Fact vs Fiction – old

Unfortunately, some are actively working to spread misinformation about the Underhill Farm project and misleading the public.

Here are the facts:

 

Traffic

Fiction:
Some have said that Underhill Farm will create added traffic congestion along Underhill Avenue and Route 118.

THIS IS FICTION.

FACT:
Underhill Farm will help mitigate existing traffic congestion at the intersection of Rte. 118 and Underhill Avenue.  After working with a Yorktown engineer to conduct an extensive analysis and develop a traffic mitigation plan, Underhill Farm will invest $630,000 in new signals, an ADA-compliant crosswalk, a connection to Beaveridge Senior Apartments and a new turning lane.  With more than 80% of the new housing specially-designed for seniors, Underhill Farms will produce far less additional vehicular activity that other similarly-sized projects.

 


 

Density

Fiction:
Some have said that Underhill Farm is sidestepping town zoning requirements to allow the construction of many more housing units than the surrounding neighborhoods.

THIS IS FICTION.

FACT:
Underhill Farm includes a mix of 165 townhouses, condominiums and apartments, with 135 specifically-designed for seniors.  With a density of 12 units per acre, Underhill Farm is consistent with the surrounding area.  In fact, Underhill Farm’s density is much less than those to the north and the east, with densities of more than 20 units per acre, including Beaveridge Senior Apartments.  The project’s engineering and design team has engaged the Yorktown planning department to ensure that Underhill Farm conforms with existing and proposed state and local regulations.

 


 

Commercial Use

Fiction:
Some have criticized the mixed-use elements of Underhill Farm, instead suggesting that any commercial use on the property will create negative effects for the business community and the surrounding area.  In fact, a recent letter-to-the-editor in a local newspaper even suggested that “the residents of Yorktown could expect to see a drive-through Taco Bell, KFC, Krispy Kreme restaurant, a McDonald’s McMansion, or worse on the Soundview property.”  

THIS IS FICTION.

FACT:
The plan for Underhill Farm includes a cafe in the newly-renovate Underhill House that will be open to the public.  The project has received support from the local business community, including the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce, and may also include space for medical professionals and a restaurant or delicatessen.  Despite the wild and baseless claims made by those trying to malign the project, historic preservation will be the priority for Underhill Farm and drive-through chain restaurants and other inappropriate uses have no place on the property.  The amenities are designed to be a benefit for Underhill residents, expand the local tax base and create a self-sustaining ecosystem allowing the park and Underhill House to be first-class facilities that are available to the public at no cost to taxpayers.

 

 


 

SEQRA Environmental Review

Fiction:
Some have said that Underhill Farm will be exempted from state environmental review requirements. 

THIS IS FICTION.

FACT:
There is no mechanism for a development project to be exempted from the SEQRA process.  In fact, the project will be subject to additional environmental reviews because it’s located within the New York City watershed.

 

 


 

Project Timeline

Fiction:
Bogus and disparaging claims have been made about the acquisition of the property and the development of the Underhill Farm project. 

THESE CLAIMS ARE TOTALLY FALSE.

FACT:
In late 2019 and early 2020, Unicorn Contracting was reviewing investment opportunities in Yorktown because of its belief in the town’s great potential.  In fact, Unicorn was in active discussions and negotiations about other properties in the town.  On February 3, 2020, Unicorn officials saw the segment on News 12 about the closure of the Soundview Preparatory School.  After becoming aware of of this opportunity, Unicorn officials immediately knew this had the potential to be exactly what they were seeking.

Shortly thereafter, Unicorn engaged in initial conversations with Soundview to purchase the property and also spoke with town officials to let them know of its interest in the property. Throughout the course of its negotiations with Soundview, Unicorn kept the town abreast of its plans.

On July 28, 2020, the town announced its intention to pass legislation creating overlay zones for the town’s business hamlets: Crompond, Jefferson Valley, Mohegan Lake, Shrub Oak and Yorktown Heights.  At that time, town officials said it would “enable the creation of live/work retail-residential spaces and encourage the construction of diversified housing options and new economic development opportunities.” Town officials said there would “be a focus on pedestrian and bike-friendly streets that foster a downtown walkability.”  This is exactly what Unicorn was pursuing for Underhill Farms.

On August 19, 2020, Soundview filed for bankruptcy in federal court.  The court authorized the sale of the Soundview property for $2.85 million to Unicorn Contracting.  The sale was approved by a federal judge—allowing the school to repay its creditors, including parents who had prepaid tuition for their children.

Following the sale of the property, the project development team worked to complete plans for the project.  Throughout this process, the project development team shared information with the town planning department about its vision for the property.

On November 13th, the Yorktown Town Board passed legislation providing the framework for new overlay zones, which would afford the town flexibility in reviewing proposals in designated areas and intended to stimulate growth and spur economic development.  A pre-application was filed with the town planning department on December 9, 2020.

 

 


 

Public Hearing

Fiction:
Inexplicably, some have said that there will be no opportunity for the public to weigh in on the plan for Underhill Farm. 

THIS IS FICTION.

FACT:
Multiple public hearings will be required before Underhill Farm can proceed.  Further, any questions about the project can be submitted here.