Our effort to acquire the Kutz Camp property continues despite the current health crisis. A Public Hearing on the acquisition was held on Feb. 13, and those in attendance were overwhelmingly supportive of the purchase. No additional public comment has been received to date. We ordered and now have received an independent appraisal.
Due to a limited number of comparable sales the full market value was appraised to be $5,000,000 which is below our contract price. However, we have determined that we can “bank” development rights as part of the transaction pursuant to the Town Code provisions that created the Community Preservation Fund, and in the future sell them for development in the Town’s receiving zones.
Using the conservative formula in section 164-47.4 of the Town Code, it has been estimated that the 85-acres of the Kutz Camp would support a minimum of ten lots. Using recent land sales in the Town and our track record with development rights acquisition, the value of these ten lots is $700,000.
These lots and their value of $700,000 will be placed in the TDR bank, and future sale proceeds will be placed back into the town’s CPF. In addition, the appraisal did not value the furniture, equipment or fixtures on the property. The Town has valued these at approximately $300,000 and is seeking independent confirmation of that amount.
Taken together the value in the appraisal, the TDR rights that are banked by the Town and the value of furniture, fixtures & equipment brings the value of the property to $6,000,000. The Town Board discussed the price differential with the seller, and the seller agreed to reduce the sales price by $100,000.
This concession and with the historic practice that has been deemed acceptable for a municipality to acquire property at a premium of 10% over its inherent value, it brings the value of this property to our Town to $6,600,000, which is $200,000 over the contract price. I also note that there is value attributed to the uniqueness of this opportunity and that we are able to purchase the property without any additional burden on the general tax fund.
The acquisition cost of the Kutz Camp property will be paid from the Community Preservation Fund whose funds are specifically earmarked for just such a purpose, that is the protection of Warwick’s rural quality, agricultural character and its natural environment.
I will ask the Town Board to weigh the comments from the Public Hearing, their own conversations with our constituents, the fact that this acquisition will have no impact on either the taxable base of the Town or the current revenue needed from taxpayers and the fact that it meets the stated purpose of Warwick’s Community Preservation Plan, as they consider whether to vote in the affirmative to acquire this property at our Apr. 23 Town Board meeting.
The next regular meeting of the Town Board, as per Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.1, will be closed to the public but can be viewed live via the Zoom app on Thurs., Apr. 23 at 7:30 p.m. A link to the meeting will be placed in our official newspaper, the Warwick Valley Dispatch, and on www.townofwarwick.org. All future meetings will be conducted in this manner until the Governor’s order is lifted.
The above column, written by Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, has been published in the Apr. 22 issue of the Warwick Valley Dispatch.