To the editor:
There has been some uncertainty as to the economic impact associated with income-restricted apartments on a community. Regardless of how you feel about such development in Croton, it is important to understand the numbers.
The first issue is the cost of development. This involves land acquisition, construction, and ancillary costs. “Affordable” is a term defined by statute, and it includes restrictions on the rent charged to tenants. As a result, government must provide incentives so that developers build “affordable” units rather than market-rate units.
Costs associated with development can be significant. As I outlined previously (The Gazette, week of May 9/15), the Peekskill affordable units targeted at artists required initial subsidies in excess of $265,000 per apartment. The Regent Street project in Port Chester involved $5 million in construction funding from NY State on top of $4.3 million (spent by Westchester County) for land acquisition and infrastructure. So the 34 apartments in Port Chester required $273,000 per unit.
The take-away: “affordable” apartments are not cheap, and government often gives land away to private developers as an incentive. That is not an argument against building such apartments, but it does mean that taxpayers need to pay attention to what their elected officials are giving away in order to get “affordable” housing.
Many years ago, Croton paid almost a million dollars for the Katz property and there is a legitimate question as to what development plans the Croton Board of Trustees have for the property. This being Croton, only the insiders know the answer. But if the Board intends to give away Katz to a private developer this should be a discussion conducted in public. READ MORE HERE.