Don’t mess with our zoning


Last fall the Hebrew Home informally presented to Community Board 8 two proposals for construction of a 385 unit Continuing Care Retirement Community development known as the “Sail Scheme” and the “Cottage Scheme.” Conceptually we fully support the “Cottage scheme.”

While both schemes require a special permit to build a CCRC, or “Continuing Care Retirement Community,” in the R1-1 single family zoning district, the “Cottage Scheme” is far more consistent with the underlying single family zoning on the southern site, the community’s 197A plan, and the special permit’s requirement that the new development be compatible with the surrounding uses.  It would be in harmony with the contiguous R1-1 single family homes to the east and west and along the Hudson. 

The “Sail Scheme” presented in September proposes new apartment buildings on the southern site, zoned R1-1, single-family residential. These multi-story apartment style buildings are large in footprint and height and are more appropriately located in other zoning districts. We note that both schemes include a new 12-story building on the existing Northern R4 campus, which does not conform to zoning, and is out of scale with the nearby structures; we cannot support this structure or any variance for this out of scale building.

In addition, the two zoning districts on the Hebrew Home’s north and south properties are located within the Special Natural Area District, which has further restrictions on development that should limit the effects on the open space and natural features of both sites, including the design and location of new roads to access the cottage-style buildings. The “Cottage Scheme” shown to the board did not include any explanation of its compliance with the SNAD requirements, and would likely require modification before any approvals.

Development in Riverdale is at a critical turning point. The decisions that are made with regard to this CCRC development will be precedent setting, any multi-story apartments permitted in R1-1 districts will set a precedent for the domino effect and the ultimate demise of all single-family R1-1 and R1-2 low density zoning areas here in Riverdale and citywide. We call on Community Board 8 and our elected officials to deny any special permit that would render our zoning meaningless.

The Riverdale Community Coalition
Marty Zelnik, 
Jennifer Klein, 
Barry Wilner, 
Richard Baldwin

Riverdale Nature Preservancy
Sherida Paulsen

Broadway Community Alliance
Damien McShane

Sura Jesselson

Skyview Owners Corporation
Steven J. Chait

Vinmont Home Owners Association
Deidre Burke

Riverdale Safe Streets
Avi Henoch

Riverdale-Spuyten Duyvil Coalition
Gary Klingsberg,
Frank Anelante

Sigma Place Homeowners Assoc.
Marty Zelnik

Riverdale Historic District Homeowners
Kathy Valyi