In a town board work session May 14, members met with architect Max Parangi and developer Paul Dedvukaj to discuss a proposed plan to combine two separately owned lots on E. Hartsdale Avenue and Wilson Street to build a six-story residential building.
The proposed 50-unit residential building would be spread across two lots, one, which currently has a residential home, and another, which has an auto service shop.
“We always looked at this project from the onset as an anchor for the Four Corners, and we still perceive it that way,” said Parangi, who has been an architect in Westchester for 27 years. “It could generate the movement we need for the Four Corners [revitalization] too.”
Although this proposed development is an outlier among the proposed developments within the Four Corners revitalization project, the developer and architect will still be meeting with the Four Corners Committee, according to Garrett Duquesne, Commissioner of Community Development and Conservation.
Among the concerns brought by the board to Parangi and Dedvukaj, three main issues pushed to the forefront: parking, traffic and stormwater management.
“I understand what’s in the code, what I’m saying is I don’t know if that’s reality,” said Diana Juettner about the proposed amount of parking spaces for residents of the building. “Especially with the density that’s on East Hartsdale Avenue and the troubles people have in trying to park right now — adding more, I really don’t know if that’s going to solve the problem.”
The architect has allocated two levels of underground parking for the residential building which will include 73 parking spots. This accounts for one spot per studio apartment, 1.25 per a one-bedroom apartment, and 1.5 per two-bedroom apartment.
“One thing that was imperative under this scheme was to provide adequate parking on the site,” said Parangi. “At the end of the day this is also a business development, so we feel that we followed the code and we went above and beyond.”
The possibility of adding a third level of parking was discussed, which Hartsdale residents could use to deal with the existing crowded parking situation on East Hartsdale Avenue. Dedvukaj said that he would consider the proposal.
Ken Jones recommended that Parangi reach out to the Hartsdale Public Parking District.
Town Supervisor Paul Feiner further suggested that looking at nearby apartments to see how many parking spaces are allocated at each site could be a good way to reason how many would be needed for the proposed building.
“I do think it would be helpful and I feel like I can get that information,” said Duquesne in response to Feiner’s suggestion.
In regard to stormwater management, Parangi assured the board that his conceptual design would decrease the amount of impervious surfaces, and that there would be proper stormwater management for the parking garages to mitigate potential flooding.
“We have a significant issue with stormwater which is going to affect the corners,” town board member Francis Sheehan said. “You are going to be affected by that [and] contribute to that.”
Sheehan further asserted that a larger study would need to be done by the developer and architect to determine whether the pipes at the Four Corners would be able to handle the capacity for stormwater.
Duquesne confirmed that the applicant would need to conduct independent traffic and stormwater analyses and studies.
The parking garages exit onto E. Hartsdale Avenue, which could increase traffic flow on the already busy street.
“I just envision you’re going to get some comments from the people on East Hartsdale Avenue as to how you figure that’s going to work when the 8 o’clock train is coming in,” said Sheehan.
Parangi said he thought about putting the parking garage entrance and exit on Wilson, but since other buildings also exit and enter on E. Hartsdale, it would be sufficient.
Wilson Street is a common drop-off point for students who attend Sacred Heart School, making an entrance and exit onto the street problematic, according to Sheehan.
“This is really a test to see if the community will embrace a Four Corners upgrade,” said Feiner. “The reaction we have for this project is going to almost help us determine whether or not people really want to see the Four Corners upgraded.”