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Downtown Harrison Rezoning Plan Suspended

HARRISON, N.Y. – A zoning change for Oakland and Grant avenues has been suspended indefinitely but may be looked at again after the town of Harrison updates its master plan.

Town Attorney Frank Allegretti made the announcement public at the town’s April 19 board meeting shortly before another public hearing on the controversial topic was to be held but cancelled. The area, which is located in a residential neighborhood, allowed the existing businesses to stay but would not let them expand. Expansion would have required a zoning change to allow any new extensions to what currently exists there to be built.

Resident Ernie Fiore, who lives near where the zoning change was proposed, is cautiously optimistic that the zoning will remain the same. Fiore, who has been fighting the proposal with other area residents, said that a potential change to commercial zoning would not be conducive to the rest of the neighborhood.

“It’s a touchy situation because there are not too many areas in Harrison where commercial buildings are clustered among residential homes,” Fiore said. “Further expansion could have resulted in multi-story buildings.”

Town board Trustee Marlane Amelio said that with all the time and money the town has invested into updating its master plan, it should not rely on “spot zoning” going forward. Amelio said that any zoning change in town would have to be consistent with what the master plan is trying to accomplish. Trustee Fred Sciliano agreed with Amelio that the master plan needs to be completed before going forward with any zoning change.

“We have to study that area,” Sciliano said. “Right now we’re not decided either way if the zoning change will ever occur.”

And Fiore expressed concern that the issue may resurface when the master plan is expected to be completed by November. Though the current zoning will remain intact for now, Fiore said he is “very suspicious” about what will happen at that site in the future.

“I don’t know if they’ll bring back the idea for this zoning change,” Fiore said. “I’m thinking it may resurface again once the master plan is complete. At that point it will be a whole new ballgame.”

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