by Joe Rand
So much excitement about the Nyack Village Board meeting on Thursday at 6:30p at Nyack’s Village Hall– lots of commentary on the Nyack Facebook groups, a petition in MoveOn.org, people handing out leaflets, stuff like that.
For people who are probably a bit confused or unclear about what’s going on, here is a short TZ Vista: Explainer about what’s happening.
I am a Nyack resident, a husband, a father and a local real estate broker, although I have no involvement with the proposed project. Also, for the record, neither my wife or my kids have any involvement in TZ Vista, either!
What’s the meeting about? The basic debate right now is that the developer of TZ Vista wants the Village to make some wholesale changes in the zoning regulations that govern waterfront development, which were put into place after the Clermont was built, so he can build a six-story development rather than a four-story development.
So if he doesn’t get the changes, no building? Not exactly. Things are a bit murky, but it appears he has the right to build a four-story complex that would be within the existing regulations.
So why doesn’t he just do that? Because he wants what every developer wants: to build a bigger development with more apts with a river view for which he can charge more money (ballpark price for the units in the 6 story configuration is $650-900k per condo)
But why should I care about him making more money? You shouldn’t. But there’s a hitch. Basically, the developer is saying that if he can get six stories, and build fancier units with a better view, he can charge more money, and he will be able to afford to do things like put the parking underground rather than on the street. He also says that he could build a larger and nicer public space than he otherwise could provide. That would certainly be more aesthetically pleasing for everyone than having another parking lot with cramped public space on the waterfront.
Doesn’t he have to provide public access anyway? Yes, but there’s a difference between what he is required to provide right now, and what he might be willing to agree to as part of a negotiation to get the regulatory changes he wants.
So why are people against it? It depends. Some people are against building ANYTHING, and figure that if they can stop him from getting the zoning changes he might walk away from the project altogether. Others are open to some sort of development, but not THIS proposal.
Why are they against this proposal? A bunch of reasons.
- Some think that the board should respect the zoning regulations, and worry that changes will set a bad precedent for the remaining waterfront parcels like the Yacht Club.
- Some think that the proposed development is ugly and out of character with the rest of the village.
- Some live near the development and believe the extra height will impact their views and property values.
- Some worry that more units will put too great a load on infrastructure like the sewage lines.
- And some simply don’t trust the developer to do what he says he will do.
Yeah, I heard the developer doesn’t even own the property? That true? Sort of. It seems that he has an option to purchase it, which is essentially the same as owning it for our purposes. If he doesn’t like the deal he gets from the village, he might not exercise the option, but that just means we will be back to square one a year from now with a different developer wanting basically the same thing.
But if this falls through, couldn’t the village buy the parcel and turn it into a park? Yeah, but that’s not going to happen.
Why not? A park would be nice. Well, three reasons.
- We already have a village park thats like three blocks away, not to mention a couple of big state parks within a ten-minute drive.
- The village doesn’t have the money to buy a parcel that’s worth about $8m on the open market. Heck, the village can’t afford to maintain the park it has!
- Most importantly, someone actually owns the land and doesn’t want to sell it.
Couldn’t the village take it by eminent domain? Yes.
So why don’t we? That whole $8 million thing. You can’t just take someone’s property without paying fair market value for it.
Oh, right. So what’s likely to happen Thursday? It’ll probably be a lot of fun — democracy in action. The developer will make some sort of presentation, and then a lot of people will speak out in opposition, because the passion is all on the “Say No” side.
If all those people are against it, who’s for it? You mean besides the developer? And the architects, contractors, workers, etc?
Yes, anyone besides the people with a financial interest? It’s tough to say. No one is really “in favor of” the developer, so there’s not really a “SAY YES TO SIX STORIES!” movement. But not everyone is opposed:
- Some people recognize that SOMETHING is going to get built there, and think that the Board should ultimately make this changes, but only as a compromise. Basically, these people want the Board to drive a hard bargain with the developer to make the best deal it can: aesthetically pleasing architecture in keeping with the village, underground parking, good public access, and stuff like that.
- Some people — frankly, MOST people — probably don’t care one way or the other. They have jobs and kids and stuff, so they won’t be there.
- Some are be “DONT TREAD ON ME” types who don’t like the government telling property owners what to do, but we don’t have many of them in Nyack.
- And some like the project but don’t know it yet — the 150 or so families who would be buying units in the complex if it were built. But we don’t know who they are right now and most of them don’t live in Nyack right now. So they’re not coming either.
So what you’re saying is that everyone there is going to be against the proposal. Pretty much. It’s lonely being a developer…
Shouldn’t the board vote it down, then? Well, the board is not likely to take any kind of action on Thursday, this is more of a “let us know what you think” meeting.
What happens after? More meetings! Government is basically an endless series of meetings. Thursday is one of them.
Joe Rand is a resident of Nyack, a principal at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Rand Realty, and the moderator of the “My Home is Nyack” Facebook group.
- TZ Vista: 4, 6 Or No Stories On The Hudson, 8/30/2015
- TZVista.com — Helmer Cronin Construction / Architecture & Engineering firm DCAK-MSA website
- Nyack Waterfront Watch Facebook page