ARMONK, N.Y. - At its first public work session, the North Castle Town Board discussed the Mariani Gardens rezoning issue.
All four board members, Supervisor Howard Arden and Director of Planning Adam Kaufman attended the session on Friday morning the Hergenhan Recreation Center. A few members of the public attended, but weren't permitted to speak according to work session regulations.
Kaufman said the board was unable to decide how it wants to handle Mariani Gardens request to lease out space on its premise to additional businesses. It currently occupies a large retail space on Bedford Road and hopes to lease out 14,000 square feet of space.
Additional retail is not permitted in a nursery business zone, but the board is considering changing the zoning regulations to permit it.
"They need to discuss how to regulate the additional uses via a special use permit or rights uses in the district," Kaufman said. "Hopefully they'll be able to agree on language and schedule a public hearing."
Diane Roth, a board member, said that no one on that board opposes Mariani's desire to lease retail space "but we have to be careful how it's done so it's not too cumbersome." She added that the board doesn't want the responsibility of picking and choosing which businesses will open there.
Greg Lane, a member of Concerned Citizens of Armonk, attended the meeting and said, "We're opposed to Mariani's request as it's being proposed. Rather than address one particular property the town board should put together a master plan for the entire business district. Piecemeal development is no good."
Lane also thinks Mr. Mariani should prepare an environmental impact statement that would assess traffic and water issues the new businesses would impose on the area. His request is similar to Michael Fareri's request at Armonk Square that led to a petition he filed last year that is still pending.
"Retail may not be the best use of the corner, but the issue needs to be fully addressed by the town board," Lane said.
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