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Residents Thrilled Mount Vernon Denies Variances

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. — Residents of the Lorraine Terrace, Vernon Woods and Oakwood Heights sections of Mount Vernon are pleased that the Zoning Board of Appeals rejected an application from Bayview Realty on Thursday night to build an 18-unit apartment building at 100 Lorraine Terrace.

The board, saying the building didn't fit the character of the neighborhood and the financial hardship the developer experienced was self-imposed, rejected eight variances that would have cleared the way for construction.

Resident Jane Curtis of Vernon Woods said she couldn't be happier the idea was rejected as her bedroom window would be 20 feet from the new building.

Curtis said environmental concerns were among the reasons she didn't want the building there. She said that, if the building were constructed, it would result in many trees being taken down and more storm water runoff, which could potentially cause flooding.

"The site is a ravine covered with impervious surfaces, so there would be no place for the water to go," Curtis said. "The developer would basically be strip mining through the ravine if they were to build this. It seems there was nothing in place to protect us from environmental pollution."

Resident Derickson Lawrence, who is chair of the Westchester County Homeowners Coalition, said although the application was rejected, it is still the first step in a process that has seen various developers try to build on the property over the past decade.

"It seems to be a recurring theme," Lawrence said. "We need to find a permanent solution."

Resident Brenda Campbell said if the building were built it would significantly affect her quality of life as it would have blocked the sun from her windows in the Vernon Woods Cooperative building.

Resident Carol Smith said it would have been inappropriate to build an 18-unit building on one acre. "There would be too much density and more traffic, which would change the character of the community," Smith said.

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