WMPF Planning Commendation Senior Housing Floating Overlay Zone

Mount Vernon, NY, June 9, 2014 – Mayor Ernest D. Davis announced today that the City of Mount Vernon has received a Planning Commendation from the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation (WMPF) for the recently adopted Senior Citizen Housing (RMF-SC) Floating Overlay Zone.  “We are so pleased to be recognized by the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation for our work here in the City of Mount Vernon.  The County, the region, the State and the world for that matter, should expect to see further good work through sound planning in the immediate future,” said Mayor Ernest D. Davis.

 The award was received by Jaime Martinez, Acting Planning Commissioner, Susanne Marino, Deputy Commissioner and William Long, Planning Administrator, on behalf of the City at the WMPF’s 41st Annual Awards Dinner on June 5, 2014, where honors went to the communities with the most outstanding contributions to planning in Westchester County this year.

 In December 2013, the City of Mount Vernon adopted the comprehensive Senior Citizen Housing Floating (RMF-SC) Overlay Zoning Ordinance.  The ordinance was created to foster the orderly development of senior housing within the City.  The City’s original senior housing ordinance, established in 1978, was created to permit senior housing primarily in conjunction with Federal and/or State housing programs.  As the City’s senior citizen population continued to grow, the City realized that senior housing of all types and for all incomes should be directed to areas within the City that warrant and could support higher density development. 

 According to Roberta Apuzzo, City Council President, “This senior citizen housing ordinance provides a great opportunity to foster the orderly growth and development of the City while enhancing the City’s tax base.”

 Following environmental analysis by the City’s planning consultants Ferrandino & Associates Inc., which looked at four prototypical senior housing sites, the RMF-SC Floating Overlay ordinance was established to identify locations within the City, close to mass transportation, shopping and other senior services, where senior housing could be constructed, provided it is compatible with the City’s proposed comprehensive plan.  The ordinance further ensures that any senior housing built preserves neighborhood scale and character and allows for enhanced building design while encouraging commercial development along the City’s existing commercial corridors.  The ordinance, developed in concert with the community, including prospective senior housing developers, not only simplifies the senior housing development process but aligns the City’s zoning code with current national, state and county population trends.

 Following the adoption of the ordinance in December 2013, an application for the Grace Terrace senior housing development on South Fifth Avenue was filed, and approved by the City Council for rezoning to the RMF-SC zone in March 2014.