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Pound Ridge Daily Voice serves Pound Ridge, NY
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Pound Ridge Confronts Fair and Affordable Housing Issue

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – The Pound Ridge Town Board is currently working on changes to its zoning ordinance that will help it comply with the 2009 agreement the county reached with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) over fair and affordable housing .

A lawsuit by a nonprofit group, the Anti-Discrimination Center, led to the county agreeing to build 750 units of affordable housing in 31 communities within seven years and to market those homes to minorities. The agreement also stipulated that it was the county’s responsibility to make sure that its towns end exclusionary zoning practices by altering rules that would discourage the construction of apartments and other multi-family homes.

Pound Ridge Supervisor Gary Warshauer said the town board is currently discussing a final draft version of the model housing ordinance, a county-drafted ordinance that the town needs to emulate in order to further affordable housing within the community.

“We have to, from a zoning standpoint, make sure there is room for multi-family housing in the town,” Warshauer said. “(The housing) has to be marketed in a way that meets requirements of the settlement. But from the town’s standpoint, we don’t have to build the houses, we just have to make sure there are no impediments in our regulations that would prevent developers from building these homes.”

Warshauer said the board wouldn’t have to make any sweeping changes to comply with the county’s edicts.

“Our zoning code already allows multi-family housing zoning in the business district,” Warshauer said. “We have Scott’s Ridge, the 12-unit multi-family project built by A-Home a few years ago. That’s the kind of thing that meets the requirement.”

Warshauer also noted that the town’s zoning laws, under a special permit provision, has a senior multi-family zone that addresses properties over 20 acres.

“It’s been on the books for a long time and allows some attached housing,” Warshauer said. “But that’s senior housing, so we are looking to make modifications (to that ordinance) to make it comply with the settlement.”

The supervisor also said that one of the major obstacles that the town faces in paving the way for affordable housing is Pound Ridge’s limited infrastructure. He noted the town’s lack of sewers and the fact that it is located in three different watersheds as examples.

Still, he said, he felt the town would be able to comply with the county with “no major adjustments to our zoning.”

Warshauer said the town board will discuss the issue further at its work sessions before it is brought up formally at a regular board meeting in the next few months.

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