Board of Review denies seven of eight variances needed for Conifer’s Hunts Place project

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
by Christine Yeres

In a 4-0 vote today, the state’s Regional Board of Review denied seven of the eight building and fire code variances requested by Conifer for its affordable housing proposal of 28 units in four stories built from edge to edge of the one-third of an acre at Hunts Place.  [See a statement from Supervisor Rob Greenstein in “Read more”.]

Since the Town Board approved the special permit for the project last September, Building Inspector Bill Maskiell has maintained that the building, as designed, would need variances from the state’s fire safety code to go forward. Conifer contended that its design met safety codes and appealed Maskiell’s determination to the Board of Review.  Today that board both upheld New Castle Building Inspector Bill Maskiell’s determination that variances were indeed required and also denied seven of the eight variances Conifer needed.

During the controversy over the variances last fall, Norma Drummond, Deputy Commissioner of Planning for the Westchester County stated that should the variances be denied, Conifer had indicated that it would present an acceptable alternative proposal.

Supervisor Greenstein commented by email:  “The Board of Review’s decision today simply confirms that Conifer has not adequately addressed the fire safety issues associated with this project site.  Today’s decision had nothing to do with building affordable housing, which remains a priority for the Town.  The Town has approved the construction of 20 affordable housing units at Chappaqua Crossing.  We welcome the development of affordable housing in our community.

“It’s important to remember that last year, the Town Board granted Conifer’s application for a Special Use Permit for this project.  However, that Special Use Permit contained a number of conditions, including the need to obtain fire and building code variances.  Conifer accepted those conditions and proceeded to apply for the variances it needed.  The Board of Review is now telling Conifer that it has more work to do.”

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