Responsible Officer                                        Name of Responsible Officer

 

 

 

            Chairperson                                                                           May 2, 2001                         

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:         Patricia Speranza

 

Seconded by:             Robert Lee

 

Approved by:              ROLL CALL VOTE

 

ROLL CALL VOTE                                                             AYE                 NAY

 

David Hutson*                                                                                                 X

Robert Lee                                                                               X

William Logan                                                                         X

Patricia Speranza                                                                     X

Abba Tor                                                                                   X

Maurice Wasserman                                                               X

Rhoda Barr                                                                               X                                                      



[1]   The remainder of this Site 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.

[2] 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.

 

[3] The term “height” is used in this Recommendation 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).

[4] 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.

[5] 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.”

[6] Although the Site is not being rezoned, the proposed amendments would allow an increase in residential density of the Site.  Thus, the Planning Board believes the Policy is applicable to the proposed zoning amendments.

 

[7] 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 $286,000.  The cost of the smaller one bedrooms is estimated to range from $291,500 to $467,500.  Accordingly, some of these units might also be affordable through the sale of homes.

 

[8] 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.

[9] 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.

 

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

 

* David Hutson votes nay solely on the ground that a reduction in the maximum building height limitation included in the proposed zoning amendments, from 65 feet and 5 stories to 54 feet and 4 stories (with discretionary authority to increase the maximum height of individual buildings to 65 feet and 5 stories), was not adopted as part of this Recommendation.