By Kathy Savolt -
The special meeting of the Board of Trustees (BOT) scheduled for Tuesday January 30th was held but with a completely different agenda than what was first noticed. Gone was the meeting with one of the proposers for development of the Hunter Tier parking lot for affordable housing and instead, the BOT discussed next steps in the process, led by Trustee Rawlings.
The Observer also spoke with Mayor Sharon Torres about the meeting and next steps. Here is a summary of that conversation and the meeting. In her interview, Torres stressed that the BOT wants the best for the Village and recognizes the need to build trust with a plan.
Bottom Line: The BOT will undertake simultaneous paths that will meet at some time in the near future.
During the first half of February, the BOT will interview and engage a consultant with experience in affordable housing. Torres mentioned that the “Board as a group” agreed they don’t have the expertise. This consultant will look at the two proposals for the Hunter Lot and the questions submitted by the public regarding the project (see below). He or she will advise the BOT on how to move forward after this review.
In addition, this consultant will work with the Village to develop, and possibly conduct, an educational program about the housing needs of Village residents. The BOT is committed to holding multiple meetings at different times in a workshop setting. The Housing Task Force approved at the last meeting will be involved in this effort. It is also possible that local experts identified by Trustees Yizar-Reid and Young will participate in these workshops.
While the BOT is hiring help, the public will have an opportunity to voice their concerns. An online form in both English and Spanish is already available for comment submissions. See HERE. Comments are due by 5 pm Friday, February 9th. Paper forms are available at Village office as The Regatta, 125 Mamaroneck Avenue.
The Paths Meet
The goal is to have public input, consultant review and rescheduled meetings with the two proposers by the end of February/beginning of March. Trustee Yizar-Reid has volunteered to find a larger venue for these meetings.
Greg Cutler, Village Planner, is working on an assessment of housing and will present his work at the February 12th BOT meeting.
Cutler also explained that the Village will need to do an environmental review under the NYS Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) before any contract is executed.
Trustee Lou Young asked Robert Spolzino, Village Attorney, to investigate the legality of preferences for the housing units. Specifically, Young wants preference given to:
· Persons fleeing flood prone housing
· Volunteers such as our firefighters and EMS personnel
Spolzino will have the answer for the February 12th meeting.