Development - Too Much Too Fast
Originally published in the Westmore News in February 2022
Letter: Too much too fast
Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 7:08 PM
I am writing about the current planned slate of development in downtown Port Chester. If we back up the camera and look at the totality of the planned developments and their likely impacts, what we have is a total change (for the worse) to the character of our village. A 20-year timeline for development is now compressed into five years. Most of the historic downtown will be demolished and replaced with much taller and larger buildings. Dozens of established local businesses and residents will be displaced and likely never return. As it is, no new development has successfully attracted the new businesses they promised. The Castle was supposed to have retail. It still doesn’t. The Waterfront is a cautionary tale. They made big promises. They received a 20-year PILOT and now that they finally would begin paying full taxes, they are defaulting on their loan and emptying out their retail. Bed Bath & Beyond and Petco are closing. National chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebee’s have closed, leaving empty storefronts all along Westchester Avenue. If we demolish most of Main Street, losing currently established successful local businesses (like Berger Hardware and Coals), what will we have left? Every one of these developers is either receiving or requesting a PILOT, so Port Chester won’t even be increasing its tax revenue for 20 years. We are literally “giving away the store.”
In addition to the toll on businesses, there will be a huge impact on the infrastructure of the village. If all the planned development goes forward, we’ll be adding around 10,000 new residents in five years. That’s a 30% increase in population in a very short timeframe. There are no plans for how that will affect water usage (in fact Suez has already said it cannot provide enough water), sewage, trash removal, policing etc. Firefighters have said that much of this construction is dangerous.
Development that is thoughtful and well planned will be a great benefit to us. What we now have is the exact opposite. This is sloppy, rushed, poorly planned, and financially disadvantageous and takes no account of the long-term health of our community. When you vote in March, keep all of this in mind.