Proposed Streetscape Project:
Sketches Now on Public View

by Judy Silberstein

(January 7, 2004) For close to two years, the Village Board has been studying, planning, and mulling over details of a proposed renovation for a section of Larchmont’s business district. Now, for the first time, the public got a look at drawings and heard details of the plan at the Village Board meeting on Monday, January 5. Trees feature prominently; new lights are friendly to pedestrians and the night sky; sidewalks are simple and curbs are granite in the proposed design.

County planner Suzette Lopane, who has been working with the Board since April of 2002, unveiled the drawings and explained what the Board has chosen for the three and a half block “U” included in the renovation. The Board is still aiming for summer of 2004 to start and finish work on the blocks that include: Chatsworth Avenue from Addison to the Boston Post Road; Post Road from Chatsworth to Manor Place; and Larchmont Avenue from the Post Road to Addison. The hope is to get construction completed during the relatively uncongested school vacation period.

Larchmont Avenue
Proposal for Renovating Larchmont Avenue from Addison to Post Road

The Board is also seeking to “establish a style palette that can be carried all around the Larchmont business district in the future,” explained Lopane. The palette includes a list of elements, including light fixtures, light poles, trashcans, tree wells, benches, sidewalks and curbing. If the Board and the community approve of the selections, the palette will be applied first to the pilot blocks and then to other areas that come up for renovation.

The trees are the most important element of the design, stressed Lopane. There will be more trees and more types of trees planted to supplement the existing oaks. Lopane is recommending the addition of flowering trees in specified locations and larger trees for spots away from overhead wires. Residents were not looking for major changes to the look and feel of the Village, said Trustee Liz Feld. Trustee Anne McAndrews would have liked to bury the wires. Maybe if the Village wins the Lotto, she commented, acceding that the costs were currently prohibitive.

Concrete Scoring
Proposal for Style of Concrete Scoring

The small area selected for renovation actually includes two separate projects supported by separate grants (federal and county) with assistance from two different planners. The Chatsworth Avenue project is being designed in conjunction with the firm of Cherbuliez/Munz and with financial support of a $100,000 federal grant. The Boston Post Road and Larchmont Avenue portion will be subsidized by a $150,000 grant from Westchester County’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Suzette Lopane’s services are part of the program. The Village will have to contribute additional funds, but the total costs have not yet been calculated.

A sample trashcan has been on display for months outside of Villa Maria’s Pizza on Chatsworth Avenue; the finalist light fixture has been hanging at the corner of Addison and Gilder Street for public review (see: Street Light). Since Monday, the street sketches have been on display in the lobby of Village Hall and the Board is soliciting feedback at their public meetings.

Bonnett Avenue Concerned With Lights

At the January 5 meeting, there were residents from Bonnett Avenue seeking information on the light poles planned for Chatsworth Avenue. They were concerned because their homes back on to the CVS parking lot where new lights have cropped up in the last few weeks.

“Our interest is in having an opportunity to evaluate and comment on what’s being proposed before any final decisions are made,” said Bonnett Avenue resident Joe Powers.

Mayor Ken Bialo noted that CVS had not received approval for the lights and that Suzette Lopane had been asked to evaluate the fixtures that had been installed. The Board would like the CVS lights to be in keeping with those selected for the rest of the block. Village Attorney Jim Staudt would also be checking on the situation.

The Chatsworth CVS store manager, Marvin Smith, was surprised to hear of the Bonnett residents’ concerns. It was his impression that Larchmont had approved the lights in association with CVS, he told the Gazette later in the week. Customers had been requesting lighting for the lots, particularly since the end of daylight savings time, and the lights are set to turn off thirty minutes after the store closes, at the request of the neighbors. He has received no complaints.

printer-friendly version Print This Article--For best results, highlight text, print selection
send to a friend Email this article