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Reichlin-Melnick: March Village Trustee Update

by Elijah Reichlin-Melnick
Spring is in the air and the days are getting longer–and with budget season upon us, our Village Board meetings are going to be getting longer as well. Nyack’s fiscal year ends May 31st, and under state law, we must adopt a budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year by the end of April. We plan to vote on a final budget plan at our April 24th meeting (note that this meeting is on a Wednesday, not the usual Thursday). We will spend the next month intensively reviewing and revising the village administrator’s draft budget, which we received last week. Budget discussions will take place at our Village Board meetings (and workshops) on March 28th (workshop at 6p, meeting at 7:30p) April 11th, and April 24th, along with a special budget workshop meeting on April 3rd.

It is always a challenge to balance the community’s many needs with the mandate to stay within the state tax cap, but although village taxes are only a small part of residents’ tax bills, I think we have an obligation as a Village Board to do our part to keep the budget within the tax cap. Besides staying under the cap, my budgetary priorities are to increase the focus on code enforcement—important for keeping our community safe and attractive and potentially bring in additional revenue—and on infrastructure. The village has had a longstanding goal of repaving 10% of our roadways each year, and I am committed to passing a budget which will allow us to continue to do so.
Do you have ideas or concerns about the budget? If so, please stop by one of the upcoming village board meetings, or share them with me directly. I’ll be holding my monthly Meet Your Trustee from 6p to 7p at Didier Dumas on Thursday April 4th. Come join me for coffee or dessert and a discussion of the budget or other issues.
It’s not all budget all the time though. At our March 28th board meeting we’ll be holding public hearings on three proposed local laws. The first local law would rezone six properties, reducing permitted density on all of them to better match surrounding uses. Three of the properties are on Route 9W on the east side of the road running from just north of Main Street to just north of High Avenue. We are rezoning these properties from DMU-2 (Downtown Mixed Use) to CC (Corridor Commercial), which matches the zoning of properties across the street. The other three properties are at the northern end of Summit Street adjacent to Main Street. These properties are being rezoned from DMU-2 to TFR (two family residential), which is the same zone as the rest of the properties on Summit Street.
The second local law also tackles density issues by reducing the maximum “density bonus” a developer can receive for implementing sustainability features in their development. Currently, developments which include a variety of sustainable features (such as green roofs, provision of solar panels, including permeable surfaces to reduce runoff during storms) are eligible for a bonus of 40% more units than they would otherwise be allowed by zoning. While pursuing sustainability is obviously an important goal, it must be balanced with the need not to provide too many incentives for overly dense construction. The proposed local law reduces the maximum density bonus from 40% more units to just 25%, and tightens up the review process for the implementation of these sustainable features.
The third law we are considering would require more transparency and disclosure from any limited liability corporations (LLCs) seeking building permits or planning, zoning, or architectural review board approval from the village. Local governments have a right to know who the true owners of LLCs doing business in their communities are and a number of other municipalities in our area have passed similar laws.

Finally, a quick reminder that the Nyack Farmers Market will be heading outside again to the Riverspace Parking Lot starting on Thursday, April 4th. Three days later, on Sunday, April 7th, the first street fair of the season will take place. And mark your calendars for the Nyack Tree Committee’s spring tree planting event on Saturday, April 13th, and for the village’s celebration of Earth Day on Saturday, April 27th from noon to 4p. Watch the village website and social media for details on both events.

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

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