By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter
Jan. 10, 2018: The Bronxville Board of Trustees began the new year by passing five local laws to amend the village code. The third in a series of changes to the village code, most of the changes pertain to the downtown business district.
“We have worked with our landlords, property owners, tenants, the chamber of commerce, and more to help our business district remain vital and busy and filled with stores,” said Mayor Mary Marvin.
The amendments to the code now allow a retail store to offer a service component as well as sell merchandise, rather than limit an establishment to providing one or the other.
The code will also give the planning board the authority to relax the code section prohibiting two carryout food restaurants to operate within 100 feet of each other. Under the code amendment, the planning board can waive the restriction that requires a zoning variance for two such businesses to operate in proximity. “It eliminates the zoning layer,” noted Village Attorney James Staudt, “and makes the process much simpler.”
Mindy Schmidt, senior property manager at Mosbacher Properties Group, questioned the wisdom of allowing similar business to establish outlets close to each other. “We try very hard not to allow our tenants to duplicate themselves,” she said. “Allowing too many of the same type of restaurants would not be helpful for them all to succeed.”
The trustees also addressed parking issues so that parking requirements for retail stores and restaurants are the same. Previously, in order to convert a retail space into a restaurant, the applicant had to seek a variance to provide a higher number of parking spaces.
Gerry Houlihan of Houlihan & O’Malley Real Estate expressed concern about the need for more restaurants in Bronxville. “My concern is that the restaurant industry is not the same as retail,” he stated. Citing a saturation of restaurants in Westchester County and across the United States, he said that the village does not need more restaurants. “We do not have parking for more restaurants,” he added.
An applicant seeking to change the use of a space from one permitted use to another, for example, the conversion of a retail space to an office, will no longer be required to present a new site plan for the conversion.
Jon Gordon, president and CEO of Admiral Real Estate Services, commended the board of trustees for passing the local laws. “It will help us fill the downtown stores with uses that will prime the pump to keep existing soft-goods retailers in business,” he said. He characterized the code amendments as giving Bronxville an edge in attracting dynamic tenants to the downtown business district.
The final local law passed by the board of trustees amends the section of the village code pertaining to revising and adopting a comprehensive plan and, when desired, seeking advice from the planning board. Mayor Marvin stated that, in the comprehensive plan revision currently under consideration, the board of trustees will address issues pertinent to residential as well as commercial areas in the village.
Pictured here (L to R): Trustee Anne W. Poorman, Mayor Mary Marvin, Deputy Mayor Robert Underhill, and Village Administrator Jim Palmer.
Photo by C. Bartold