The Ulster County Industrial Development Agency has unanimously approved a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) schedule for a developer to build student/faculty housing for SUNY New Paltz.
Under terms of an offer proposed at the agency’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, Wilmorite Development of Rochester will pay $522,000 a year in town, county and school taxes on 696 units of student housing. Another 30 units of faculty housing on a 42-acre parcel adjacent to the college will pay full assessment. An annual cost of living adjustment will be made on the student housing portion over the 25-year term of the agreement.
Wilmorite attorney Shawn Griffin said the IDA was not the figure his firm was looking for, but that the project “was still on the table.” He asked that the New Paltz Town Planning Board review the IDA’s proposal.
Wilmorite had originally proposed to pay $103,000 per year in taxes but later offered a $390,000 figure. Town of New Paltz officials want the developer to pay full assessment. On Monday, the town Planning Board voted to reject any PILOT agreement that was less than full payment of taxes, estimated at $1.2 million a year.
Under the formula adopted Wednesday, the county would receive $73,080 a year, the town $120,060 and the New Paltz school district $328,000. Town officials say that amount is insufficient to cover the services required by the new development.
IDA Chairman Mike Horodyski noted that the agency’s formula for PILOT agreements on housing projects ranges from $450 to $750 per bed and that the amount adopted was at its high end. “We’ve gone to the limit of our Uniformed Tax Exemption Policy. This is the best you’re going to get,” he told an audience of about 60 most of them from New Paltz.
Horodyski, prior to the meeting, reiterated IDA’s authority to override local opposition in granting PILOTs.
Jeff Logan, a New Paltz Town Board member, who attended the meeting with his colleagues Supervisor Susan Zimet and board member Dan Torres, said it was likely the town had no recourse other than legal action against the developer. He was critical of the IDA for “adopting a 93-page document they had only read today.”
“They should call these guys the seven dwarfs,” he said.
The six members of the IDA (with one vacancy) include Steve Perfit, Paul Colucci, Robert Kinnin, James Malcolm and John Morrow.
Planning Board members have not yet voted to approve or deny Park Point’s site plan. However, based on their decision earlier this week, they’ve said they’ll deny land-use approvals because of that PILOT.