Story by Christina Hedding
The Village of Florida Board of Trustees held their monthly business meeting on Wed., Feb. 8 to discuss the possibility of holding a Public Hearing regarding a letter from the Planning Board. The letter requested changes to proposed amendments to the Zoning Law in regards to the Glenmere Preserve Subdivision planned adult community. The amendments include designating that 20 to 30 percent of housing developed by Rosenberg Inc. be utilized for age 55 and up and that an entire building be dedicated to it instead of mixed housing. Originally, the Board approved the development of the housing community strictly for adults age 55 and older.
Village resident Patricia Rotella voiced concerns about the percentage amendment to the new housing community. Rotella’s concern focused around the fact that if 20 or 30 percent of the apartments were rented by 55 and older, who would be renting the other one and two bedroom apartments? She also asked if the buildings would be townhouses or apartments.
Mayor Jim Pawliczek responded that the hearing would address lifting the age restriction on the housing complex and placing a percentage of 20 or 30 percent as the limit for the 55 and older requirement to rent.
Rotella questioned the Board about the type of people who would be renting the apartments, asking if they would be young singles, married couples with kids, and also if there would be enough parking spaces.
According to Mayor Pawliczek, although he is not happy with lifting the age restriction on the housing community, there is just not as much demand for senior housing as they had anticipated when the project was first presented. Now the developer, Rosenberg Land Development, LLC, is concerned about not being able to rent the apartments if they are only available to people 55 and older. He added that there would be the same amount of parking as before due to the preexisting Zoning Law and lifting the age restriction would not affect parking.
Rotella continued to voice concerns about who would rent the apartments. Trustee Craig Olejniczak responded that the Village has no control over who chooses to rent the apartments. He continued, saying that the section of the permit that dealt with those regulations was already approved and that the Board was there to discuss lifting the age restriction. The age restriction would limit the builder who would rent the apartments and the Village is trying to come to a compromise.
In the end, Mayor Pawliczek stated that all of the perameters for the complex were already approved and would all stay the same. The only issue being discussed was what percentage of the housing would be rented to people 55 and older and what percentage would be rented to all ages.
Trustee Brian Slattery continued to make the Board’s point clear by saying other municipalities in the area, such as Chester and Goshen, have built similar community housing complexes and the integrity of these places did not diminish when they compromised on the age restriction.
Rotella asked if there were studies done and available to the public showing this housing information. Trustee John Barzcak responded saying there are studies done by outside sources available online which show how housing communities, like the one proposed, changed demographics, traffic and other areas in municipalities.
After the discussion, the Board decided to hold a Public Hearing later in February to discuss the age restriction and how to go about the finer details before approving what percentage the complex will allow.
Property Tax Cap
The Village held a Public Hearing to consider adopting a local law authorizing a property tax levy in excess of New York State’s two percent maximum property tax cap. After Village Clerk, Colleen Wierzbicki, read the Affidavit, Mayor Pawliczek opened the floor to Public Comment. When no one voiced concerns on the proposal, the Village adopted the tax cap proposal. The mayor added that the Village was well below the two percent tax cap last year and each year they continue to lower the percentage at which taxes are raised in the Village.
New Spiral Screen for Pump Maintenance
Village Engineer, Gerald MacDonald, spoke to the Board about the purchase of new vertical spiral screens to replace a different model of pump screen that the Village currently uses. The screens are in desperate need of replacing and the spiral screens would be an improvement over the old screens. MacDonald voiced that his main concern in purchasing the new screens is that the type of screen is custom made to order by a special company which asks for payment up front. As a municipality, the Village cannot pay for work until it is completed. The Board discussed whether a written agreement could be made with the company who makes the screens to ensure payment after the screens are installed. MacDonald said he would draw up an agreement and talk to the company about working with the Village.
Cost to Install Security Around the Village
Jim Kennedy, the chief operator of the Florida Water Treatment Plant, received quotes for the installation of security systems around the Village, specifically near the Water Plant, Glenmere Park, DPW, Sturr Park, Cohen Circle and the Sewer Plant. The lowest quote was for $29,175. The Village plans to do the installations in each area as the money becomes available to the project. Kennedy added that they could also wait until the next fiscal year to complete the project as it is not immediately necessary.
Levinson Request for Water Fee Reduction
The Board received a letter from Sima Levinson requesting a reduction in her rate for water and sewer. Levinson asked for a reduction believing that the Village rates she was being charged are too high. After discussing details about Levinson’s property, the Board approved a motion to deny Levinson’s request to lower her fees.
Purani to Intern with the Village
The Board approved Meeti Purani to carry out an internship with the Village in order to complete requirements for her graduate work. She presented her resume to the Village and was present at the meeting. The Board accepted her proposal to intern with the Village and Trustee Thomas Fuller introduced her to the Board during the meeting.
The Board approved a motion to hold Grievance Day on Mon., Feb. 27 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Board room at the Village Hall, located at 33 S. Main St. in the Village of Florida. Residents are invited to come and discuss their property grievances with the Board.
The next regular meeting of the Village of Florida Board of Trustees will be held on Wed., Mar. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Village Hall.