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Harrison Plans Affordable Housing Next To Metro-North Station

The Metro-North parking lots next to the Harrison Train Station as they looked Thursday evening. They are the site of a new mixed-use housing project. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Harrison Supervisor Ron Belmont said, “The Harrison Town Board has been working on this project for years,” Photo Credit: File photo

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Facing increasing pressure to build affordable housing in Harrison, town and county officials have agreed to include seven low-cost units near the Metro-North railroad station.

A 143-unit housing complex is planned on 3.3 acres owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority -- now a train station parking lot -- at the corner of Halstead and Harrison avenues. Five percent of the units developed by AvalonBay Communities will offer below market, affordable rents.

“The Harrison Town Board has been working on this project for years,” Harrison Supervisor Ron Belmont said on Thursday. “This development is going to give a giant boost to our downtown and now we are at the point where the vision becomes reality.”

Harrison is one of 31 Westchester communities named in a 2009 settlement agreement stemming from a lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. As part of the federal settlement, Westchester County agreed to obtain or build 750 units of affordable housing in towns and villages where the black and Hispanic populations make up less than 2 percent and 7 percent, respectively, of the total population.

The project includes several four-story buildings with 27,000 square feet of retail space and a 500-space parking garage. The project, believed to be the first to include affordable units since the 1960s, must get approval from the town's Planning Board.

“This is an example of how housing gets built and home rule and local zoning is still respected,” County Executive Rob Astorino said in a statement. “I want to thank all the parties for their cooperation in moving the project forward.”

The county will provide up to $1 million in subsidies for seven apartments and, in exchange, the county expects those units to be counted toward Westchester’s obligation to develop 750 units of affordable housing.

The MTA’s involvement includes giving its 3.3-acre site to AvalonBay in exchange for 475 commuter spaces in a parking garage to be built by AvalonBay.

Occupants of the affordable units will be determined through a lottery among qualified applicants whose income does not exceed 60 percent of Westchester’s median income.

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