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Mount Pleasant Quiet On Affordable Housing Front

VALHALLA, N.Y. – Despite being included as a town required to build affordable housing under the county settlement, Town Supervisor Joan Maybury said Mount Pleasant currently does not have any plan to comply with the settlement.

Maybury said that she and members of the Town Board will sit still as the appeals process in the settlement takes place.

“It’s ongoing litigation and we will continue to monitor the situation,” Maybury said.

As part of its affordable housing settlement with the federal government, Westchester County is required to spend nearly $52 million. Under the agreement the county must build a total of 750 units of affordable housing in 31 communities that have been identified as "majority white." The county is required to advertise the housing in communities that are "majority nonwhite," but there is no requirement about the race of the people who will ultimately live in the housing. The only restriction on those who would own or rent the properties is that they meet affordable housing financial guidelines. Mount Pleasant is one of the 31 communities.

Maybury said that offering affordable housing to potential residents in Mount Pleasant has never been an issue and there is no timetable for instituting a new housing plan.

“Due to the zoning provisions in our town code, we have always offered accessory apartments as affordable housing options to residents,” Maybury said.

“Accessory apartments” are apartments added to single-family homes. According to Jacqui Koenig, a representative of the Mount Pleasant Zoning Board of Appeals, there are about 200 accessory apartments in the town.

To be approved for an accessory apartment, a homeowner must meet all the requirements listed in Chapter 218, Section 36 of the town code . Basically, the code allows one apartment to be added to an owner-occupied, single-family home. The apartment generally cannot exceed 25 percent of the space and, “to the maximum extent feasible,” must not alter the exterior appearance of the home as a single-family residence. A permit for the apartment must be approved by the town Planning Board, and the apartment must be reinspected by the building inspector every three years.

The code says such apartments are intended “to meet the special housing needs of single persons and couples of moderate income, both young and old, including relatives and friends of families presently residing in Mount Pleasant.”

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