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Briarcliff Close To Approving Affordable Housing

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Briarcliff Manor officials are hoping they will be ahead of the curve on affordable housing, while Ossining officials say they are close on several new projects.

Briarcliff Manor Village Manager Philip Zegarelli said the Board of Trustees is expected to complete a deal on affordable housing development in the area of 445 N. State Road. The Westchester County Board of Legislators authorized the purchase, signed an agreement with the village and authorized $1.5 million to purchase the property in March. The property is set for 14 two-bedroom units of affordable housing for eligible families with incomes below 80 percent of the county’s median income.

“We’ve done this on an affirmative basis,” Zegarelli said. “We were not asked or told we had to do this. We know that eventually, whether it is a levy or something else, that it may come to us. This is picking the low-hanging fruit.”

The Planning Board reapproved the project this month, Zegarelli said, and the village board is scheduled to do so within the next two months.

“We are reviewing the contract and the (agreement with the county), and I hope to have a refined version of it to share with the board on Tuesday during the work session,” Zegarelli said. “Do I think it could be on the board’s agenda for Aug. 1? Probably. We’re hoping to get it all done before Labor Day.”

Zegarelli added that there has been no word from the county on whether further projects will be needed to fulfill affordable housing requirements. He said he expects the North State Road project to be complete in about 18 months.

Zegarelli noted in March that the village does not own the property, but a private owner previously requested that the property be considered for affordable housing.

“This thing has been going on for a while, and it was a sincere effort on everyone’s part to get this done,” he said in March. “To us, this is a great use of the property and is in keeping with the layout of that part of the village. Grand slam to me.”

County Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), who helped pass the legislation as chair of the Board of Legislators’ Government Operations Committee, said in March that she was happy to see all municipalities involved moving forward.

“I think this is going to be great for Briarcliff and the Town of Ossining,” Borgia said in March. “I think it’s going to be excellent actually for everyone, because it will bring people into the downtowns. And it provides homeownership for people who we want to have in our community.”

Village of Ossining officials have said they have been informed by the county that the village already exceeds requirements for affordable housing being discussed by the county legislature and won’t need to develop additional projects if legislation is passed.

Ossining Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly said she has received word that the town is expected to add four new affordable housing units.

"We have a couple of projects coming down the pike, and we're scheduled to meet with the county to talk about those potential projects in the next month or two," Donnelly said. "Everybody that goes through our Planning Board also understands that there needs to be affordable housing beyond those four more units we need."

Donnelly later said she expects to hear an announcement that the new projects are in the Planning Board stage within the next few months.

"We've been working diligently on this, but we haven't been told of a deadline, just that we need four more units," she said. "It's not that Ossining is lacking in affordable housing, because the village has a ton. So we've been asked to do just a little bit more, and we're working on projects to meet that goal."

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