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Harrison Updates Master Plan To Increase Development, Business

Harrison's updated master plan prioritizes the development of the Metro-North property into condominiums and storefronts to revitalize the central business district.
Harrison's updated master plan prioritizes the development of the Metro-North property into condominiums and storefronts to revitalize the central business district. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Harrison has updated its master plan for the first time since 1988 with a focus on the Metro-North property, the Platinum Mile on Westchester Avenue and developing the downtown on Halstead Avenue.

"The master plan serves as a guide for the future development and reflects Harrison's major geographical areas. The plan provides a framework for preserving the quality of our community, thereby ensuring its unique character, encouraging investment and promoting desired change," said Mayor Ron Belmont.

The process of updating the master plan began in 2004 and focused on resolving planning issues from the 1988 plan, identifying and resolving new issues and incorporating new town projects into the plan.

One of the top-priority projects the plan recommends pursuing is the development of property by the Metro-North station in downtown Harrison. The town is currently working with the DOT to develop a 3.5-acre parcel of Metro-North property, including a parking lot and adjacent property, into retail space and condominiums to revitalize the downtown area.

The Platinum Mile area of Westchester Avenue is located near I-287 and contains a number of office complexes. In 1988 the area comprised approximately 60 percent of the town's tax base, according to the plan. Since then, many companies have left, buildings have fallen into disrepair and the area now accounts for only 18 percent of the tax base. The plan calls for examination of re-zoning the area to allow non-office development in the area, such as senior housing, residential development, retail stores or restaurants.

The central business district near Halstead Avenue and Harrison Avenue has also been identified in the plan as being in need of revitalization. The plan recommends a streetscaping project that would make the area more attractive. It also suggests redeveloping vacant storefronts, bringing in a greater variety of businesses, putting more housing in the downtown district, and improving handicap accessibility. There is also the possibility of converting Ma Riis Park, located near the Harrison Public Library and the municipal building, into a formal "Town Green." This could potentially create a true civic center downtown, and could include increasing parking at the park and expanding the playground.

The master plan contains guidance and suggestions, but does not alter any existing zoning, according to Village Attorney Jonathan Kraut. Any zoning changes would have to undergo formal public hearings and review processes.

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