Liberty Green developer wants parkland fee waived or decreased

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:51

    WARWICK-Developer Jonah Mandelbaum urged the Village Board last week to decrease the the financial load on his proposed low-income Liberty Green senior citizen project when it comes to parkland fees. "Most municipalities waive these fees," Mandelbaum said. "It's not uncommon. They do it not because it saves me money. It saves the tenant. If this is not negotiated and stays as it is, the tenant will pay more rent. Think really hard about it." Currently, the village's parkland fees are $2,500 for each unit or house built. This money goes toward recreation programs within the village. Mandelbaum and his attorney John Capella argued that this senior development will not impact the village's recreation program to the tune of $2,500 for each unit, if at all. But Village Attorney Michael Meth said this is not an impact fee. "This is not directly related to impact," said Meth. "It is set up so that villages can maintain their parkland. The funds are used to maintain parks for all residents. It is not impact-related. It is always within the board's discretion." The parkland fees are set by the village and the village should not feel pressured to lessen or waive them because of what other municipalities do, Meth added. Patricia McCoy, a village resident who listened to Capella discuss parkland fees with the board three weeks ago, said this development may not directly impact the recreation needs in the village. But, she added, some of the seniors who move into this new development will sell their homes in Warwick to families who do have children. That would indirectly impact the need for recreation in the village. Mandelbaum said he would be willing to pay $500 per unit or donate land for a new senior citizen center, which was offered when the project was first proposed. "Five hundred dollars like Devon Woods (another Mandelbaum senior development), we'll discuss," said Mandelbaum. "But then no land. It is up to the board to decide if they want the land, for any purpose-a senior center, a library. It is up to you." If Liberty Green is built, it will become the fourth low-income senior housing development in the Village of Warwick and by far the largest with 250 units. Already there is Creekside, Burt Farms and Devon Wood. The Liberty Green proposal remains before the village planning board.