Planning Study Aims To Encourage Investment, Enhance Design

North Avenue is New Rochelle’s backbone, serving as a primary traffic conveyor, a gateway to multiple neighborhoods, and a sizable commercial corridor. Public streetscape improvements completed around Iona and planned for the remainder of North Avenue have helped upgrade the previously neglected appearance of the area, but additional private investment is needed to help North Avenue achieve its potential. Most planners agree that North Avenue’s current zoning is antiquated and deters revitalization.

As you may recall from previous bulletins, to address this challenge the City retained the planning firm AKRF, which was tasked with examining zoning and development standards on the North Avenue corridor and recommending changes that could stimulate beneficial and sustainable investment.

Last week, AKRF presented its proposals to the Council. In brief, AKRF recommends that zoning be amended to permit mixed-use development and to allow maximum heights of three to four stories, with a maximum floor-area-ratio (FAR) of 2.0. For larger properties, AKRF recommends the possibility of a density-bonus, available purely at the City Council’s discretion, that could permit construction of up to six or twelve stories, with an FAR of 3.0 or 4.0. AKRF also makes recommendations concerning public parking and transportation.

Download AKRF’s power point presentation to the City Council.

Some of AKRF’s recommendations will likely be embraced as common-sense, consensus measures. Others will surely stimulate lively debate. I will withhold judgment until our staff has thoroughly analyzed pros and cons and until residents, particularly from neighborhoods abutting North Avenue, have had an opportunity to weigh in.

Regardless of the eventual outcome, it is exciting and encouraging for North Avenue to receive the thoughtful attention it deserves.