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Reichlin-Melnick: December Village Trustee Updates

by Elijah Reichlin-Melnick

We’re well into the holiday season, and thanks to the DPW and other village staff, downtown Nyack is sparkling with holiday lights every night. We just had the final village board meeting of 2018, so I wanted to share a quick December update with you on some of the things happening in and around Nyack.

Infrastructure

New York State has finished installing new sidewalks at the corner of Franklin and Depew, including several wider corner sidewalks, which will improve pedestrian safety. A section of sidewalk on the north side of Depew heading towards Broadway from that intersection has also been replaced.

With the early onset of winter weather this year, it is getting to be pothole season. The DPW has been out filling some potholes, but please remember that if you see a pothole, let the village know, so the DPW can fill it. You can use the village website to “Report a Pothole.”

Water System Repairs

The Nyack Water Department is preparing to embark on an ambitious and long overdue project to upgrade our water delivery system. The vast majority of the pipes delivering our water are at least a half century old, and many are closer to 100 years old. The Water Department is managed by a board of five water commissioners who are appointed by the mayor for five year staggered terms. Unlike the rest of village government, the water department does not just serve residents of the Village of Nyack—it also provides service to households and businesses in South Nyack, Central Nyack, and parts of West Nyack. All of these areas will share in the cost of these vital upgrades. Construction work is unlikely to begin before fall 2019, and much more information will be shared in the months before work commences. However, at our meeting last week, the Village Board approved the issuance of an initial $2.5 million in bonds for the project, following a months-long review of the project.

Parking

In the holiday spirit, at the request of the Nyack Chamber of Commerce, the village has announced free parking throughout the village on Saturdays in December. We hope everyone will take advantage of this break to shop locally and patronize the many great stores in the downtown.

Changing parking restrictions in Nyack is harder and slower than I could have imagined, but two months ago, the village board approved some initial steps towards opening up additional overnight parking for residents by allowing overnight parking on five streets that had previously not allowed overnight parking at all: High Ave. between Broadway and Franklin; Lydecker Street; N. Franklin Street; S. Franklin Street except on blocks with MuniMeters; and N. Broadway from 3rd Avenue north to the village line. Within the next few weeks the new regulations will finally go into effect on the first two of those streets, the block of High Avenue and on Lydecker Street (watch the village website for details). The changes on the other streets will be implemented within the first four to eight weeks of 2019. I continue to advocate for a more wide-ranging change to overnight parking rules that would benefit residents throughout the village.

Changes at Nyack College

As you have likely seen, Nyack College announced last month that it plans to close its South Nyack campus, and Alliance Theological Seminary in Upper Nyack, and move all operations to New York City. As I said at the time, I am deeply concerned about the closure and I urge the college to sell the property to an organization or organizations that will be beneficial for the greater Nyack community. Because the college is not located in the Village of Nyack, we have little direct control over the process. However, Mayor Don Hammond has been deeply engaged in discussions with the Mayor of South Nyack, Town Supervisor of Orangetown, and County Executive with regards to the property, and all parties are on the same page in attempting to work with the college to ensure a smooth transition to a new owner that could benefit the community. This process is ongoing, and will, I hope, lead to a good outcome for the site.

Affordable Housing Buyout Fund

At our last village board meeting, we approved a change to the village’s affordable housing “buyout” law. Currently, the law requires all developers of new multifamily housing in the village to set aside at least 10% of the units as affordable units for households earning at least 80% of the area median income for Rockland County. Nyack is the only community in Rockland that requires developers of multifamily housing to provide affordable units. If they choose not to provide the units, the developers must pay the village $40,000 per unit into an affordable housing fund. In recent years, almost all developers of new multifamily rental housing in the village have opted to provide affordable units rather than take a buyout. The revised law raises the buyout price by 25%, to $50,000 per unit, and links further increases in the price to annual inflation, ensuring that the amount will continue to go up in years to come. We also required that any affordable units set aside must be affordable to people earning just 60% of the county median income, which will allow struggling families a better chance to afford a unit. I have suggested that future revisions to the law should consider removing the buyout provision entirely for rental housing, and simply require developers to provide the units.

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We are also appointing a committee to work with the Rockland Housing Action Coalition to further refine the ways in which the village affordable housing fund will be managed and used.

That’s it for now. I hope you all have a wonderful and joyous holiday season! It has been an honor to have the opportunity to serve as one of your representatives on the village board this year. See you in 2019.

Elijah Reichlin-Melnick is a Trustee for the Village of Nyack. 

See also:

Nyack Farmer's Market



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