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Zoning Change Would Allow Approximately 136 Units
By Tina Traster
Clarkstown’s Town Council has issued a referral to the Town Planning Board to consider a zone change on a portion of the former Rockland Country Day School site to potentially prepare it for affordable senior housing units in the future.
On Wednesday night, planning board members will review the request to change a portion of 7-acres from R-40 (single-family homes on one-acre lots) to R-22 (single-family homes on half-acre lots).
Clarkstown’s updated Comprehensive Plan, which will be unveiled in April, calls for development of a broad variety of housing units for seniors at all income levels, lifestyles and levels of care. The average cost of assisted living in and around New City is $4,978 per month compared to the national median of $3,495, according to caring.com.
The town is free to develop the land as it pleases but if it engages a developer for senior housing, the developer will need a special permit. The special permit would allow up to 136 units on a property situated on a state or county road. The code allows for 20 units for acre for senior housing built by a nonprofit; the number falls to 16 units for a for-profit developer.
Affordable units based on today’s county medium income would mean units renting for about $1666 per month.
The town has not tapped a developer yet, nor has it made clear what it intends to do with the entire 22-acre 32-34 Kings Highway campus, which it purchased for $4.4 million in 2018. However, at least one source said the town is considering leasing, or leasing-to-buy the existing buildings on site.
The Clarkstown Planning Board has granted preliminary approval for a special permit to a developer who intends to build a senior housing complex on the former Schimpf Farm in West Nyack despite concerns from neighboring residents and members of the Rockland County Department of Planning. The plan is now before the Town’s Architectural Historic Review Board.
The Apfelbaum Family Ltd Partnership (AFLP), which for years has met with resistance to developing Buckley Farm on North Main Street in New City, is trying to build senior housing plus 22 single-family homes. The developer is seeking approval to subdivide the 30-acre site into 22 single-family building lots, and for a separate lot to develop six buildings with 195 senior housing units. There is likely to be continued opposition to building on the environmentally sensitive parcel that includes wetlands, floodplains, and a tributary to the west branch of the Hackensack River.
If the project is greenlighted, Buckley Farm would bring the tally of planning senior housing units in Clarkstown to nearly 500. The Town of Clarkstown’s updated Comprehensive Plan, which is still in the works, has set a goal of adding 700 units of senior housing to the town. In 2014, Clarkstown amended its zoning code to allow for a total of 700 units of senior citizen housing town-wide, subject to a raft of conditions including that development does not cause traffic congestion, does not adversely affect the character of, or property values in the area, and that it does not negatively impact water supply, waste disposal, or any other public health and safety issues.
Rockland Country Day School closed after 60 years due to falling enrollment and financial woes and declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The announcement came shortly after school officials signed a five-year lease with Clarkstown, with the school owing $125,000 this year.
In 2019, Clarkstown reached an agreement to buy out its lease with Rockland Country Day School. Under the terms set by Marianne O’Toole, the trustee in the bankruptcy case, Clarkstown paid $35,000, which was distributed to the school’s creditors.