Hous­ing de­vel­op­ers could face sur­charge

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

The town’s Af­ford­able Hous­ing and Open Space Com­mit­tee has rec­om­mended a sur­charge of 25 cents per square foot be levied on ap­pli­ca­tions for res­i­den­tial projects com­pris­ing 10 or more units.

Com­mit­tee Chair­man Jonathan Men­sch told the Town Board this week say­ing the fee would go to­ward “work­force” hous­ing projects.

“It would be 25 cents a square foot for every house that was built, and in the lower-den­sity dis­tricts, if they ap­plied for the den­sity bonus, then for the new houses that were be­ing built it would be $5 a square foot,” he said.

The pro­posal comes as the com­mit­tee seeks to ful­fill an af­ford­able hous­ing re­quire­ment in the town’s 2009 Com­pre­hen­sive Plan.

“The fees could be used for ei­ther buy­ing an ex­ist­ing prop­erty and turn­ing it into a work­force hous­ing unit or po­ten­tially to sup­port a devel­op­ment that was part of a state­funded pro­gram, part of a town con­tri­bu­tion to­ward that kind of a pro­gram,” Men­sch said.

“The state has got sig­nif­i­cant funds that are avail­able for sort of des­ig­nated work­force hous­ing projects, and some of those re­quire some kind of con­tri­bu­tion from the town­ship,” he said. “... What we’re not go­ing to be able to do with a pro­gram like this is raise enough money to ac­tu­ally fi­nance a project. But what we will have is some sort of work­ing cap­i­tal that’s avail­able to put to­ward some­thing like that or do some­thing that’s much more mod­est in size.”

Men­sch said a pre­vi­ous rec­om­men­da­tion would have im­pacted all ap­pli­ca­tions for new hous­ing.

“When the ... new zon­ing was put in place, there was a draft set of reg­u­la­tions for af­ford­able hous­ing that was only go­ing to be put in place af­ter an af­ford­able hous­ing com­mit­tee was formed,” he said. “Orig­i­nally we had dis­cussed the idea that every house that was built would be re­quired to pay the 25-cents-a-square-foot fee.”

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