Board will weigh in on Alms House re­quest

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Kirby pkirby@free­manon­ paulat­free­man on Twit­ter

City plan­ners are ex­pected to make a rec­om­men­da­tion this month about RUPCO's re­zon­ing ap­pli­ca­tion.

The city Plan­ning Board is likely to make a rec­om­men­da­tion at its De­cem­ber meet­ing about a zon­ing change needed to con­vert the for­mer Alms House on Flat­bush Av­enue into an apart­ment build­ing for the home­less and se­nior cit­i­zens.

The zon­ing change has been re­quested by af­ford­able hous­ing agency RUPCO and ul­ti­mately must be ap­proved by the Kingston Com­mon Coun­cil in or­der to take ef­fect.

Plan­ning Board Chair­man Wayne Platte said his board is likely to weigh in on the mat­ter at its Dec. 12 meet­ing, sched­uled to be­gin at 6 p.m. in City Hall, 420 Broad­way.

“We in­tend to make a rec­om­men­da­tion at that meet­ing,” he said.

The same meet­ing is to in­clude a re­view of the Ir­ish Cul­tural Cen­ter pro­posed for the city’s Ron­d­out district.

The Alms House prop­erty, at 300 Flat­bush Ave., near East Ch­ester Street, cur­rently is zoned for sin­gle-fam­ily res­i­den­tial use. RUPCO is seek­ing a change to mul­ti­fam­ily res­i­den­tial. The agency wants to es­tab­lish 66 apart­ments in the build­ing, 32 of which would be for peo­ple age 55 or older.

The build­ing cur­rently is va­cant, hav­ing most re­cently housed Ul­ster County of­fices.

The Com­mon Coun­cil’s Laws and Rules Com­mit­tee al­ready has taken the pro­ce­dural step of re­fer­ring the re­zon­ing re­quest to the Plan­ning Board, the city’s His­toric Land­marks Preser­va­tion Com­mis­sion and the Ul­ster County Plan­ning Board. All three will make rec­om­men­da­tions to the Laws and Rules Com­mit­tee, and the com­mit­tee ex­pects to hold a pub­lic hear­ing on the re­quest on Jan. 17, ac­cord­ing to Alder­woman Lynn Eck­ert, D-Ward 1, who chairs the com­mit­tee.

Kingston Mayor Steve Noble has not taken a po­si­tion on the re­quested zon­ing change. He has com­mented only the process be­ing un­der­taken.

“I think that it’s ap­pro­pri­ate to con­sider this re­quest as it is rel­e­vant to any fu­ture de­vel­op­ment at that prop­erty, in­clud­ing RUPCO’s pro­posed hous­ing project,” Noble said pre­vi­ously. “In or­der for that prop­erty to be used for any sort of hous­ing, a zon­ing change from sin­gle­fam­ily to mul­ti­fam­ily will be re­quired. There­fore, it is pru­dent for the coun­cil to re­view the cur­rent zon­ing.”

Op­po­nents of the project say, among other things, that Kingston is sat­u­rated with af­ford­able hous­ing and needs no more. They have sug­gested that other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties step up to pro­vide such hous­ing.

Kingston real es­tate agent Karen Vetere, who has op­posed such ven­tures in the past, has said the Alms House prop­erty could be used for a bet­ter pur­pose.

“There’s a bet­ter thing for that build­ing if we sit and wait,” Vetere, who ran un­suc­cess­fully for mayor in 2003, told city law­mak­ers pre­vi­ously.

She has said the build­ing could be turned into a bou­tique ho­tel or reg­u­lar apart­ments, rather than low-in­come hous­ing.

De­siree Crespino-Rossi, who has lived near the Alms House for more than 50 years, would like the neigh­bor­hood to re­main fam­ily-ori­ented. She noted there al­ready are three low-in­come hous­ing com­plexes along Flat­bush Av­enue and asked why the area fre­quently is sub­ject to such non­tax­able op­er­a­tions.

RUPCO has said the plan is “in keep­ing with Gov­er­nor [An­drew] Cuomo’s call this year to con­struct 1,200 units of sup­port­ive hous­ing for the home­less across the state.”

If the plan is ap­proved, the af­ford­able hous­ing agency would buy the Alms House from the Ul­ster County Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Al­liance for $950,000.

The project would be fi­nanced through a mix of sources, and rents for the home­less would be shared by the state and Ul­ster County.

Built in 1874 for the city’s poor, the Alms House later served as a tu­ber­cu­lo­sis ward in the 1950s and more re­cently housed the Ul­ster County Depart­ment of Health and other county of­fices.


The for­mer Alms House, at 300 Flat­bush Ave. in Kingston, is shown Wed­nes­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.