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Irvington Residents Protest Mercy College Expansion

IRVINGTON, N.Y. – Irvington Planning Board officials decided to keep a public hearing on Mercy College's expansion open for another meeting after dozens of residents protested the proposed project amid fears of increased traffic and noise Wednesday night.

“We've seen a gradual erosion of our quiet neighborhood,” Irvington resident Anne Myers said. Myers lives on Bertha Place and noted that the increasing number of cars driving through the neighborhood to Mercy College make it seem “as if we live next to Bloomingdale's on a big sale day.”

Mercy College wants to build three 18,000-square-foot faculty office buildings and convert 5,000 square feet of Mercy Hall into a dormitory. The project also includes a 2,000-square-foot addition to an existing building that would be used as a meeting space.

Mercy College sits on 25 acres in Dobbs Ferry and 31 acres in Irvington. Approximately 11,000 full-time and part-time students are enrolled at the college

Residents in the surrounding neighborhoods in both villages argued against the proposed expansion. Dobbs Ferry resident Jim Hornstein said the college is already “an unreliable and negative neighbor.” Hornstein is the president of The Landing's homeowners association.

Ardsley Park Association President and Irvington resident Herb Camp agreed, saying increased traffic from the college has made some streets unsafe for pedestrians. Camp urged officials to slow down the process because there were “so many details about this project that no one knows about.”

Residents in both villages said the college is already too big for the area. Irvington resident Allison Moore told officials in a letter read by her husband Nicholas Moore that the road has become too dangerous for kids to ride bikes or play in the street. Moore pointed to the “unbridled growth” of the college, noting that it has grown significantly in recent years and that the college hasn't done anything to limit the number of cars able to park on campus.

In a written statement, Hornstein called for a cap on the number of kids and cars allowed at the college, urged the college to install noise proof windows on the homes that sit directly adjacent to the property and asked the college to preserve The Landing's Croton Aqueduct trail access. Hornstein also encouraged the college to rethink their plans and keep Mercy Hall as faculty offices because the building is closest to The Landing and faculty tend to be quieter than students in a dorm.

Irvington officials plan to hold several meetings on the project before it is given final approval. Mercy College officials said they will address residents' concerns in the final environmental impact study. The next meeting on the expansion project has not yet been determined because planning board officials want to hold a special meeting and needed to coordinate the date.

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