Writings by Sandra Harrison including published and unpublished works of poetry, essays, children's and adult fiction and non-fiction work..
White Plains (WP) held its 3rd public hearing (March 5, 2018) on The Collection site plan with special permits for land between Westchester & Franklin Aves: on former Key Ford location, empty stores next to Westchester Burger & municipal lot on Franklin on April 2 but no one but developer spoke. City voted 5 to 2 in favor of the site plan. City said they would put in light for pedestrian crossing at Franklin Ave to Tibbits but Ms. Lecuna raised some issues that I had as well. Parking lot will be sold to Developer for $1 but City could lose the promised extra parking spaces to tenants in the apartments that have under the mandated parking spots because they will be residents as well as rest of Eastview area.
Who knows if they will start fencing off the property and starting demolishing structures but there was no mention as to the alternative parking area for the 150 spaces. The Developer claimed he reached out to buildings and Eastview School but I did not hear anything about this and if he contacted the owners only, residents are still in the dark.
Knowing how things have gone in the City, there is no guarantees that there is the money to go forward and no time table to know when the area will be closed off for construction. Permits will need to be secured for any work and City allowed the Urban Renewal area on Westchester Ave to ruin Franklin Ave by allowing a tower to narrow and darken the street. Nothing was said about the flooding issue on Franklin or whether cables will be put underground.
It is never too late to make your voices heard about the plan especially on the impact it will have on traffic in the area. Parking is just permit parking but we need more day spots and overnight parking for guests. Developer can not be trusted and they still don’t shovel snow on Franklin or fix up the Key Ford land on Franklin that is overgrown and full of debris.
On Feb 5, Developer gave an updated version of site plan presented to Planning Board on Jan 2018 after Transportation Committee had major concerns. Original plan is on WP website under City Government’s Projects & Proposals but be aware there are modifications. Second hearing is set for March 5 at Common Council Meeting at 7:30pm.
Presented was a new design for project; not just for the locale but for the streets around it. Submitted a letter, photo & drawing. Abbreviated & condensed sections are posted in this blog entry. Hope to send it to Mayor/City Council before next hearing. WP Examiner published my Letter to Editor. No action by community will allow plan to go as presented. Stand up! Speak at next hearing before the Council votes or send in comments before 3/5/18 at http://www.cityofwhiteplains.com using Contact Form or e-mail Mayor/Common Council members individually with addresses online for Common Council/Mayor. Or, you can speak before the Council Meeting (Citizens To Be Heard) (but sign up to speak on any topic outside Council Chambers).
Jan 2018 The Collection Site Plan
My Design plan for The Collection Feb 5, 2018. Top view.
Feb 5, 2018
To City of White Plains:
The Collection plan is disappointing; design for Franklin Ave (Franklin) does not fit Eastview Neighborhood (Eastview) but instead sticks out higher than any other building. Not offering anything new to area. City seems to be rewarding property owners who neglect their properties; let things go downhill while chasing out their tenants.
Besides closing Franklin Municipal Lot, most likely construction will take out part of Franklin & sidewalk for duration of build; that could take over a yr (especially if construction stalls or weather gets bad). Construction will add noise, water & air pollution to area as well as construction trucks.
Doesn’t seem like Developer or City considered whether luxury apartments (with a pool) are a “good fit” with the neighborhood; all the other approved or proposed developments for WP. Developments in Harrison on I-287 West corridor (287) & proposed changes to Rt. 119 could affect traffic coming by way of 287 in the near future. Westchester Ave is often clogged with heavy traffic (buses, heavy large trucks & cars) making it hard for residents getting home to Eastview by car. Travelling by car from Armory Pl to Franklin has become more difficult. At times, it is hard for vehicles to enter Westchester Ave from Franklin and to go over to S Broadway.
Nearby major developments have drastically affected Eastview. Westchester Ave has become an expressway with the loss of parking, pedestrian crossings & traffic lights. With Stop & Shop, meter lot & eventually permit lot were lost. Vehicle/pedestrian entrance for Grocery is just not practical & a nightmare (filth in entrance area). There are few pedestrian crossings left on roadway. Only 2 parking spots came back. Key Ford left but there were tenants in the other stores till they had to leave.
City Center construction brought vermin, shopping carts & more water to lower levels. Bottle collectors transport large numbers of recyclables & go through recycle bins left out for City or on private property making a lot of noise. Their bags take over the whole sidewalk, & carts are noisy & smelly. Carts gather at bottom of Franklin and can be found on other streets.
There is little enforcement of WP ordinances in area (leaf blowing, unmaintained or damaged sidewalks, parking in crosswalks & where parking or standing is not permitted).We often have people sleeping on benches along Westchester Ave on City property & in Tibbits Park. Vagrants often just hanging out. Because cars do not stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, parking at crosswalk on Franklin was changed. Bicyclists ride on sidewalks. Twelve Westchester Ave has not cut back its bushes along sidewalks enough for people to walk by resulting in erosion damaging WP property across from Tibbits Park (Tibbits).
Pet owners using land across from Tibbits Park to toilet their animals & with the lack of rain damaged the grass have left areas with mud. One Franklin & 12 Westchester Ave have no smoking policies so area is a smoking den full of discarded cigarette butts.
Things as they are that should be taken into consideration for development of this locale:
1. Eastview & the near-by areas have multi-family Co-ops, Condos & rentals as well as a mixture of commercial properties on a hill. Forty Windsor Terrace has disabled section eight tenants (including blind man & elderly). Water runs downhill from BD & N Broadway to Mamaroneck River but water gets stuck at Amherst/Franklin intersect (between 2 storm drains).
2. School ball fields, school parking lots & track are often used by the community for sports, events & exercise. School gym is voting place for a number of districts. Campus has fencing around much of its property & borders the municipal lot. Youth Bureau (YES) is also near Franklin on Amherst & is open on Sat as well as school days. YES vans park in municipal lot.
3. Windsor at Gramercy (2003), a luxury apartment building formerly known as Clayton Park, has large leasing sign along sidewalks. Back in 2003, they could not sell units for condominium. Building must have many unoccupied units.
4. Bike lane on Main St by Eastview School has cars standing in lane before 2:30pm.Few bikes use Franklin or Windsor Terrace (because of hills) but Rt. 22 is a bike route. Other bicyclists often use sidewalks including electric ones on Westchester Ave. They go through lights even with pedestrians crossing.
5. Sidewalks on Franklin Ave across from where Windsor Terrace comes intercepts needs fixing. Four mature trees by curb on Franklin southeast side of street from front of 26-8 Franklin to former Key Ford parking lot needs protection. Other trees on Franklin are set back from street. Nine driveways with lots/garages with vehicles enter street. This is not counting former Key Ford lot & municipal lot that has two entrances.
6. Property on Windsor Terrace/Amherst was never developed though a house & parking area were removed. The 7 million dollar property has changed owners a # of times; is an unmaintained uneven dangerous property (rusted metal near sidewalk on Amherst). Sidewalks are in terrible condition & not maintained (snow removal and overgrowth). I did report problems to the City & then the state but not much has changed. Notice about criminal or sex offender posted on fencing on Windsor. Carts also gather there.
7. People with dogs need to have area on their own property for toileting. Pet owners use Tibbits Park & City property across from Tibbits Park to toilet dogs. Not everyone cleans up after their pets. One man drinks beer & smokes loitering with or without his dog and leaves the cans near wall by Franklin or on top of bushes on City Property.
8. Litter is a problem.
9. People park on Franklin avoiding meters for City Center, The Westchester & stores along S Broadway. Stores along Westchester Ave near Franklin do not have enough parking.
10. Loitering by a few with some vandalizing properties by. Pulling out plantings; damaging sprinklers.
11. Delivery area is at bottom of hill so trucks park at top of hill on Franklin & often on sidewalk.
12. Vehicles (including trucks) from Avis & Westchester Burger on Westchester Ave go across light to Bloomingdale Rd. People rarely use unmaintained entrance to Stop & Shop going in car entrance area instead. Many cars at Stop & Shop are from car dealerships. Cars can make turns on red at Paulding Ave & at Stop & Shop. Curb for right turns does not allow for smooth entry into Westchester Ave.
13. Two narrow 1 ways feed into Franklin & vehicles often do not stop as required. But vehicles stop & park on Windsor illegally blocking others. Medi drop is used by non-medi cars.
14. Cars from dealership go in & out of Franklin transferring cars from their 2 lots rarely stopping for road traffic. Shouldn’t they make a ramp inside lots to avoid Franklin.
15. Many make U-turns on Franklin & blocking driveways and crosswalk is common.
16. Speeding & loud engines are a problem.
17. Traffic is very noisy and causes pollution. Buildings have black soot on top areas. My sills have lots of dirt. Hear vehicles on 287.
18. Traffic backs up on Westchester Av where Franklin intersects. Bikers go thru lights & do not yield to traffic coming down Armory Place. Hard to see traffic approaching Franklin on Westchester Ave due to grading of land (daffodils also impede view).
19. Bike lane on Main is used to queue up by drivers at end of school day.
20. School buses park on Franklin/Amherst &Canfield taking up parking & standing where parking is not allowed. Engines need to be off when standing for long periods.
21. Cars park at intersection of Franklin/Amherst for fields.
22. Leaves & Christmas trees are left on Franklin. Superintendents blow leaves into Street (taking up parking space by 10 Franklin’s lower parking lot).
23. Stalled construction on S Kensico (BP), Esplanade & Pavilion redo. Road & sidewalk closures are horrible. Rd by Pavilion site is horrible on S Broadway.
24. Nordstrom has pick up area in a “No Stopping” area on Paulding.
Problem with plan(s):
1. Who maintains community resident permits? Residences will be able to get spots in permit spaces. Who maintains the garage area for community. Lights will be on all night.
2. Plan will affect environment by causing possible flooding on Franklin and in field. More pollution & creation of wind tunnel on Franklin. Tall building will block morning sun; could affect the trees & wildlife.
3. Planned design doesn’t fit with neighborhood by height & design. Back of building faces into Franklin without setbacks. Perpendicular multi-tier garages locks in field & street. Structure will stand out & garage will be like a barrier between rich & poor.
4. Adding more traffic to Franklin & Westchester Ave. is not good.
5. Will be hard for cars/trucks to get into Westchester Ave to go to Paulding.
6. Overpowering building not fitting into neighborhood. Glass 7 stories on top of garage dies not fit neighborhood and will reflex the light up the hill. Don’t want to see big leasing signs or name signs for building like on Canfield/Main.
7. Not good with abandoned lots on Windsor-Amherst –sidewalks unmaintained and horrible with fencing. This could happen with this project.
8. Windsor at Gramercy (luxury) not renting well. Empty units can present other issues.
9. Not enough open space; traffic makes the park experience noisy. School property is not a park & has restrictions for use.
10. Entering Franklin/Westchester Aves adds to congestion, flooding; pollution.
11. U-turns on Westchester Ave. is a bad idea.
12. Delivery areas are far from stores & backing up into traffic sets those high beep noises that are very annoying.
13. Building over entrance road needs to be high for trucks wasting space.
14. Renters often don’t care about properties so wear & tear is greater with transient population.
15. Need a way to prevent cars parking in development to avoid parking fees at mall.
16. Where are the garbage storage areas & where will sanitation trucks be picking up?
17. Pool is not yr round (could add retractable roof) & not open to community (even with a fee).
18. Delivery trucks backing into circle will make that beeping noise. Depending on someone to direct traffic is costly & unrealistic.
19. Walking pathway has school fence along end and will need lighting.
20. Traffic leaving entrance from site into Westchester Av site will be difficult when there is a lot of traffic. Going left or making U-turns onto Paulding will be a problem.
21. Parking is far from stores and people will park there to avoid fees at mall.
22. Area will still have carts, bottle people & abandoned bikes.
23. Traffic goes at above speed limits; does not obey laws allowing pedestrians their right to cross streets.
Changes to Site Plan to consider:
1. Set front of apartment on Franklin Ave back from street. Use brick face. Put garage behind & below building. Have a road in front of building on Franklin for drop off, handicap space & smaller truck deliveries. Deliveries to continue for bottom of Franklin. Public sidewalk as it is now. Entry leads to street going to garage; front of building with exit nearer to school.
2. By fence for school have open space with opening to Stop & Shop. To stop carts put in center pole & have walking pathway with surface not great for store carts.
3. Put sidewalk along one way road that goes from Franklin to Westchester Ave along car dealer property.
4. Set front of stores back from Westchester Ave with access to garage in back. Have elevator to go to top of building for outdoor food area connecting to Franklin Ave apartment outdoor area. Dumb waiters from stores to area. Open for a fee to community.
5. Have a roadway go into site that runs along the front of the stores with entrance for lofts in center. Deliveries can be on Westchester Ave along sidewalk. Have handicap space & spaces for food pickups. Put in dumb waiter or elevator from restaurants to outdoor area.
6. Retail can have back way into garage ADA compliant.
7. Allow permits for community for overnight & by the hour.
Changes to Westchester Ave to consider:
1. Make right turn lane for Franklin nearing intersection by cutting away some of bank or leveling it so cars leaving Franklin can see traffic on Westchester Ave coming from North. Shift traffic on Westchester Av in right lane for right turn lane for Franklin, Main and Lake St.
2. Put in park across from Tibbits on City land that is dog friendly but takes out smoking. Put in path that goes nearer to street so there is less of a climb and more plantings. I would pay for plantings.
3. Possibly put light for Armory Pl & Westchester Av across from where they come together. Put back two lanes going north into Westchester Av from Franklin or put in bike lane. Put right turn light across from Franklin Ave & pedestrian crossing.
4. Make exit from Avis right turn only.
Changes for Armory Place to consider:
1. Put back pedestrian walkways crossing Armory Place to Mall to slow down traffic with stop signs or stop lines.
Changes for Paulding Ave to consider:
1. Make intercept with Westchester Ave a No Turn on Red corner.
2. Cut into sidewalk for pick- up drop off area for Nordstrom entrance.
Changes to Franklin Ave to consider:
1. Make a right turn lane to enter Franklin (too of hill) either by reconfiguring lanes or cut into land there.
2. Put in traffic light for Armory Pl/Westchester Ave intercept and one for Franklin to go onto Westchester Ave.
3. Put in crosswalk (south of intercept) of Franklin Ave (north side) with Westchester Ave across to Tibbits Park.
4. If utilities are going underground make sidewalk narrower (by 6 in) on hill & smooth out grading at top.
5. Need delivery area on top of hill. Shareholders have to maintain our units & there are many deliveries.
6. Improve drainage at bottom of Franklin.
7. Repave Franklin Ave.
8. Make Franklin a No Thru Street for Trucks; No U Turns at top of hill.
9. Consider putting in metered spots with kiosk for payment at top of hill. Give residents living on street a reduction.
Change to Stop & Shop entrances to consider:
1. Open lot on S Kensico for car deliveries or any other cars parking there. Might be possible place for cars to park during construction.
2. Change entrance to Stop & Shop by putting in sidewalks on both sides of vehicle entrance. Make it a No Turn on Red sign with just two lanes of traffic for left turns & other for straight ahead and right turns.
Other changes to consider:
1. Take over unmaintained property: put in parking/housing. Or even medical offices.
2. Need enforcement of laws, nuance crimes & traffic violations/ parking
3. Shuttle buses connecting to stores & outer areas.
4. Ban bicycles overnight on sidewalks for safety sake.
5. Ban large transport of products on sidewalks for more than 2 blocks.
—————————————————————————————————————- Update: The Collection has not started yet and City extended their site plan for another year but there was another zone change request made in 2019. The area has continued to deteriorate and gets little maintenance. Old parking lot on Franklin is over run with weeds and trash. The Collection was given another extention to their plan in 2020 and there was an article that Toll Brothers bought property but they are not listed as Property owners with County.