“It’s too big” was the outcry repeatedly exclaimed by many in the overflowing crowd attending a public hearing concerning the proposed Centro Larchmont luxury condominium project. More than 100 local residents packed the small village courtroom and overflowed into the hallway to voice their concerns regarding the five story building which would include 26 luxury units, parking garage and block of retail storefront.
The unusual large turnout for a Larchmont Board of Trustees meeting was fueled by a petition circulated over the weekend opposing the development.
The public hearing centered over the need to change the current zoning law to allow the construction of the proposed project. With signs that read “Ban the Bulk” and “Too Massive,” most of those in attendance complained that the size of the structure is not in keeping with the character of the village, would cause overcrowding of Chatsworth Elementary School and increase traffic.
Centro Larchmont would serve as a public/private partnership in which the developer, Rye-based Elk Homes, would be allowed to build a parking structure on village owned property on Wendt Ave in return for more parking parking spaces. Syrette Dym, a former Larchmont Planning Board member whose home faces the project, questioned the trustees for “the consequences in engaging in such a deal.”
“The village board is agreeing to sell the soul of the village for the price of 25 parking spaces. This is not why we elected you,” Dym said prompting loud applause.
Elk Homes representatives answered questions about the design and announced a series of changes made since the initial presentation including reduction of the footprint of the basement, lot lines and height of the top floor.
Todd Harrington told the crowd, “It’s too big. It’s too big…It’s too big.” Harrington, whose home is in the direct vicinity of the parking garage and building, stressed that he is in no way “anti-development…but there’s more to be done before we accept this.”
Most of the speakers were in agreement that the village commercial district nearest the train station is in dire need of revitalization. Elliott Sclar, of Stuyvesant Ave, took a broader view. “The issue for me is not about that building per se, it’s about the notion of zoning for just that one site and not thinking about what do we want this downtown to be like. I would like them to take a larger perspective on that, not to do it in a piecemeal reactionary way and instead perform systematic planning for what we want our downtown to be.”
Mayor Lorraine Walsh assured the crowd that there will be further public hearings.