Wednesday, November 14, 2007

GUEST COMMENTARY: MAYOR JAY LEON ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING

To the Greenburgh Town Board:

It is my understanding that the SHORE PILOT proposal is on the agenda of the Greenburgh Town Board for this evening, Wednesday November 14th. Unfortunately I cannot attend the meeting. Please permit me to express my personal support for the PILOT in writing.

The Village of Ardsley's sole relationship with SHORE has been to approve its building permits and variances. The Board has not expressed any position on the foreclosure or the PILOT. Our financial interest in the project is very limited - all the village hopes to gain is $14,000 in back taxes (which does not include penalties and fines, which we would have received had the property been bought by a non-tax exempt purchaser) and 28% of the PILOT payments.

My support for the SHORE project and the PILOT is therefore based on my belief that it is the right thing to do. The building will contribute two affordable units to Ardsley's allotment, as assigned by the County. It will be a small step toward achieving the worthwhile goal of increasing the number of affordable housing units in the county. Since the tenants of the property will be paying rent each month, I see this as an opportunity to assist lower income workers in making a better life for their children.

SHORE has shown Ardsley its budget and they have assured us that the only way they can make the project financially viable is to limit their property taxes. To date, they have demonstrated that they are a reputable organization that operates with integrity to support their laudable goals. They have adhered to all of our zone code requirements without complaint or request for special treatment.

The $5,000 SHORE has offered to pay as part of the PILOT is actually more than what the previous owner would have been paying had they not been delinquent on their property taxes. Furthermore, it is debatable whether SHORE is obligated to pay any taxes at all, in light of their tax exempt status. It is therefore to their credit that they are offering to make payments rather than to pursue a fully tax-exempt strategy.

Based on the merits of the project, I therefore highly support the proposed PILOT program and I encourage the Town Board to approve it this evening.

Sincerely,

Jay Leon
Mayor of Ardsley

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15 comments:

Good Statement said...

One can always count on Mayor Leon to say and do the right thing.

project needs answers said...

the blog post is silent on the issue of who is going to live there. the idea of affordable housing was to make it financially possible for teachers, firefighters or other similiar muncipal workers to live in greenburgh/ardsley (so called "workforce housing"). further, is this property otherwise leaving the tax rolls? granted its just two units, but with the town also eyeing the waterwheel property in ardsley for affordable housing, these questions will come up again and we are entitled to answers. one might also ask what ardsley taxpayers are getting from the town of greenburgh (outside of the vague notion of "doing the right thing") for subsidizing a property that will provide fire, police, library, school (property is in ardsley school district) and all other municipal services to its residents. again - the two units are not the real issue here, the issue is what are the towns plans down the road for much larger properties such as waterwheel. village (or town) taxpayers are not running a charity.

Anonymous said...

Dear 10:00 am.

You are wrong. Town taxpayers are expected to run a charity for the villages.

Anonymous said...

Why should this be a two family house and I cannot convert my house into a multi dwelling?I need assistance in trying to live in my area.

Anonymous said...

I do not think it is fair to have multi dwelling for affordable housing and I as a long paying tax person living in Greenburgh cannot develope my home into a legal two family home.Tell me what is the difference.
For affordable housing the zoning laws the variences and what ever else is needed to build are all waved.
WHY?????

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Bloggers:

I will attempt to address a number of comments raised in prior postings.

To 10:00 AM:

1. A explained at the last Town Council meeting by the representatives of SHORE, the SHORE Board and SHORE Board alone makes the determination of who will reside in these units. The Village of Ardsley and the Town of Greenburgh will have no direct say.

To summarize, the SHORE Board looks at any "ties" that possible families have to the community, for example, did they grow up in the community, do they work in the community,if elderly, maybe they have lived in the community and are being forced out of their homes by higher taxes, etc.

2. Ardsley is getting nothing in return. Period end of statement.

3. The only "charity" here is SHORE. Both the Village of Ardsley and the Ardsley School District will be receiving considerably less than if this property were developed and remained on the tax rolls.

To 11:17 AM

The property lies within the Village of Ardsley and is governed by the zoning code and building code requirements of the Village of Ardsley. If you live in any other part of the Town, whether that is a Village or unincorporated Greenburgh, you must take your "grievance" to that governing Board. This property has not been granted any variances by the Village to the best of my knowledge.

To 11:21 AM

See the above comment. Where do you live? If not in the Village of Ardsley, your comment is not applicable. No zoning variances granted. Do you know where this property is? It sits on a highly undesirable plot of land right on state highway route 9A. This road has traffic 24/7 365. It has no front yard as the front access is paved. The lot is about 5,400 sq ft. To the front sits the Big Apple Motor Inn, which has floodlights on all night. This establishment has also been used as a temporary homeless shelter by the County of Westchester. (Note to the Valhalla School District - no special payments to the best of my knowledge to the Ardsley School District). To the rear, about 100 yards away or less, sits the New York State Thruway. Want to live next to a major highway? I live a good distance away and I can hear the trucks and traffic at night when my windows are open. This is no "prime" real estate.

Michael Kolesar
Former Trustee, Village of Ardsley

Anonymous said...

REgardless of what your saying Mike it's still in Greenburgh.
I live in Edgemont and I am not permitted to have a two family home.
I could use the extra monthly rent to pay for the taxes .
I have to think about selling my home because of the taxes going up so much.The mortgage,electricity,heating and all the taxes ,school, fire,and town make it impossible for senior citizens to live here in Greenburgh.
Is that fair.
No one seems to care about the seniors in Greenburgh.

no justification for Westhelp money to VSD said...

Note to the Valhalla School District - no special payments to the best of my knowledge to the Ardsley School District).

Mr. Feiner. Mr. Morgan, Ms. Brown - did you read this important comment by Mr. Kolesar regarding the Shore property?

Ms. Juettner - same question. Ms. Juettner - are you there??

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Anonymous 3:25 PM,

While we may all be part of one Town, one of the reasons that Villages were created was to control their own land use. Also remeber, that the last village created in the Town was created in 1910 (Elmsford). Had other parts of unincorporated Greenburgh incorporated as they developed, they could have set their own land use rules. Finally, one has to look at this particular property. Go to Google earth. It's pretty much in a commercial zone. Ardsley does not generally allow two family homes in other parts of the Village. This is an unusual situation, but was establihed this way back in the mid 1990's if I recall the date of the last major rezoning study and ammendments.

Hope this helps.

false advertising said...

This is not affordable housing. This is low (or no) income housing for the homeless.
This is false advertising.

The village and the town need affordable housing - this is not.

Anonymous said...

Who is telling the truth please step foward.
Listening to the speakers at last night meeting I find that this will be a welfare house.
This does not sound like affordable housing.
How could the amount be five thousand dollars a year.
Affordable housing means that the person is working this seems like it will be a welfare receipent.

Anonymous said...

Mike, If you are encouraging Edgemont or any other are (Hartsale?) to incorporate, can we count on your support should you chose to run for Town office?

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Anonymous 4:21PM,

I am not nor will I be in the future a candidate for elected office in the Town of Greenburgh, either at the town level or Village level, unless the Town were to decide to make the position of Town Comptroller an elected position.

As to any area of unincorporated Greenburgh deciding to incorporate, the residents and voters of said area do not need my support but a sufficient vote of the community in accordance with the laws of the State, and since I am not a laywer nor knowledgeable in what those requirements are, I will offer no further comments.

Anonymous said...

It would be great if the unincorporated sections would incorporate as three villages. Disperse the town's resources evenly to the three new villages, and then everyone would be on equal footing. In the current structure, no one benefits.

Anonymous said...

Can I ask a question ? Why are the taxes for the Hartsdale Fire Department so high ?

They dont even respond to EMS calls ???

Anyone ???