Yonkers Preservation Updates

News From Yonkers City Council President, Chuck Lesnick

Please join me on Monday morning Nov. 19th from 8 – 10 a.m. at the Harvard Club in Manhattan with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino for a seminar and panel discussion: “Rehabilitating Vacant Buildings into Affordable Housing.”

Mayor Menino launched Boston’s abandoned buildings survey in 1997 and has since worked with private owners and developers to rehabilitate the properties into viable housing units.

The program has been highly successful and it has been reported that in the last decade, the number of abandoned residential properties in Boston declined by 77% as properties were reclaimed and abandonment was reduced.

The program’s sponsor, the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, asked me to speak on Yonkers’ efforts to adaptively reuse buildings for housing.

“Chuck is a good person to involve in this seminar, because he is known for his efforts in Yonkers to adaptively reuse buildings for housing,” says Andrea Batista Schlesinger, Executive Director. “His experience and understanding is highly valuable.”

Hope to see you there! http://www.drummajorinstitute.org/events/unique_event.php?ID=50

Historic Preservation Efforts Continue in Yonkers

The Real Estate Committee discussed the Demolition Review Ordinance at its meeting this week and is working to finalize the language.

There seems to be widespread support for the concept and we hope for a majority vote.

The Yonkers Landmarks Board recently held a spirited public hearing on 575 North Broadway and is expected to vote on it at its next meeting, Wednesday, Dec. 5th at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

If they recommend landmarking, the City Council will consider the recommendation at a subsequent meeting.

The New York Times did a story on our plight this month. Please visit www.nytimes.com and put Yonkers in the search bar and scroll down until you see the headline, “Another Teardown? No, an Architectural Gem.”

While the article was good, it missed a few important points so I wrote the following Letter to the Editor which will appear in a slightly edited version in this Sunday’s Westchester Section.

To the Editor at the New York Times:

Joseph Berger captures the unique beauty of the historic Wilson Eyre designed home at 575 North Broadway in his Nov. 4th “Another Teardown? No an Architectural Gem” report.

While he bemoans a lack of historic sensitivity from city administrations past and present, he fails to mention recent preservation steps by the Yonkers City Council.

The Council is poised to approve a Demolition Review Ordinance requiring notification to the Landmarks Board whenever a demolition permit is requested for a property 75 years and older. The Council is also likely to approve landmarking 575 North Broadway as they did with our historic City Pier — now home of the critically-acclaimed X20 Restaurant.

The Yonkers City Council will continue to preserve the past while moving the city forward.

Very truly yours, Chuck Lesnick

Council Applauds Pace Land Use Law Center

At our last Council meeting, a resolution supporting the Pace Land Use Law Center was unamiously adopted.

So you know, the Land Use Law Center is dedicated to fostering the development of sustainable communities in New York State. Through its many programs, the Center offers lawyers, land use professionals, citizens and developers assistance that enables them to achieve sustainable development at the local and regional level.

I was selected earlier this year to participate with 40 community leaders, developers and elected officials in a four-day training session at Pace on consensus- building for affordable housing.

It all came together in Yonkers this week when more than 200 people came here for a seminar on transportation planning, sustainable development and the waterfront developments that Arthur Collins has constructed on our waterfront.

I was proud that several members of the Green Policy Task Force participated in the seminars and that the reputation of Yonkers as a place for sustainable development continues to grow.

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