A Town Hall meeting was called by Paul Feiner to discuss the future of Central Avenue on Monday night November 8th. The Town Board, the Planning and Zoning Boards, and the Planning Department were on hand to discuss issues with local realtors and property owners.
The purpose of the meeting was to brainstorm ideas on what Greenburgh could do to fill the vacant storefronts on Central Avenue, which have caused declines in tax revenues and mean less funding for school districts, fire district and town governments.
Approximately 50-60 people attended the meeting that was chaired by Town Supervisor Paul Feiner.
The loss of tax revenue from the vacancies is costing the town approximately $5 million per year. Those who spoke complained that parking restrictions are too stringent and need to be updated. They also reported that White Plains and Yonkers require fewer available spots per the size of the location as determined by the floor area ratio. They stated that the application process for variances need to be coordinated among Village Boards as it is now time consuming and frustrating for applicants.
In discussing the lack of restaurants, distance parameters from the street for fast food establishments along Central Avenue were cited as an obstacle. In addition, since Greenburgh requires a special permit to open a restaurant on Central Avenue, there is a long approval process that may discourage potential tenants.
Even more red tape prevents retailers from opening on sites where there are steep slopes, such as the Dilmaghani property that has been vacant for years. It was suggested that the steep slope ordinance be waived for properties along Central Avenue.
To make the street easier to navigate, some suggested that Central Avenue needs to be more pedestrian friendly and proposed the addition of sidewalks to make it easier to walk between retail malls.
In order to attract new businesses, attendees suggested that Greenburgh promote itself to the business community as a place where it is easy to do business. Others discussed the need for the town to balance tax revenues against the rights of residents who reside close to Central Avenue.
A new Comprehensive Plan for the area is in the works and portions of it are available for review on the town website at www.greenburghcomprehensiveplan.com