MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Vince Ferrandino, principal of planning firm Ferrandino and Associates, said that 39 out of 67 buildings in the South Fourth Avenue corridor are “blighted,” according to a study by his group and the Mount Vernon Planning Department.
Ferrandino said the properties, which make up 58 percent of an eight-acre area that was studied in June and July, are ranked in four categories from good to deteriorating. He said 28 buildings in the study area owe back taxes, adding that some properties in the area have been acquired by the city through foreclosure or condemnation. Ferrandino said the back taxes range from $1,000 to $700,000.
The area that was studied is bounded on the north by East Third Street, on the south by East Fourth Street, on the east by South Third Avenue and on the west by South Fifth Avenue, in addition to several parcels between South Fifth and South Sixth avenues with frontage on East Third Street.
“It’s possible that some of the taxes have been paid since July and some of the building violations have been remediated,” Ferrandino said. “We are also looking at the zoning to see if the existing use complies with the zoning. There are a number of properties that are nonconforming legal, but also some illegal.”
Planning Commissioner Charlene Indelicato said that “blight” is a heavy word that nobody likes, adding that it is a legal designation that must be applied to make an area eligible for urban renewal funds.
“There are brownstones in this area that are beautiful, and we don’t want to do anything to them,” Indelicato said. “We have an area we can expand upon.”
Ferrandino said that preparing a draft plan of the blight study is only the beginning. If approved by the City Council, an environmental impact statement would be prepared as well as a traffic study.
“We are going to seek private developers to come in to develop these properties,” Ferrandino said. “This is probably two years down the road if it happens.”
Click here to download the blight study.