As we glance at the financial landscape throughout Westchester on the very first anniversary of the arrival of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the County, the collateral hurt to businesses and economic improvement is a stark truth. It’s quick to point to both equally specific examples and complete groups of enterprises that have endured various degrees of damage, together with entire collapse. In what everyone would characterize as a gloomy financial time, finding vivid spots is hard. But it is not unachievable.
A very good illustration is the town of Yorktown, the place initially-phrase Supervisor Matt Slater and the Town Board, supported by the town’s arranging and zoning boards and aided by the experienced organizing staff members, have taken a ahead-searching, energetic, out-of-the-box, go get ‘em approach to rejuvenating the town’s economic base. And 12 months later, the attempts are bearing fruit.
Utilizing a modestly budgeted advertising and marketing campaign concentrating on enterprises and professional genuine estate brokers both of those in decrease Westchester and New York Town, the town introduced a campaign saying that it was “open for business” and would operate with businesses and investors intrigued in locating in the city. The focus was on discovering new buyers and new strategies for underutilized qualities, some of which had sat empty or just about so for the far better portion of two many years.
At the exact time, Supervisor Slater looked for mechanisms that would end result in resourceful suggestions for fatigued outdated attributes. Past January, he arrived at out to the Business Council of Westchester to solicit our concepts. We met with him at town hall and among the numerous thoughts, we talked over the concept of “overlay zoning.” Underneath this strategy to adapting current zoning in focused regions in need to have of redevelopment, new financial lifestyle has been effectively released in municipalities throughout the place.
Matt was not only intrigued by the concept, but in meeting with Organizing Director John Tegeder, uncovered that the notion was currently on the textbooks. It experienced been adopted by the Town Board a 10 years before but was hardly ever applied.
With this in brain, Supervisor Slater and the current Town Board got to do the job. The Arranging Board and section were questioned to at first emphasis on two enterprise hamlets in the 40-sq.-mile town—Yorktown Heights and Jefferson Valley—and to delineate the parameters of proposed overlay zones for just about every. When in position, the revised zoning would permit multiple utilizes that could be proposed inside of those people areas this kind of as residential and retail.
Slater achieved out directly—often repeatedly—to residence house owners with underutilized properties, generating them aware that the city wanted to see new tips and financial investment and was setting the phase to make that feasible.
This 7 days, some of the most important authentic estate news in the city and throughout northern Westchester in many years came when the house owners of the extensive languishing Yorktown Environmentally friendly Procuring Center in the heart of the Yorktown Heights hamlet offered a multi-million-greenback reinvestment plan. It involves replacing the 50-calendar year-aged retail heart with a new household-retail elaborate as well as opening a new grocery store exactly where the previous Food items Emporium has sat empty for approximately 15 years. All of this new financial investment is possible many thanks to the overlay zoning strategy.
The Organization Council of Westchester applauds Supervisor Slater and the City Board for their vision and willingness to transfer aggressively with a put up-pandemic long run in head. When it arrives to advertising economic renewal and re-development, we want our county and municipalities to be adaptable, innovative, and progressive. Early in the pandemic, communities like Yorktown appeared at what they could do to support guidance organizations and work, and from this emerged ideas for expedited approvals and eliminating to persuade outdoor dining, sidewalk product sales and a lot extra. And it is doing work.
New strategies and variations in strategy inevitably raise some resident concerns. This is not unreasonable. The crucial is to preserve the local community very well educated and really encourage constructive enter, although retaining the all round goals. Assuring a thriving forward route demands a willingness to try new ways.
The Business Council of Westchester is delighted to have furnished ideas and direction in Yorktown’s attempts and we look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with the city in its artistic approaches to economic growth.
Jon Ravitz is the vice president/COO of the Organization Council of Westchester.