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Regarding Harmon re-zoning: Mr. Murray now has concerns about mandated affordable housing and believes that the village can exempt a special permit based on negative tax implications; this is not allowed however, under NYS law and could prove problematic with HUD in the future.
8/26 Gazette Letter
The Harmon Commercial Development Committee (as it was called at the
time) delivered its final Harmon zoning change recommendations to then
Mayor Schmidt on November 17, 2008. Since that time Westchester County
unexpectedly lost the widely publicized Anti-Discrimination lawsuit and
is now obligated under a settlement to build 750 affordable and
subsidized housing units in the next few years.
Mandated affordable housing can wreak havoc on the residential property
and school tax equation, particularly in a village like Croton with a
very small commercial tax base.
On October 12, 2005, then Governor Pataki signed the Affordable Housing
Property Tax Assessment Bill into law. This law requires local
assessors to assess subsidized housing projects under the Income Method
approach, excluding tax credits, subsidized mortgage financing, and
project grants. On January 7, 2008, the Erie County Supreme Court
applied this statute for the first time to a case involving a 24-unit
subsidized housing development which resulted in a reduction in tax
assessment from $220,000 to just $6,158.
I am a firm believer that providing zoning incentives for market rate
mixed use development is the correct approach for attracting investment
to Harmon. However, I recognize that the Anti-Discrimination
Settlement, coupled with the Affordable Housing Property Tax Assessment
Law discussed above has exponentially increased the chances of mixed use
development that will not cover its own municipal and school costs.
Any new development that does not cover its own costs increases the tax
burden for everyone else and runs counter to the intentions of the
Harmon zoning change recommendations.
As a result, I propose leaving the mixed use incentives (.8 FAR, 3rd
story in roofline, etc) in the Harmon Zoning Law but having them be
subject to a Special Permit by the Village Board. This will give the
Village Board the legal right to examine the tax implications (as well
as traffic, parking and other concerns raised by petitioners) of any
proposed project on a case by case basis while still providing the
incentives for market rate mixed use development that could improve the
area and provide tax relief to the disproportionate and overburdened
residential tax base in Croton.