NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- When the City Council approved New Rochelle’s downtown plan in December 2015, there were a few loose ends that still needed a little more attention. Although small in number, some of them were pretty important.
The city’s development staff presented to the council a comprehensive package of legislation aimed at getting these loose ends tied up. Here’s a quick run-down:
Architectural Review: To ensure that new downtown construction meets the highest architectural standards, the city’s existing process will be beefed up with architectural peer review. Charging a slightly higher fee to developers will permit us to engage a wider range of architects for a more extended period.
Parking Strategy: To get the balance right, the city will move away from a one-size-fits-all approach and focus on customized parking plans; developers will be able to buy-down a percentage of their normal on-site parking obligations, provided that they have sensible alternatives, like zip cars or shared parking.
Affordable Housing: The city already requires 10 percent of new housing units to be affordable. To help ensure that developers have a real economic incentive to construct the optimal form of housing, the city will significantly increase the affordable housing buy-out fee, which will range from $90,000 for studio apartments up to $200,000 for three-bedrooms.
Green Building Design: The city will use a widely accepted LEED checklist, with credit given to projects that attain the equivalent of LEED Gold or Platinum status.
Opportunity and Equity: The city will engage a not-for-profit partner to establish a First Source Referral Center — essentially a user-friendly pipeline to training and employment and update the city’s non-discrimination policies with enforceable standards to encourage fair, local hiring. Finally, they will establish a relocation assistance program to help residents or businesses that might be displaced by development.
These various efforts were led by Council Member Jared Rice and guided by a national-caliber expert retained by the city.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.