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Peter Parsons. Photo via: The Journal News.

By Mark Lungariello | The Journal News

May 6, 2015.- Lewisboro owes Westchester County taxpayers half a million dollars, a coalition of housing activists contends – and it’s time County Executive Rob Astorino looks to collect.

In 2003, the county chipped in $1 million of the $4.2 million that the town needed to buy what is now the Old Field Preserve. The agreement said Lewisboro had to make a good-faith effort to build hundreds of units of affordable housing by September 2013 or pay the county $500,000.

The Workforce Housing Coalition asked the county executive in a letter to finally enforce that provision. But Lewisboro Supervisor Peter Parsons said the town met its “good faith” obligation, even though few significant multi-unit developments have been proposed since 2003.

“People haven’t exactly been knocking down our door to build housing in our town,” said Parsons, who came into office after the deal was signed. “To try to paint us as a community that doesn’t give a damn or is unfriendly in my mind is pretty outrageous.”

The town was one of several communities that received the Legacy Program funding from the county, which helped pay for parks and open space projects, in exchange for agreeing to build affordable housing.

A county Affordable Housing Allocation plan recommended that Lewisboro build 121 units, and a revised recommendation said it should build 239 units. Eight units were built in the 1990s but no units toward the goal were constructed between 2000 and 2014.

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