The Rye City Council approved a resolution Wednesday to remove a road from its official map, completing one of the final phases in the city's efforts to meet the demands of the county's affordable housing settlement.
The Council voted unanimously to de-map Edgar Place, a road right of way located near Cottage Street, where a proposed 22-unit development would include 18 affordable housing units.
City Planner Christian Miller said a right of way is delineated as a future area for possible municipal improvements. Edgar Place is currently defined as an "unimproved street."
In February 2009, Rye Cottage Holdings submitted an application to the city's Planning Commission to build a development on Cottage Street.
The company initially proposed an age-restricted development for people 55 and older, but the County requested that the age restriction be lifted, so that the potential development could meet federal requirements for affordable housing.
Since the street will never be improved as a road, Rye Cottage Holdings asked the city to de-map Edgar Place, so that it could move forward with its plan for affordable housing. Miller said removing the street from the city's official map was the "last piece of the local approvals in terms of getting this project underway."
"Doing all that makes us eligible for the housing allocation plan, in terms of Rye getting some credit towards that settlement," Miller said.
Rye City is one of about 31 communities that would have to build affordable housing within the next seven years, according to the terms of a $50 million settlement Westchester County brokered with federal authorities in August 2009. The settlement requires the county to build 750 affordable housing units.
The county was essentially forced to settle the lawsuit, which was brought against it by the Anti-Discrimination Center, because it stood to lose up to $300 million. The ADC's lawsuit argued that Westchester was in violation of a deal that grants counties federal money as long as these municipalities make thorough efforts to further fair housing through anti-discrimination laws and affordable housing development.
As a result of the lawsuit, the county was required to devise a plan for affordable housing, but federal authorities rejected the county's initial plan on Feb. 12, saying that it lacked details about how Westchester would perform outreach to minorities and how the 750 affordable housing units would be distributed throughout the 31 communities.
Rye would have to follow strict guidelines in order to meet the affordable housing criteria set forth by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The income of individuals and families who qualify for these units would have to be 80 percent of the median household income for Westchester, which is about $60,000 for individuals and $85,000 for families, Mayor Doug French said during the meeting.
Miller said the housing units would have to be regulated for a 40-year period, meaning sale and rental rates would have to be maintained at affordable levels for that duration.