The Town of Ossining established a four-month moratorium on construction as it mulls turning suggestions mentioned in its comprehensive plan into a binding zoning code.
“As we’re seeing an uptick in development in the town, we wanted to make sure that the planning and zoning boards both had the legal capacity to fully carry out what the intentions of the comprehensive plan were instead of just guessing,” Town Supervisor Dana Levenberg said.
Levenberg said the moratorium is “not trying to close the door on development,” and that it will not affect any projects currently underway or any submitted to the planning board prior to June 7. Changes to single-family homes are also exempt from the moratorium.
During the moratorium, board members will focus on a number of suggestions mentioned in the comprehensive plan, which was adopted in 2002 and updated both in 2007 and 2015. Those recommendations include evaluating buffer requirements for commercial uses, changing the zoning for the Maryknoll Seminary and for the General-Business 1 and Neighborhood Commercial districts, and updating the code to define certain uses and terms. The town will also receive recommendations from a planning consultant and gather public input during the four-month period, which the board has the authority to extend.
“We’re hopeful to keep it in a reduced time frame so that we aren’t hindering our ability to attract development that would be productive to the town,” Levenberg said.
There was virtually no negative feedback at the June 14 public hearing regarding the enactment of the moratorium, designated Local Law #6, and Levenberg said that though there were a few calls and emails “looking for clarity” on the matter, “I can’t really say we’ve had any opposition.”
The town’s decision follows a handful of similar constructions halts in the area. Both Mamaroneck and Larchmont approved moratoriums on residential developments within the last year, and the Town of Cortlandt established a moratorium in 2009.
Levenberg opined that with the positive growth the economy has seen in recent years, an increase in development applications has led many municipalities to take time to re-think their approach.
“Before you just keep going, you want to make sure that you’re staying in the clear path,” she said.