PILOT, parkland issues resolved for Liberty Green

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:53

    Warwick — The Village Board agreed Tuesday night on two issues that have been up for discussion between the developer, his lawyer and the village for months. The proposed Liberty Green senior development will pay $275 per unit each year as a payment in lieu of taxes and a one-time $1,500 payment for each unit in parkland fees. Jonah Mandelbaum, who proposes to build this 250-unit senior citizen complex across from Devon Wood, his other senior housing complex on Grand Street, originally asked for a $200 PILOT, similar to that given to other subsidized senior developments in the village. But board members said taxes have gone up over the past few years. Even if you apply a cost of living increase to the amount agreed upon with other developments, $275 is fair, they decided. The PILOT agreement is a 20-year agreement and will be reviewed and possibly adjusted every five years. Village Mayor Michael Newhard received approval from his board to sign the PILOT if the site plan is approved by the Planning Board. The parkland fees are paid on each new house or unit built in the village. The current charge is $3,000 per unit. Mandelbaum had asked that the village waive this fee entirely, saying it would make the housing more affordable to the seniors. But Newhard disagreed. "What isn't paid for by the developer is paid for by the community," he said. The board decided to cut the parkland fee in half for each unit. Since the three two-story buildings will be built in phases, if approved by the Planning Board, this fee will be paid as building permits are issued. This parkland agreement is contingent on the developer signing a contract to make improvements to drainage issues that affect the neighboring Pond Hill neighborhood. The cost of these improvements, according to the village, will be about $200,000. The state mandates that the developer must include a community room in each of the buildings. However, these rooms may only be reserved by Liberty Green residents. Seniors from outside the development may use the room but only if reserved through a resident, which is the same situation as in Devon Wood. Mandelbaum said the community room at Devon Wood is constantly in use. Many residents reserve it on weekends for family gatherings. During the week, he said, there is bingo, exercise classes, crochet club and card playing. There are currently three subsidized senior housing developments in the Village of Warwick — Creekside, Burt Farms and Devon Wood. If built, Liberty Green would by far be the largest in Warwick. Mandelbaum has built similar developments throughout the county, including in Goshen and Port Jervis.