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Westchester zoning request raises real estate zoning and planning issues

On behalf of Steven Waldinger

A stalled real estate development project in Yonkers is raising the ire of the developer, future tenants, a large building union and construction and labor industry leaders in the area. The proposed development is for the construction of three large retail stores and a 400-unit residential building. If the project is approved, it could provide hundreds of permanent jobs in the area as well as hundreds of construction jobs for the years it would take to complete construction.

The alleged hold-up is with the approval of zoning changes needed from the Yonkers and Westchester County planning boards. Proponents of the $115 million development are accusing city and county politicians of dragging their feet because of pending elections in November. Area residents opposing the project are expressing concerns about the negative impact the development may have on the community.

Zoning actions in Westchester County

According to laws in New York and Westchester County, the Westchester County Planning Board must review certain municipal planning and zoning actions. Such actions may include requests for approval of certain:

  • Zoning variances
  • Special use permits
  • Site plans for developments
  • Subdivision plans
  • Comprehensive plans

The Planning Board reviews each referral from a municipality for issues such as:

  • Density of the proposed development
  • Impact on the surroundings, including visual impacts
  • Effect on local water quality
  • Meeting housing or development needs of the community
  • Compliance with comprehensive plans for the relevant municipality

Not all requests for zoning changes need the approval of a planning commission or board, however. For example, if a homeowner adjacent to a county park wishes to decrease their front yard setback, the commission need only be notified of the request by the municipality.

Pursuing zoning changes

Each municipality usually has its own planning board as well and applies its own set of rules and regulations. Often, individuals or companies hire a real estate lawyer to assist them with such issues as:

  • Appearances before zoning and planning commissions
  • Obtaining approvals for real estate development plans
  • Preparing requests for zoning, land use and real estate changes

If you have a zoning question or wish to submit a request for a change or approval concerning a real estate matter, consult an experienced zoning and planning lawyer who can help you through the request process. An attorney experienced with real estate matters in New York can also help you with an appeal of a planning commission or municipality decision.