Village of Pelham board accepts draft impact statement for Pelham House apartments, other downtown changes


Artist’s rendering of the proposed municipal center for the Village of Pelham.

The Village of Pelham Board of Trustees voted unanimously June 28 to accept the final draft generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) for its downtown projects, a key step toward the village granting final approval for the Pelham House apartment building.

The GEIS is a review of the environmental impacts of the village government’s “downtown restoration initiatives” and fulfills the requirements laid out in the State Environmental Quality Review Act. The initiatives include the apartment tower, a new municipal center and a five-year extension of the Business Development Floating Zone (BDFZ).

Under a deal the village cut with Pelham House LLC, the developer is proposing to construct a five-story rental building at Fifth Avenue and Third Street (201 Fifth Ave.), as well as the new municipal center to house village hall and the village police and fire stations. The projects would, in part, use village-owned land and the construction of the municipal center would be entirely funded by Pelham House LLC.

The new village hall would be on the former Capital One bank site at 200 Fifth Avenue.

Having accepted the finalized version of the GEIS will allow the village board to adopt the statement at its next meeting on July 12.  If the board votes to adopt the final draft of the GEIS, it will then need to circulate it for 10 days before any action can be taken. 

“What happens is, even though there is no process for review, it does give interested and involved agencies the opportunity to see what the process has been, to make sure that it has been followed correctly,” said said Nanette Bourne, a director with Sam Schwartz LLC, which wrote the impact statement. “And there are occasions where an interested or involved agency will contact the lead agency to ask a question or get clarification, but there is no public hearing required, there is no formal comment and response process.” 

The board also decided to extend the period of time that businesses are allowed to use their parking lots for outdoor dining. The permissions were originally granted as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I think it’s really helpful for the restaurants to be able to have these outdoor spaces,” said Mayor Chance Mullen. “I think it’s great for people to be able to enjoy these outdoor spaces.  I also know there have been concerns raised by at least one nearby resident for one of the restaurants.”

Mullen said the resident complained about the noise outdoor dining creates, claiming a restaurant was playing music outside and creating a disturbance. “I have spoken with that resident, and they are looking forward to this ending, primarily because the dining being close to their property,” Mullen said.

Extending parking-lot dining in perpetuity would require rezoning certain areas of the village. Instead, the board decided to allow the outdoor areas until the end of the season, aiming to reassess the situation then.