Town of North East: Developers interested in Boulevard District possibilities

NORTH EAST — One of the major changes sought by the North East Zoning Review Committee (ZRC) is allowing the possibility of mixed-use development in the Boulevard District on Route 44, east of the Village of Millerton.

In recent months, that conversation has included developers like Charlie Bendit, the co-chief executive officer of Taconic Partners of New York City, who has attended several ZRC meetings.

“We’ve let every developer around here know that they can attend these meetings and bring their thoughts,” said North East Town Supervisor Chris Kennan.

“We use them as a resource, because they’re very knowledgeable,” said ZRC Chair Edie Greenwood.

Bendit, who owns a house in Salisbury, was introduced to the development possibilities in North East by Peter Braus, a commercial real estate broker; Braus’s firm is the retail leasing agent representing Bendit. The pair were the developers interested in the site of the former Millerton supermarket before discussions were broken off with the owner, Skip Trotta.

During the public comment section of ZRC meetings, Braus and Bendit have described a proposal to build three low-rise buildings on Route 44 with retail close to the road and multifamily structures in the back. Any actual site acquisition would be contingent on having access to a sewer system, they said.

Included in their preliminary plan are 60 rental units in all, with six or more affordable units. The inclusion of affordable housing will depend on the subsidies and tax relief programs that become available, and the development group is potentially willing to include 10% or more affordable units for renters with 60% of AMI (adjusted median income). Plans remain in the conceptual stage.

During public comment periods they attended, they have made suggestions to the ZRC from the perspective of real estate developers.

They have urged selectivity in mandated requirements and explained that the apartments, which would be financially feasible to build, would have two bedrooms, not three bedrooms, which are not economic, or studio apartments, which have limited demand. They also inquired about whether or not indoor recreation facilities might be permissible in the district under the new zoning codes.

Asked to comment on whether the ZRC is listening to their suggestions, Bendit replied: “The ZRC has been very supportive of the types of mixed-use development plans that we have proposed. They have been very focused on seeing development on Boulevard East.”

The general public is welcome to attend the meetings in person at 4:30 p.m. at the Town Hall every second and fourth Monday of the month.

Those interested in learning what the ZRC does at their bi-weekly meetings may consult the minutes posted on the Town of North East website at townofnortheastny.gov/meeting-minutes-agendas

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