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  • Mamaroneck Observer

Flooding? Affordable Housing? Both?

By Kathy Savolt -


The top three priorities identified in the Comprehensive Plan adopted in September are Flood Mitigation, Pedestrian Safety and Affordable Housing. The question now is how to juggle these priorities given the real life limitations of time and money.


As the Board of Trustees (BOT) attempts to move quickly on affordable housing and less quickly on the major pieces of flood mitigation (because of the involvement of multiple other parties), supporters of both issues tried to persuade the BOT that they can only do one or the other, or, perhaps, both at the same time citing staff time and the day-to-day Village operations.


With a standing room only crowd, Deputy Mayor Lou Young opened the Invitation to Address the Board segment of the meeting and two dozen individuals stepped forward to speak, with a handful speaking more than once. With most of these speakers focused passionately on the two priorities, almost everyone agreed that flooding and affordable housing were both important. The respectful disagreement came when the speakers were trying to figure out if and how the Village could do both simultaneously, along with the basic tasks of Village business.


Here is the latest on each of the two issues.


Flood Mitigation

Besides the updates on the ACE project and the Waverly Avenue Bridge situation (see separate articles), the BOT voted to spend $23,750 on an engineering study regarding creating a flood bench along the Sheldrake River. A flood bench is an undeveloped piece of land that’s kept vacant to receive flood waters.


This study augments and compliments one completed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and will help identify ways to increase flood resiliency along the Sheldrake.


Deputy Village Manager Sarnoff also reported that the DEC is working on an analysis of the Beaver Swamp Brook, and he expects the report to be released by the end of the year. The Village will then be able to submit a grant application to New York State to analyze the cost and feasibility of getting grant funding.


The BOT also indicated agreement on hiring a Flood Coordinator and discussed a process for advocacy for the Village for flood-related grant funding.


Affordable Housing

The Village received two vastly different proposals in response to the August Request for Proposals (RFP). One is from Westhab/Washingtonville Housing Alliance (see HERE) and the other is from Luna Collective, LLC (see HERE). The Westhab proposal is for 77 units on just the Hunter Tier site while the Luna proposal includes an adjacent site on Palmer Avenue and is for 187 units.


Several residents mentioned density and the need to replace the current number of public parking spaces (neither proposal provides for the current 200 spaces).


Both proposers will present their projects to the BOT. Westhab will appear at 5 pm on November 15th and Luna will present on November 21st also at 5 pm.


The Village did not describe the selection process but has shared a “scoring sheet.” The Village Manager mentioned that they may include members of the Mamaroneck Coalition for Affordable Housing in an advisory capacity. It should be noted that the Washingtonville Housing Alliance, a project proposer, is a member of that Coalition. Public comments will not be accepted at the meeting, but residents can submit questions, concerns and/or comments to the BOT at MayorandBoard@vomny.org.


Regarding the capacity of the Village, Deputy Mayor Young asked the Village Manager for an update on the new boat storage business proposed during the budget process. The Village Manager included $100,000 in revenue for this initiative in the current budget. Since the Village did not start to implement this program in a timely fashion, they currently have only 6 boat owners signed up for storage at Harbor Island. There was no discussion about how much revenue that will bring and how the larger revenue shortfall will be covered.


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