The developer of a project to replace the White Plains Mall with Hamilton Green, also known as the HG Development, which would include four buildings containing apartments, retail, restaurants and offices says it is committed to going ahead with the proposal and has resubmitted its application to the city of White Plains.
The White Plains Common Council voted last night to refer the matter to the city’s law department, building department, planning department and other departments, boards and commissions for their input.
The original application, approved by the council in September 2018, “expired by limitation” in September 2019 as explained by the city’s commissioner of building. Section 7.6 of the city’s zoning ordinance says, in part, that unless the approving agency specifically says something else, approvals shall expire if substantial construction is not completed within 1 year of approval.
The developer did not request an extension of the approval before the one-year term expired in September 2019. In documents submitted Jan. 28, 2020, attorney William Null of the White Plains-based law firm Cuddy & Feder LLP asked that the council verify the validity of the previous site plan approval or, in the alternative, renew, reinstate and approve the same site plan approval resolution without any changes or modifications.
The developer is W.P. Mall Realty LLC and SWD 3 LLC (d/b/a Street-Works Development).
Null wrote that when it approved the original plan on Sept. 4, 2018, the Common Council “did not intend to require substantial construction of the HG Development within 1-year or to have Site Plan Approval expire pursuant to Section 7.6 of the Zoning Ordinance only 1-year from issuance of approval.”
He pointed to the environmental findings statement adopted by the council as acknowledging that it would be more than five years before any revenue would be forthcoming from the development.
Null submitted a new application for the project along with asking that the previous approval be confirmed as valid and unexpired. Also submitted was a new check for a $82,530 application fee.
Null asked that the application fee be waived or reduced. “Because this Application is not new, and presents nothing different than previously submitted, it is not a new Application for Site Plan Approval,” Null wrote. “The Common Council should recognize that the previously enclosed plans were previously reviewed, commented upon and are no different today than in September 2018 when approved by the Common Council.”
Null said that the new fee payment of $82,530 constitutes an overcharge “as it is not reasonably related to the cost of the City of White Plains reviewing and processing this Application.”
The project would include a total of 860 dwelling units in the four buildings, a multilevel garage which would have 956 parking spaces, approximately 85,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, approximately 27,000 square feet of flexible office space and approximately 29,000 square feet of publicly accessible elevated plaza space.
While many of the businesses that had been operating at the White Plains Mall have left, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles was still operating its office there as of early February. Null pointed out that it is widely known that before the HG Development can begin, the DMV must be relocated and then the existing mall demolished. A previous plan for the DMV to move to nearby Barker Avenue did not work out. As of Null’s submission, no new location for the DMV had been announced.