Long time reader, first time poster. Thank you for agreeing to post the following information that I hope your readers will find valuable.
Last evening I approached our City Council and the city’s management with concerns I have with NY Rising’s Acquisition program. For those of you who are unaware, this program is in the process of purchasing 60+ properties in the City of Long Beach. According to their website (http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/ny-rising-buyout-and-acquisition-programs) the “properties purchased as acquisitions will be eligible for redevelopment in the future in a resilient manner to protect future occupants of this property. The State in consultation with local officials will determine the development of acquired areas to ensure that the properties best serve the future goals of the community. In some cases, the properties will remain undeveloped and be transformed into parks or other non-residential uses, while others will be redeveloped in a resilient manner.”
I brought up various issues and concerns with the program as I detail below. I was told last night concerning these properties that “the rules are the state will bid them out to developers to be developed as resilient homes at market rate, that is what we (the city) have been told, and your concerns about low income housing should not be a realistic concern, and any concern about that property laying fallow and not being on the tax roll should not be a concern it is something we are watching quite closely.”
I was glad that our city representatives were aware of this program and had some of the same concerns as I did and were able to share their thoughts on it.
Since this program is being administered by NY Rising I do have reason to believe that what the state told the city will be modified/changed/altered/reshaped/revised/tweaked/transformed/reworked/adjusted/converted/mutated as many NY Rising Programs have been. In fact yesterday afternoon the city itself posted on their Facebook page their concerns with the NY Rising program including the “Intermediate rule and procedural changes by NY Rising”, while the city tried last night to allay my concerns with the program as they further explained how it now exists there is no definitive way to assure me that NY Rising will not modify/change/alter/reshape/revise/tweak/transform/rework/adjust/convert/mutate the rules of this program as well.
I have attached a map I obtained from the NY Rising Funding Portal (http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/funding-portal) which details the location of the properties in the NY Rising Acquisition Program. I have also attached a list of 11 properties (as of Jan 23) that have been closed on and their sale price. These real estate transactions conducted by the state are public record and were provided in response to a FOIL request.
While my hope is that these properties will be sold for market value, I think the city should remain vigilant with this program and make sure that it does not morph into non market value housing options.
Among the questions I raised last evening were
- What is the status of the GOSR’s consultation with our local officials regarding these properties and is there any timeline for decisions and actual development?
- What impact will the loss of these 60 properties from the city’s tax rolls have on future budgets and services?
- Who is responsible for maintaining these properties?I know for a fact that one of them has not had snow removal done this year. Will they become eyesores with overgrown weeds this summer or is there a plan for maintenance and cleaning, and at whose expense?
- Will these properties be developed as market value housing or are plans under way to develop these as “Low/Moderate/Insert Buzzword/Workfare/ Income” housing
- What impact on the property values will the “dumping” of these 60 properties onto the sale market have?
- Since these properties are owned by the state, are they required to follow our zoning laws or will they be allowed to build 2 family or if space on the property allows, a 3 family building?
Over the last 2 years, we have all heard stories of our neighbors who have sunk their life savings into rebuilding not only their homes but our community, I wonder if the same level of investment would have taken place knowing that the property next/beside/across to them was part of this program and what I see as the uncertainty surrounding it.
Unfortunately this shows another level of NY Rising’s failure. They purchased a 30X60 lot in the West End for over $504,000 to help one family move out of our community. Yet the same family one door down is forced to jump through hoops to get a portion of that amount to stay and help rebuild our community. Can anyone imagine what kind of house could have been built on that lot for $500,000? Just imagine what you could build for even a fraction of that amount.