Directors at Greenport Village discussed tighter restrictions on potential buyers of price-controlled units in the 123 Sterling Avenue project last Thursday, with the intention of voting on a new deal at their next regular meeting.
A vote on covenants and site restrictions was filed last month after a villager expressed concern that, as set, the buyer’s stipulations were ” ripe for abuse âand stressed that anyone who lives or works in Greenport can apply to purchase the units, regardless of income level or other properties owned.
Five residential units of the three-story condominium are expected to sell for $ 175,000 each. Under the current proposal, potential buyers must prove that they have lived or worked full time in Greenport for at least two consecutive years prior to purchase, and the units must be their primary residence. Any sale within two years of closing would be subject to a fine of a âflip taxâ.
“We really have to make the effort to make it really for first-time home buyers,” said administrator Mary Bess Phillips, noting the village needs to tighten restrictions on home buyers. “The original concept was for young couples who were working in the community, to be a starting point for buying a house.”
Ms Phillips suggested several additional stipulations, including income limits set with advice from the state mortgage agency and requiring that buyers have not owned a primary residence at any time during the previous three years. Buyers should also be required to submit their most recent federal or state income tax returns to the Village Housing Authority, she said.
âI don’t think the criteria for homeownership alone have the same impact,â said trustee Julia Robins. âI’ve known first-time buyers who have come here, people who have been renting apartments in Manhattan for years. That’s not to say they don’t have a six-figure income, they just haven’t owned a home before. “
Ms Robins argued that claimants should be bound by local affordable housing income caps and not have owned real estate anywhere in the past seven years.
Administrator and deputy mayor Jack Martilotta said it was too late in the process to substantially change the deal.
âSome of these things you suggested sound reasonable, but we gave the contractor permission to build this building, the condominium, on the waterfront and he came up with – I don’t even know how many alternatives there are. tried to offer us – and as far as I know, [the village] says no to almost everyone, âhe said. âI’m comfortable making a few changes around the edges, but we had an agreement. He got approval to do so from New York State.
Administrator Peter Clarke has said he agrees with everything that has been said so far, but he does not believe that Ms Phillips and Ms Robins’ demands “are out of the question or out of reach. “. He added that the only thing he’s not sure is whether the village has the power to protect the units as affordable housing in perpetuity.
âI think our best bet is to try and work with the developer and agree to some of the concessions requested tonight, such as the lack of ownership elsewhere and the income requirements that are structured within the county or township. It makes sense, as well as the offer to involve the village by providing documentation and publishing the information publicly so that it is a transparent process, âMr. Clarke said.
Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said he was okay with prioritizing first-time homebuyers and requiring applicants to prove they don’t own other properties, but said it is more difficult to restrict income because the buyer must be able to afford to live in the unit.
Paul Pawloski, owner of 123 Sterling Ave., said he agreed with the evening’s comments on prioritizing first-time homebuyers and pointed to a New York Times article on the project in 2007.
âHe says the residency requirement would apply to all future sales and that units cannot be combined into larger ones. So in theory they would still be too small for the big appetites of hedge fund managers, but fair for young teachers, firefighters or retirees, âhe said. âI have always seen this article, I have always seen the criteria. We are fully committed to the intent of the criteria.
Pat Mundus, a resident of Greenport and a member of the Sterling Basin Neighborhood Association, criticized the 25% conversion tax – which would be shared between the developer and the Village Housing Authority if the buyer sells the unit within two years – as not being a sufficient deterrent for applicants to sell at a profit.
âIt’s great that someone canâ¦ take advantage of the start-up money for their next home, which is much bigger than hopefully 650 square feet, but what about people all over the place? line ? ” she asked. âThere should be a vision for a comprehensive policy across the board for everyone. “
Ms Mundus also said that “to ensure fairness and avoid favoritism,” approved candidates should be drawn.
Ellen Schnepel, a resident of Greenport and president of the SBNA, stressed that the application process must be fair and equitable.
âI vote for the lottery system; I think our association is also behind this, âshe said.