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Harrison Town Board Gets Master Plan Update

HARRISON, N.Y. – BFJ Planning said it will add two new chapters to Harrison’s draft master plan from 2007 in efforts to continue updating it.

BFJ Planning Associate Susan Favate said that the group is in the process of reorganizing the draft plan to include the downtown’s central business district (CBD) and the strip of Westchester Avenue known as the “Platinum Mile.” Favate said that they have been looking at the demographics from the 2010 census and land use data from Westchester County to complete it.

“We have some information we have to update from the draft plan in 2007,” Favate said. “That results in more chapters to the plan but they shouldn’t be significant in length. We had a recession in 2008 so there have been changes and we want to reflect that.”

Both downtown and the “Platinum Mile” have vacancies. BFJ Planning Senior Associate Jonathan Martin said that 19 percent of businesses on that area of Westchester Avenue are vacant. Martin pointed out several empty lots downtown include the building at the intersection of Halstead and Harrison avenues, which had a Quizno’s leave that location recently.

Martin said that the zoning districts in the CBD can be strengthened but areas zoned for residential use are right on the fringe of the downtown. Martin is hoping that a proposed project to revamp the train station downtown, which would potentially include a residential component, would be a “catalyst” to revitalize the downtown.

“The streets are very walkable and attractive,” Martin said. “If we can complete Halstead Avenue that would be very positive.”

There is also discussion about adding a residential component to the area around the “Platinum Mile.” Town Board Trustee Marlane Amelio said that based on feedback she has received, any project that would increase population would be met with a “tremendous amount of resistance.”

BFJ Planning Principal Frank Fish said that he is hoping to hold a second public meeting similar to the one held back in March to invite the public to come share their ideas. Fish said that his group would continue working with the town over the summer and hold an official public hearing sometime in October. Fish said that the plan is still to finish their work by Thanksgiving of this year.

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