First Mixed Use Development Under Newly Amended Code Presented to Stony Point Planning Board; Monte Plaza to Undergo Major Facelift

BY CHERYL SLAVIN

Real estate developer FDV Realty Corp presented its application last Thursday night at the Stony Point Planning Board to redevelop Monte Plaza as a mixed commercial/residential building just three weeks after the enactment of a Zoning Code provision permitting such use. This project would be the first of its kind under the newly amended Code.

“This is the perfect project for the first mixed use development,” David Zigler, representing the developer, asserted. “It’s in the right location, it’s the right size and it easily lends itself to conversion.”

The proposed redevelopment would involve raising the roof of the current building at 48 So. Liberty Drive to allow for a second story and adding five residential one bedroom units of 800 square feet each, the minimum size requirement under the new code provision. The estimated total area available for housing at the site would be 4,700 square feet, including the footage necessary for construction of access stairs and ramps.

The plan also calls for at least 30 parking spaces, sufficient to meet the code requirement of two spaces per unit, and still provide enough parking for the commercial tenants. The building is currently home to five offices which, according to its real estate listing as of August 13, includes a doctors’ office, a real estate company and an insurance firm. The proposed redevelopment would keep the number of commercial tenants at five, but might include retail businesses as well.

The new Code provision, sec. 215.92.2, was enacted on October 8 along with all other zoning law changes made in accordance with the newly approved Master Plan. This section now allows for the construction of residential mixed use buildings within a BU (business) zoning district. The Stony Point Town Board had approved this code change as part of its larger vision to develop an economically and socially thriving Stony Point town center.

As this was only a first informal discussion, the owners did not yet have a fully developed site plan or architect’s rendering. Several variables still needed to be worked out, including how to apportion the space so that every unit had a full 800 square feet, how to design adequate ingress and egress from the apartments, how to accommodate handicapped tenants, and how to configure the 1,000 square feet of outdoor recreational space required by the code. The Board also discussed other concerns such as what type of physical barriers would be needed to provide privacy and protection from neighboring businesses and homes.

Overall the Board supported the project and agreed to send the application to the ARB in November, in order to move the process along expeditiously. Chairman Thomas Gubitosa stated that he would attempt to include the ARB in the site visit on November 2, and later confirmed to the Rockland County Times that he expects members of the ARB to attend. This way the developer and the board would already have the ARB’s input by the next board meeting in December.

In other business, the board held a public hearing on an amended site plan for the ongoing Hudson River View Industrial Park development. The amendment called for the addition of a total of 10,000 square feet to Building A and another 10,000 square feet to Building B. This would require the removal of some gravel covered areas previously used for storage by tenant Good Luck Auto. It would not require reduction of any parking areas, although with the decrease in storage Good Luck Auto would probably use more of the parking to lodge cars. However, as explained by David Zigler representing the developer, the plan still contained adequate provision for parking as previously set out in phases one and two, and therefore the impact of the expanded buildings would be minimal.

Zigler also asked the board to override the comments of the Rockland County Planning Department. The county was concerned about the safety of the CSX grade crossing on one of the access roads, as well as the safety of the other access road though the underpass. Zigler pointed out that these concerns had already been addressed numerous times by the Planning Board and the developer, and that adequate safety measures are either planned or already in place. The board agreed, and found additionally that there would be no negative impact of the amended plan on the environment, including wetlands and parkland bordering the site. Accordingly, the public hearing was closed, and the board approved the site plan amendment.