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The candidate's positions on development in Port Chester

Here are candidate statements pulled from interviews with the Westmore News, answers to questions submitted by the Port Chester Historical Society, and their own websites. We think you will understand why their views most closely align with our goal of taking a step back from the speed and scale of development. We want development to benefit all of Port Chester.


From her website:

Some of the concerns I’ve heard from residents is that they are worried about the pace of development and towering buildings overshadowing the homes and businesses around it and losing the charm of the village. We need to ensure that the BoT has final say on development projects over a certain size.

Severe budget cuts have decimated our Planning, Buildings and Code Departments. We cannot develop at our current pace without having a plan as to how these departments will be adequately staffed. These directly impact quality of life in the village. As a matter of fact, I think we need a moratorium on all development until the village understands all the impacts that new projects will have on infrastructure, traffic, taxes and housing.

From her answers to the Historical Society:

With support, the BOT can create a policy to require historic preservation be included as a prerequisite or as a condition to developers receiving payment in lieu of taxes in order to develop land which would require demolition of existing property. A closer adherence to recommendations from SHPO, could go a long way to retaining those buildings with historic relevance. Reconstituting the Architectural Review Board and seeking their input could be another check. We know that just because a building has historical relevance doesn't mean that it is in a condition to retain it. Unfortunately, many of the buildings, particularly in the downtown character district, have not been maintained. Gaining the insight of SHPO, ARB, and perhaps outside consultants would provide a comprehensive review of the viability of retaining some of these buildings. When the village begins to support these approaches, developers will come to understand how important this is to the village and will prepare their own plans accordingly. But over the years, the village hasn't shown much respect for historical preservation and developers know that.

From her interview with the Westmore News:

Incumbent Democrat Joan Grangenois-Thomas was the only member of the village board who voted against the form-based code when it was adopted in May 2020.

“From my perch we need to look at the financial health as well as the broader community health in this issue,” she said.

When she learned that Rhinebeck, “which is not nearly as complicated as Port Chester,” took seven years to consider a form-based code and had 200 community meetings, Port Chester’s three years and 45 community meetings “doesn’t seem nearly enough.”

“We know there are concerns about infrastructure and parking,” Grangenois-Thomas added. “Main Street is a 2-way street since forever since it was a dirt road. Yet we are building how many units just along Main Street alone. Traffic now on Main Street is insane.”

Grangenois-Thomas also finds fault with the architectural aspects of the developments that have been proposed and approved. “There is a thing called architectural detail that for me is missing on all these buildings,” she said. “They are bland, they are boring. Create a façade that looks like a town. We are getting flat buildings that have no resemblance to what was on Main Street.”


From his website:

I’m running for Port Chester Village Trustee in order to preserve the community’s character that my family fell in love with six and a half years ago when we moved to Port Chester. Port Chester has a unique and vibrant community character, rich in cultural diversity, vibrant arts and a lively downtown business district. Since moving here, my second daughter was born and both my kids are thriving in the Port Chester Public Schools, Girl Scouts, soccer and the myriad other activities and experiences available to the families of Port Chester. The people of Port Chester want to maintain the friendly, small-town character of Port Chester, even as our downtown is revitalized with new development. As a Trustee, I would work with the Village Board and the various boards and committees to ensure that downtown development is done in a responsible and sustainable manner, benefitting our tax base, while maintaining the general character and diversity that make Port Chester unique

From his answers to the Historical Society:

While there are buildings of historic merit that have deteriorated beyond where they could be rehabilitated and repurposed, facades could be maintained or replicated to maintain some of the outward appearance and character of buildings replaced by modern construction. I would work to foster collaboration between the Historic Preservation Board and the IDA, to provide incentives to developers to maintain historical features in new development. I would also like to revise the "glazing" and "voiding" requirements in the new zoning code, which require incredible amounts of plate glass windows, out of character with our charming, historical Main Street. To the extent that historical facades cannot be preserved, the Village should encourage and incentivize developers to plan stylistic elements that evoke the history of the removed buildings.

From his interview with the Westmore News:

Democrat John Allen understands that the idea of the code is to keep the character of neighborhoods and concentrate on the form of buildings. However, he said, “people are dissatisfied with the building heights that are allowed in our downtown: 12 and 15 stories. Even Tarry Lighthouse at six stories…The code contemplated larger buildings than the people are comfortable with.”

“We need to take a look at the code, look at the defects,” he said. While he looks forward to Abendroth Avenue being activated, he thinks development “should be in character with what is there.”


From his letter announcing his candidacy:

I know what it is like to live, work and raise a family here in Port Chester. I have seen the landscape of our village change. The old buildings that housed the stores we all shopped in when we were younger are disappearing. New development is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to make our village unrecognizable.

From his answers to the Historical Society:

The answer to this question is simple. I would DEMAND the preservation of the look and feel of a small-town Main Street. This must be incorporated into any and all new developments. This is something that I am adamant about. Again growing up here I remember what Main Street was like in the 70’s & 80’s. My brothers and family go back further than that. I would like to see all new storefronts have their own individual appeal. No block-long strip mall-type storefronts. The architectural integrity of our past must be kept. I do not expect a mirror image of Main Street 1948, but I would oppose any development designs that are not based off the look and feel of our past. We can move forward while embracing the past.

From his interview with the Westmore News:

According to Democrat Phil Dorazio, “the form-based code is kind of an evolving entity.”

Also, as an individual in the construction business whose first language is English, he finds it unreadable. “I read the whole thing and after 300 pages you just want to explode and are finding things that are wrong.”

“The possibility of a 12-story building next to Summerfield Church, what is the benefit of that? I find this personal,” he lamented. “It seems it wasn’t thought through.”

“Why don’t we stop the whole thing, go through it again?” he suggested. “Or are we going to do it piecemeal and in three years we’ll be saying the same thing?”

He agrees with Allen that “these high buildings do not fit in.”

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