Letter To The Editor – LaVertu & Town Videos
I want to thank the Huntingtonian for re-posting the links to both videos. This set off a chain reaction that has re-ignited the entire Huntington Station revitalization debate, and how we, the actual residents who live here, want to see HS redeveloped.
Since the Town decided it would be OK to expose the LaVertu’s property tax records, I though it only fair that I do the same to all the properties the Town has quietly acquired through various means, including eminent domain, take back the block overpriced purchases and strong arm tactics.
To be fair, some of the facts in the LaVertu’s video are not completely accurate. However, many of the facts in the Town video are out and out non-factual, or worse, completely deceptive.
In the 3 years since these videos were first posted, I have done much research. Sources are verified. These are the actual figures, but they may now be out-dated.
The Town has purchased at least 16 properties in the immediate area around the core revitalization area in the years since the CDA was formed. Only 2 properties, 32 East 6th and 1 Tower St have been refurbished (with our tax dollars) and re-sold to first time homeowners. 1 Tower, the scene of many crimes, including a number of shootings, and directly across from Jack Abrams, languished for 7 years off the tax rolls before being purchased. It now has an accessory apartment as well.
3 houses along Columbia St, shown being destroyed in the LaVertu video, paid over $20,000 in taxes before being purchased by the Town in the “Take Back the Block” program. 8 new townhouses with 8 accessory apartments were originally proposed to replace it, with a tax abatement. That project is now on hold, and it is an empty lot which pays no taxes.
Whitman Coop DOES NOT pay taxes. It pays a P.I.L.O.T. (payment in lieu of taxes), the only residential P.I.L.O.T. in the Town of Huntington. Another P.I.L.O.T. is the new Canon building in Melville. Whitman Coop is a Michell Lama project, one of the few Coop’s in NY State, built in 1973. It had a 40 year lifespan of being tax subsidized, which expires in 2013.
It pays $232,000 in a P.I.L.O.T. and $135,000 makes it’s way to SD 3. That is over 230 housing units. Do the math. The typical single family home pays 61% of $10,000, or about $6000 per household. Use that as reference here.
Highview is a 100 unit, 2 and 3 bedroom complex that replaced tax paying commercial properties along Broadway and New York Ave. They do not pay direct taxes to the Town. They pay a single regime fee (about $580 per month per unit) to Fairview properties, which then distributes that money to the CDA in the form of a $120,000 ground lease (the Town owns the land), $290,000 to the Town assessor, and keeps the rest as maintenance. $75,000 makes it’s way to SD3. It had a 10 year lifespan of tax subsidies and restricted re-sales, which expired last year, and now owners are free to sell at “market rates”. Yet the taxes have not gone up.
Gateway Gardens, a mix of 10 senior and 30 family townhouses, is owned by the Huntington Housing Authority, under direction and subsidizing from H.U.D. The land is owned by the Town of Huntington, and they pay a much reduced tax of $8,112 for 40 units on 3 acres. They have 49 children living there in the 2012/2013 school year.
3 properties, 1264, 1266 and 1268, collectively known as the Huntington Enrichment center, also pays nothing in taxes, and does in fact have 2 subsidized apartments above with 7 children living there.
There are also a number of empty lots, most notably the former Tilden brake site, 1000 NY ave, the Northridge property down the street, and the former 2 acre Rotondo Waste Transfer site, 1345G NY Ave, behind the Station Branch library. This particular property was taken from it’s rightful owner under eminent domain in 2007. To date, the owner has not been paid for it.
The Town originally has planned to build more high density housing on it based on a Leadership Huntington desk exercise I obtained.
Then there are the homes the Town still owns, pays no taxes on, and rents out to either Section 8 recipients or a homeless shelter. They include 15,17 Tower, 5 Allison court, 76 fairgrounds and others. All should be sold to the public as part of the “Take Back the Blocks” program, but the Town, for whatever reason, have instead decided to make money on these properties, again without paying any taxes to SD 3.
How does this “encourage home ownership” if the Town is the principal owners?
While the EDC can try to claim successes in HS improvements, the only visible improvements to date are street scapeing, brick sidewalks and the new plaza, all paid for with Federal grants.
To claim that 7/11 would not have moved in HS without the EDC’s help is ludicrous. They chomped at the bit to get a foothold in HS, and want to have a presence every mile along NY Ave and Jericho Tpk.
If anyone wants copies of the documentation of anything I have presented here, e-mail me and I will send it to you:
Huntington Station Resident