Irvington Continuum Project Stalls Over Scale Issues

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Continuum wants to build a 120-bed assisted living facility just off Route 9 in Irvington.
Continuum wants to build a 120-bed assisted living facility just off Route 9 in Irvington. Photo Credit: Google Maps

IRVINGTON, N.Y. – Zoning issues have developers and planning officials at an impasse in a proposal to build a 120-bed assisted living facility in Irvington.

Developers said officials should examine the project as if the zoning changes were approved. Village officials said they don't see any justification for building something that tries to adhere to existing codes.

“I am all for you doing a first-class project,” said George Boyle, planning board member. “It's a great idea. But you have to fit it in the confines of what's already basically established.”

Boyle added he wanted developers to explain why they had not tried to stay within existing zoning regulations for the proposed site.

Planning Board officials discussed the project and its draft final environmental impact statement at a work session Tuesday night. Officials will continue to discuss the project at a meeting Wednesday night and at another work session, Irvington Village Attorney Marianne Stecich said. Officials postponed a discussion on the project's emergency services impacts until the other work session.

The Continuum company wants to build an assisted-living facility at the Foundation for Economic Education site on Route 9 in Irvington just south of Main Street. The facility would include a special dementia-care unit and offer residents several amenities on-site.

Developers amended and scaled-back their original plan in July after residents turned up in droves to protest the project. Tuesday's Planning Board work session also saw changes in the program as developers said they now would like to tear down the existing building on the site instead of renovating it.

The proposal to tear down the existing building would decrease the building's height by 14 feet and allow some beds to be moved, thus allowing more open space near the Old Croton Aqueduct, developers said. The existing building does not meet historic standards and would be replaced with a building similar in historic character, developers said.

Planning Board Chair William Hoffman said he felt Continuum had been given a catch-22 because some people would object to the project's scale while others would prefer to keep the historical building. Hoffman said he felt the new building would be a major improvement.

Board Member Hilary Chenel agreed, saying the existing building was a safety hazard.

“The building should come down,” she said.

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I note that your story states that "Developers amended and scaled-back their original plan in July ..." but I don't think that accurately reflects what has occurred.

The plan was amended - and reconfigured - but it hasn't been scaled back at all. The original plan called for a 105,000 square foot structure with 121 housing units and 168 resident beds.

The new plan calls for 105,000 square foot structure with 121 units and 168 beds.

The new plan has shifted much of the parking and some common areas below ground. And that may reduce the visual appearance to some extent. But they clearly have not scaled back at all. The revised plans are completely out of proportion to any other structure in the Village of Irvington today, just as they were in the original plan.

The site, at just 4.5 acres, is simply not large enough for the structure Continuum wishes to build. The Village is simply not in position to deliver the emergency services this facility will require. And our roads are simply not capable of taking on the additional traffic this facility will generate, right in the center of the school transportation corridor for all four Irvington schools.