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The city council is reviewing zoning on the waterfront and the Fishkill Creek. These new zones are an outgrowth of the Comprehensive Plan and developers who have expressed interest in the city. The city intends to move carefully with the developments listed and each project is subject to full Planning Board review, traffic studies, public hearings and environmental impact evaluations.

For the city council to make an informed decision regarding zoning we commissioned an independent fiscal impact study. This study determined the net revenues that can be generated by these developments. To choose the company to perform the study the city published a request of proposal, reviewed the responses thoroughly and preformed reference checks. We selected AKRF, Inc. The process they used was to project the costs to provide services for the developments. The costs were then deducted from projected revenues, thus creating net revenue. Costs were determined by interviews conducted with the city administrator, city department heads, the Superintendent of the Beacon Schools System and a thorough line-by-line examination of the city’s budget. The revenues of the six potential projects were determined through interviews with the developers and with the help of the city’s assessor.

As you review the amounts that follow it is useful to understand that based on our current typical tax levy, every $68,000 of revenue is equal to an approximately 1% reduction compared to the previous year. So for example the Beacon Transit Oriented Development’s net revenue is $780,000 which is equal to a benefit (i.e. tax rate reduction) of between 11-12%. Also the amounts listed are based only on property tax revenue and do not include the estimates on additional sales tax, mortgage recording tax, construction related revenue or jobs created by the developments listed, which also provide a significant benefit. All of the following developments will be subject to Beacon’s workforce housing (affordable) law that will apply to 1 out of every 10 units. This law is soon to be adopted. The following are three of the six projects studies. (The others will be published in a few weeks):

(1) Beacon Transit-Oriented Development (TOD): This is a 22 acre development located at the Beacon Metro-North rail station and owned by the MTA. It is a mixed commercial (120,000 sq. ft) and residential development (616 units). Of the commercial space, up to 40% can be retail/restaurant/personal services shops. The remainder is office space and other commercial services. The net fiscal impact is estimated at $780,000 for the City and $1,993,000 for the Beacon Central School District.

(2) Edgewater: The proposed Edgewater project is located at 22 Edgewater Place (located at the end of Tompkins Ave near the Hudson River). This is an 11 acre site that would include 300 residential units in six buildings with a clubhouse and pool for its residents. The project is expected to be a high end rental and condominium development. The net fiscal revenue is $229,000 for the City and $572,000 for the Beacon Central School District.

(3) Long Dock Hotel and Conference Center: This proposed development is on a 10.9 acre vacant site located along the Hudson River at Long Dock. The planned project would develop a 166 room hotel and a conference center with capacity for approximately 400 guests. The net fiscal revenue is $641,000 for the City and $1,310,000 for the Beacon Central School District.

When combined together the six developments (three included here) would yield estimated revenues for the City of Beacon of $1,900,000 and for the Beacon School District of $4,600,000. There are many factors that will be considered before the city council adopts zoning to permit these developments and the public will have ample opportunity to attend public hearings on each. The entire impact study can be found on the city’s website cityofbeacon.org as the “cost of services study” in the city reports and documents section.

Thank you,
Steve Gold, Mayor

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Comment by Ben Royce on January 25, 2010 at 12:28am
david:

1. a "grand staircase", some sort of focal point pedestrian visual guideline straight form the foot of main to the TOD. should be a a design competition, just as you say

2. the beacon line: link to east main. pedestrian/ bike/ trolley or trolley bus. the problem is getting the mta to allow us to use it, even though they don't use it
Comment by David A. Ross on January 24, 2010 at 11:45pm
I am really concerned that the TOD will undercut the still struggling businesses on Main Street, and as a resident of a neighborhood affected by the traffic jam that results from h MTA parking and pick-ups at rush hour, I am doubly concerned that this zoning is moving ahead without adequate environmental and economic impact studies. The net to the city is nice, and so is the income to the school district, but is it worth the trade-off? I am not convinced, and frankly, am a bit concerned that we are not taking beer advantage of a chance to correct the stupidity that brought us the cutting of the Main Street corridor in the first place.

If everyone is convinced that the trade-off is worth while, then why not stage a full-scale design competition to see if there is an urban planning solution to the situation at hand that allows growth, new revenues, and a solution to the problems on a bit broader scale.
Comment by Steve Gold on January 24, 2010 at 10:12am
Steven,
Yes, there will be more traffic. The Council wanted to look at that issue carefully so we charged the three main developers to pay for a comprehensive and professionally conducted independent study. The results are available on the city’s website at the address http://www.cityofbeacon.org/factsheets/attached-documents. A summary of the conclusions will be available this week in a TOD Q&A report to be published by the council. Basically its findings are that the additional traffic can be held down to an acceptable level (in traffic terms) by restriping 9D to make three lanes (two north bound from the station) and modifying the Verplank and Beekman intersections. Most of the traffic will come from the additional commuter spaces the MTA will build regardless of the TOD or not. The residential component of the TOD and Edgewater are reverse commutes to people going to the station in the AM and leaving in the PM…and the commercial zone of the TOD and Long Dock traffic are spread out throughout the day. The council has suggested that the MTA to agree to incentives for commuters to park in a satellite location and take a bus to the station.
Steve
Comment by Steven on January 24, 2010 at 9:37am
Wouldn't the development of retail stores along the train station cause can even more traffic on 9D up until the I-84 merge?
Comment by Ben Royce on January 16, 2010 at 10:21pm
steve: fantastic ;-) thank you for the info and asking for the concession on the paving!

fyi, the infrastructure is sound, up to brewster, then there are problems with some bridges

i really am at a loss to as to why the MTA still wants the beacon line. ostensibly it exists to move equipment, and training, but they've done neither in years, and when they do have to transfer equipment between lines, its far easier and quicker to do it at grand central. now they need to call the cops out at every road intersection

maybe in a century, but in a century, they can reclaim all of the bike trails and walking trails in the area that exist, in a cynical sense, just to preserve the right of way for the distant future when rail makes sense again

until then, indeed, lets get beacon its own walkway over the hudson/ highline in chelsea. it will take a lot of time and consensus building and fund raising, but it can be done. the only problem is how to get the MTA to release its grip on the beacon line, since they are such a popular organization and have such a good reason to keep a grip on it ;-P

we'll need it to get all those tourists in town to use the mount beacon incline railway ;-)
Comment by Steve Gold on January 16, 2010 at 9:22pm
Scott: annual property tax revenues. Thanks for the kind words

Ben: we are going to ask the MTA to place paving in between the rails for a walkway but the Greenway trail right along the creek will be more scenic. Also the MTA must continue to run a train a few times a year or they loose it. They will most likely not give it up because some time in the future they may need to use the line which goes to Connecticut. You may know this stuff already, sorry but I haven’t had a chance to read all of your materials yet. Keep up the fight. It will be worth it if we can ever make it happen.

Henry: I’ll ask them about the half a sandwich but I think you are pushing it a bit. Maybe they’ll agree if it comes from Bob’s Corner. They are reasonably priced. Seriously, I agree it doesn’t appear to be much revenue so we will think about ways to sweeten it more for us.

Steve
Comment by Scott Tillitt on January 16, 2010 at 8:13pm
Steve, are these one-time or annual revenues? (Thanks for sharing — and for all you do.)
Comment by Ben Royce on January 16, 2010 at 6:24pm
not for nothing, but all of these developments are somewhere along the beacon line. you might be familiar with the fact that the beacon line is my crank issue: http://beaconline.org

its impossible to use the beacon line in any way with the MTA sitting on it (and not using it). they simply won't play ball. the semi-ideal situation therefore is to decamp the MTA, and turn the beacon line into a walkway over the hudson/ highline in chelsea type of reuse. bike/ walking lane, and a trolley on the track/ trolleybus on cinder/ asphalt

steve: does the MTA pay taxes for the line? we certainly pay taxes to the MTA on our payroll nowadays

would it be possible for the city to get the MTA to back off the beacon line as a concession for the TOD? yes, that concession is aggressive and unlikely, but there must be some sort of concession we can eke out. the MTA, ostensibly a public service corporation, simply doesn't use the line. and yet they expect us to sit here and look at it running through the middle of our city. some sort of commuter use is decades away, so the beacon line can always be reacquired for commuter use in the distant future, since the right of way will never go away

therefore: is there ANY concession we could get from the MTA on the beacon line? such as: just admitting that it is mothballed, that they run no trains on it, that they expect to run no trains on it, and therefore they will allow us to run a bike trail along the side of it, and maybe a dinky trolleybus just on cinder. that the city will assume all issues of insurance/ maintenance for that type of temporary use. perhaps with the condition that as soon as the MTA decides to run trains again, that we simply abandon any improvements we might have made alongside the tracks for walkers/ bikes/ dinky trolleybus

i don't see how such an agreement exposes the MTA to any additional costs or obligations. they simply don't use the line now, so there is no rational reason for them to just sit on it and prevent any type of use, however conditional and temporary

not for nothing, but main street businesses complain about access to the TOD. the beacon line is the natural answer to that concern. its virtually the same as running a shuttle bus, but more scenic and tourist oriented, and without any traffic

steve, i know this is not a new idea, and that it comes up perennially, and it is fraught with various difficulties, and it is not high on a list of priorities. i was just wondering where we are at, not officially, but just in terms of current thinking, about getting our paws on the beacon line somehow or another

cheers,
ben
Comment by Henry on January 16, 2010 at 5:15pm
Thanks Steve.

Beacon Mills 16k for the City of Beacon? 16K? Thats it? Can't they throw in half a ham sandwich.
Comment by Steve Gold on January 16, 2010 at 3:14pm
Here are some of the answers you requested….

- The Beacon Transit-Oriented Development zone will apply to property owned by the MTA.
- William Ehrlich’s company owns Edgewater.
- The Long Dock Hotel and Conference Center is on property owned by Scenic Hudson. Although the project is shovel ready (all zoning approvals have been met), it is on hold pending improved conditions for a construction loan. The developer is the Foss Group.
- The other zone the council is considering is titled the “Fishkill Creek Zone”. The zone was recommended by the comprehensive plan. There are three development plans that are located in the zone and all will require a form of the Fishkill Creek Zone to be adopted for them to be permitted to proceed. Keep in mind that this is some of the most attractive property in Beacon as it boarders on the Fishkill Creek and shows a vista of Beacon’s homes and tree lined streets gently rising to meet the Fishkill Mountains which span the boarder stretching across the horizon. All of these properties are narrow and located between the MTA spur line and the creek and lend themselves well to townhouses. (And yes I have talked to all three developers, and a fourth also located on the creek near East Main Street, about working together to provide shuttle bus service or activating the spur line with the MTA). Also all properties will be required to build and maintain an extension of the Greenway Trail to open a pathway from Madam Brett trail to East Main Street on the Fishkill Creek. That will be a terrific amenity for the city.

(1) The Beacon Mills: This proposed project site is located on Tioronda Avenue along the Fishkill Creek, between Wolcott Ave and the adjacent Beacon Glen development to its west. It is approximately 8 acres. The developer plans 96 high end residential townhouse units. The net revenue is $16,000 for the City and $66,000 for the Beacon Central School District. Pete De Rosa’s company owns this property.

(2) The Beacon Glen: This proposed project is located adjacent to the Fishkill Creek at 248 Tioronda Avenue (between the Beacon Mills property and west to the Beacon Greenway). It is 4.9 acre site in which the property owner is contemplating a high end residential development of 126 townhome units. Some may be dedicated to senior housing. The net revenue is $229,000 for the City and $572,000 for the Beacon Central School District. Michael Angelitis’s company owns this property

(3) 555 South Avenue: This project is on an 11acre site, and is located at South Avenue along the Fishkill Creek formerly known as Beacon Terminals (adjacent to the Madam Brett Trail). While plans for the site are still in a conceptual stage, it is anticipated that the site would be developed with a total of 247 for sale residential units, which would be a mixture of approximately 115 flats and 108 townhomes. The net revenue is $188,000 for the City and $458,000 for the Beacon Central School District. William Ehrlich’s company owns this property.

Again, to find out more about these developments go to cityofbeacon.org, the “cost of services study” in the city reports and documents section.

Steve

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