Locals Dispute Size of Pleasantville Assisted Living Facility

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Jim Ryan, an engineer with the Benchmark group, discussed the proposed assisted living facilty adjacent to the United Methodist Church in Pleasantville.
Jim Ryan, an engineer with the Benchmark group, discussed the proposed assisted living facilty adjacent to the United Methodist Church in Pleasantville. Photo Credit: Robert Michelin

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Of all the various factors involved with the proposed assisted living facility in Pleasantville, there was one factor that stood above the rest for neighbors and residents in the village.

The size.

"This is tremendously big," said Pleasantville resident Bill Stoller, who lives adjacent to where the building would be located. "You can fit about six of the churches into the footprint of this building."

Benchmark Assisted Living, a company that provides assisted living facilities for senior citizens, is in tentative agreement with the United Methodist Church in Pleasantville to purchase 3.5 acres of land from the church for an undisclosed amount to build a facility adjacent to the church. According to representatives with Benchmark, the facility would be four stories tall on the side of the building that faces Bedford Road, two stories in the rear, and could accommodate around 87 people living in the building. The facility would also have around 30 workers on duty at a time, with a total of around 100 employees.

The group made an informal presentation to the Pleasantville Board of Trustees as well as about two-dozen residents at a public work session Monday night at Village Hall. David Steinmetz, a lawyer representing Benchmark, said the facility would not necessarily affect the surrounding residents.

"These types of facilities have very little impact on the area," Steinmetz said. "They're generally very quiet uses."

Will Cook, a representative with Benchmark, said the Pleasantville location was chosen because of demand in the area.

"I understand that Pleasantville has a long history and there's a lot of people who are seniors in this area who would like to stay here," Cook said.

Stoller said the proposed type of building doesn’t fit the dynamic of the residential area.

"The entire area is half-acre, single family homes only," Stoller said, who lives on Maple Hill Avenue, adjacent to where the facility would be located. "This is a big change."

Benchmark has not yet submitted a formal application to the Pleasantville Board of Trustees.  For the process to go through, a zoning code change would be required by the village to allow such a facility to be located in this area.

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It is astounding that such a large institutional building would be built in Pleasantville. It is much larger than anything else that exists in Pleasantville, it is completely out of character with the single family homes in the area and even worse it is being driven by a lawyer who wants to create a floating zone. A floating zone is a process to avoid the existing zoning by creating in effect an overlay zone which can be applied ANYWHERE in the village and will allow other developers to come in, buy out the homes and create another institutional building. What is the benefit for Pleasantville ? It won't make a dent in taxes, it will create a lot of traffic at 8 am and 5 pm when over 40+ staff come into the village and with residents of 88 and older, it will create a lot of pressure on our local ambulance services. Even worse, the company that wants to do this has sold 95% of every property it owns to a REIT whose bottom line is the bottom line. And nobody really seems to know much about this.