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Yonkers City Council Approves Affordable Housing, Developments

The Yonkers City Jail, which will be  into an art gallery, artist’s studio and offices, along with exhibit and event space.
The Yonkers City Jail, which will be into an art gallery, artist’s studio and offices, along with exhibit and event space. Photo Credit: Filed

YONKERS, N.Y. -- A new affordable housing ordinance and new development projects at School 19 and the H&I parcel of land, along with the sale of the former City Jail, were approved by Yonkers City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

The Affordable Housing Ordinance, which was approved unanimously, will bring a variety of affordable housing units to Yonkers. The ordinance ensures the unites will be evenly dispersed and will remain affordable.

The ordinance also calls for all newly constructed and renovated multi-family housing developments to be required to include affordable housing units.

"The affordable housing ordinance and the trust fund is a first step towards insuring that dilapidated housing is renovated or replaced ensuring that members of our community will be able to stay here," Council president Chuck Lesnick said.

The units, for rental or sale, will be affordable to households earning between 30% and 100% of Westchester County's median income - calculated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Councilman Michael Sabatino (D3) said he was happy to see the affordable housing ordinance is at a point of being put into action.

"I have been involved in this effort initially as a concerned citizen, even before being elected," he said. "Although some may feel that in its current form it may not be perfect, it is crucial to get something in place."

The council unanimously approved a termination agreement for the SFC Project that will allows the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency the ability to pursue other developers for the River Park Center and the Cacace Center.

It also approved amendments to the Palisades Point Leases to allow Marc Berson, of Fidelco Realty Group to develop parcels H and I.

In 2009, the City Council approved River Park Center, a mixed-use residential and commercial complex, to be constructed on a 13-acre site in the business district.

The new development is located on two city blocks comprised of an municipal parking lot and an adjacent vacant lot near Nepperhan Avenue and New Main Street.

It will include a waterfront residential development with one or more high-rise buildings, retail, and parking for the development’s residents and for the residents of the adjacent co-op, Scrimshaw House.

The Council also unanimously approved the sale of the former City Jail (24 Alexander Street) to Cahokia LLC for $1 million. Daniel Wolf, husband of architect Maya Lin, is the buyer of the property.

Wolf plans for the defunct jail to be developed into an art museum, along with studio space, offices, and space for events and exhibits.

Councilmember Christopher Johnson (D1) said, "Today we were able to show what Yonkers moving in the right direction looks like. "

He added, "Building up the waterfront, through the sale of the old City Jail and moving forward on the H&I parcels of the old SFC project clearly illustrates the City's growth, while the Affordable Housing Ordinance protects those with moderate incomes who want to live, work and raise their families in Yonkers."

Additionally, the Council unanimously approved the collective bargaining agreement between the City and the Yonkers Police Benevolent Association.

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