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Yorktown Chief: Retail Project Would Strain Police

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The Yorktown police chief says his department is not equipped to adequately handle the projected annual calls for service from a proposed 200,000-square-foot retail development on Route 202.

In an April 26 letter to an environmental company assisting State Land Corp. in its efforts to rezone about half of the 100-acre parcel from four-acre residential (R-160) to commercial (C-3), Police Chief Daniel McMahon said, "The proposed State Land Corp. project will have a negative impact on the policing of the entire Town of Yorktown."

McMahon said the project, which is proposed to feature a 140,000-square-foot big-box store and five other stores, ranging in size from 10,000 to 20,000 square feet each, would result in 110 calls for police service annually and about 80 police investigations.

He also said increased traffic along Route 202 and surrounding roadways would create a need for traffic-control equipment and dedicated manpower in the area on weekends and busy shopping seasons.

"The proposed State Land Corp. site will also generate additional quality of life calls for service from the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as vehicular traffic issues," McMahon said.

The Yorktown Police Department currently has 55 police officers and seven civilian staff personnel and is the sole police entity responsible for 38,000 residents and businesses within 40 square miles.

McMahon said an audit conducted by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services in 1996 determined the department was understaffed, but staffing has remained constant for 30 years.

Town Board member Nick Bianco said the police budget is about one-third of the town's annual budget. He said each officer costs the town about $150,000 annually in salary and benefits.

"I'm glad that the chief did an analysis so we can make a proper decision," Bianco said. "You have to have an analysis. It's the only way to know what these things mean and what the impact will be."

State Land Corp. is awaiting a decision from the Town Board on its rezoning application. The board has sought input from numerous state, county and municipal agencies for recommendations, all of which were expected this week.

In the rear of the mountain-like property across from McDonald's is more than 50 acres that will be dedicated to Yorktown as open space abutting the Sylvan Glen Nature Preserve .

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