Mt. Vernon city officials have revealed an extensive zoning plan for a dilapidated area around the Mt. Vernon West Metro-North station that would bring a mix of uses, including housing and retail, and more ratables for the city’s coffers. We couldn’t be more excited. Here’s why:
As one of Westchester County’s gateway cities, Mt. Vernon is demonstrating “smart growth” with its development of a new, thriving neighborhood with modern infrastructure near a major train line. Transit-oriented development provides residents easy mobility to get to work and leisure destinations, and eases congestion on the streets.
The Mt. Vernon West neighborhood is a key part of a city that deserves modernization, and new residential and retail options. Developers have proposed a $70 million, 20-story tower with 205 housing units and nearly 5,000 square feet of retail space. The rezoning would streamline five current uses for 250 parcels to a special zoning category that is inclusive of current uses. The Draft Environmental Impact Study suggests over 3,000 residential units and 260,000 square feet of retail space could be developed in the new zone, totaling nearly $1 billion of new investment (generating $38 million in new revenues for the city).
There is much to think about when the decision is made to rezone. Some in the community have expressed concern that revitalization efforts could put pressure on low-income residents. Others point to the Thomas Administration’s ambitious social goals that include the re-opening parks and recreational facilities so city youth have safe and productive after-school activities—all of which can be funded with new ratables from the proposed development.