Pleasantville Decision On Benchmark Proposal Postponed

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A decision on the Benchmark Senior Living facility, which has been proposed next to the United Methodist Church, has been postponed indefinitely due to the state's concerns over a retaining wall.
A decision on the Benchmark Senior Living facility, which has been proposed next to the United Methodist Church, has been postponed indefinitely due to the state's concerns over a retaining wall. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Pleasantville has postponed a decision on the Benchmark Senior Living facility proposed on Bedford Road after receiving new information from the state Department of Transportation.

The Village Board had scheduled a meeting Monday evening to vote on a proposed zoning change for the property next to the United Methodist Church where the development has been proposed. Village officials received notice from the DOT Monday concerning a retaining wall on the property. The wall sits on a state right-of-way, and Benchmark had been planning on cutting into the wall in order to create a curbing driveway up to the facility.

According to Mayor Peter Scherer, the DOT indicated that it might take the position that the wall sits on state land and would have to be moved to private land.

"If they took that position that would require the owner of the site to cut back the hill and move that wall approximately 10 feet and rebuild it deeper into the site, and at the same time build a sidewalk," Scherer said.

The Village Board has been reviewing the proposed 87-unit development for more than a year. Earlier this year the board approved a declaration under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) determing that the proposed development would not have a significant impact on the environment. Scherer said that if the wall were to be moved, then it would change the site plan and the SEQRA review would need to be re-opened.

"Certainly the potential impacts of moving that wall would affect the applicant's attitude about the project, potentially, but they certainly would affect the site plan and a whole series of other things. It may turn out that DOT is got a different attitude about that at the end of a discussion," Scherer said.

"Our team certainly wants to get to the bottom of this issue and we're confident that we'll be able to do so promptly," said David Steinmetz, an attorney for Benchmark.

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