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Harrison 'Platinum Mile' Could See New Residences

WEST HARRISON, N.Y. – BFJ Planning is proposing residential development along the section of Westchester Avenue by I-287 known as the “Platinum Mile,” but the group said it wants to do this “carefully,” in an effort not to upset the current character of Harrison.

BFJ Planning brought the idea forward to residents at a public work session on updating the town’s master plan Wednesday night in West Harrison. BFJ Planning Principal Frank Fish said that the residential housing market is currently better than the office space market in Westchester County so it would make sense to look into mixed-use development. Fish said the development, if it ever comes to fruition, would be in the middle of a “teardrop” formed in the middle where the Hutchinson River Parkway meets I-684 and I-287.

“We have to see if it makes sense,” Fish said. “We have to limit any development so it does not exceed the current population density and height of the buildings. It would be a mixture of studio, single and double apartments but not a large apartment building. We don’t want the type of housing that may introduce a lot of children into the public schools.”

However, residents said that they don’t want to see residential development in that area. Anne Gold, executive director of the Purchase Environmental Protective Association (PEPA), said that she’d rather see something like an assisted living facility built instead.

“We would like to see commercial buildings like dry cleaners and restaurants to serve the people who work there,” Gold said. “It seems like some commercial development would make sense.”

BFJ Planning Project Manager Susan Favate said that the firm has obtained the new census data and Harrison didn’t change too much in population. Favate said the group needs to take into account the recession in 2008 since ideas that were worked out in the 2007 draft plan may not be feasible anymore.

“There is a new planning document from 1996 as well as new storm water regulations,” Favate said. “This clearly affects development. Also, traffic patterns in town might have changed. We need to reflect that in our plan.”

Fish said that the office market has rebounded to some extent but office space in New York is not being filled as fast as it is in Connecticut. Fish said the group is seeing how much office space will be filled in the near future and is suggesting a wider range of uses.

“We want to maintain the fabric of Harrison,” Fish said. “We don’t want to impact neighborhoods, roads or have a negative effect on the school district.”

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