POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – The Pound Ridge Town Board has taken a step closer to adopting a zoning ordinance that will help it comply with the 2009 agreement the county reached with the Department of Housing and Urban Development over fair and affordable housing .
A lawsuit by a nonprofit group, the Anti-Discrimination Center, led to the county's 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 multifamily homes.
The Pound Ridge Town Board has sent the Fair & Affordable Housing Model Zoning Ordinance, an ordinance spelled out by the lawsuit, to the Planning Board, which will then refer it to the town’s planning consultant to make sure it does not subvert environmental requirements within the town, among other issues.
“We don’t have to follow [the ordinance] exactly,” said Town Board member Dick Lyman, noting that it was more of a template. “We’ve given it to the Planning Board for additional review, but we don’t anticipate any drastic changes from the original.”
After the Planning Board and consultants have reviewed the ordinance, the Town Board will hold a public hearing before adopting the final wording. Lyman said the public hearing will likely be held in March.
Pound Ridge already has one affordable housing development, A-Home on Westchester Avenue on the outskirts of Scotts Corners – but Lyman said it doesn’t count toward the lawsuit’s requirement because it was built before the settlement.
The town does have a provision in its zoning ordinance providing for increased density for a development for senior (age restricted) housing on 20 acres or more, known as a senior floating zone.
“But we can’t use age-related criteria, so we will have to tweak that” to meet the settlement requirements, which are based on income, not age," Lyman said.
Lyman said that between converting the senior floating zone and adopting the model zoning ordinance, Pound Ridge should meet all of the lawsuit’s requirements.