Westchester County
New York

Resolution
12079
Signed by Committee
Sep 9, 2019 10:01 AM

ENV RES-11 Garden Street, New Rochelle

Information

Department:County ExecutiveSponsors:County Executive
Category:Environmental Resolution

Body

AN ENVIRONMENTAL RESOLUTION determining that there will be no significant adverse impact on the environment from the project at 11 Garden Street, New Rochelle.

Meeting History

Aug 26, 2019 10:00 AM Video Budget & Appropriations Committee Meeting

Joint with LH & PW.

Guests: Planning: Commissioner Norma Drummond

Commissioner Drummond and Jane Lindau from the Department of Planning came before the Committee to discuss items # 12079, 12080, 12081, 12082, 12083, 12084, 12085, 12086- 11 Garden Street, New Rochelle. Commissioner Drummond began by explaining the multiple part of this Legislation, Environmental Resolution, Release of Land, IMDA, Bond Act funding the IMDA and infrastructure improvements and 4 Acts rescinding funding on a project in Buchanan to fund this project.

Commissioner Drummond explained that RXR was awarded as the master Developer for the downtown revitalization of New Rochelle. The City also received from the State last year a $10 million grant to aid with the revitalization efforts. New Rochelle has an ordinance that requires all Developers to construct housing at 80% AMI for 30 years. She explained that a few blocks away there is another development being constructed with 77 affordable units.

For this project, RXR brought in Georgica Green Ventures, LLC to develop a 219 rental units on approximately 1.0 acres located at 11 Garden Street in New Rochelle. The current site was an underdeveloped parking lot. The rentals will be eligible to households that earn between 30% and 80% AMI (Area Median Income). 77 of the units will meet 30% AMI for 30 years and 196 units will average 60% AMI buying down Westchester Affordability and getting 50 years versus 30 years for the entire building. The site was accepted into the Brownfield program in the beginning of August.

The land reverter is necessary because back in 1966 the lot was sold to the municipality. If the municipality did not use it, it would be reverted back to the County. New Rochelle wishes to convey the land to the developer for $1.00 and is asking the County to release the reverter. It will remain affordable housing for 50 years.

The IMDA or the Inter-municipal Development Agreement with the City of New Rochelle and Georgica Green Ventures to finance certain infrastructure improvements in the amount of $2.5 million. The IMDA will be for 15 years and the County will have ownership interest in the Infrastructure Improvements through easements until the expiration of the term of the HIF bonds. The City will be responsible for the management and the operation of the site.

A Bond Act (HIF Bond Act) will authorize the issuance of Bonds to fund the infrastructure improvements as listed in the legislation. The Building is a 20 story building with mixed levels of incomes, ample parking and one Super's unit. It is considered a transit oriented development. 77 of the units will be supportive housing funding. The Developer has agreed to work with New Destiny Housing out of Manhattan. The group provides services and housing to former homeless domestic violence clients and their families.

The rescinding Bonds for housing designated in Buchanan could not get is State financing and it has expired. The funding will be reallocated towards 11 Garden Street.

Carol Corden of New Destiny Housing and David Gallo of Georgica Green Ventures joined the discussion with the members. Mr. Gallo gave a brief overview of his company.

Ms. Corden discussed the mission of New Destiny. They are a 25 year old non-for-profit and has developed 16 projects throughout New York City. They offer services on site at all of the permanent housing sites. Ms. Corden discussed that she has been in contact with Hope's Door and My Sister's Place. She explained that these organizations provide shelter services and expressed that there is a huge need for permanent housing for Domestic Violence victims. She explained that there is a huge need for family housing, and that there is also a need for permanent housing single survivors. Ms. Corden discussed the process her organization follows with placement of victims. Her organization is working with Westchester DSS and non for profits. She explained the makeup of a DV victim, they are not necessarily traditional single families. She explained that a safety assessment and screening is completed before placement. She described the difference between active domestic violence and survivors. The placement of would be of survivors, moving forward with their lives.

Mr. Gallo discussed the Brownfield program. He discussed that being in the program, he can now put parking one level below grade. They would receive Brownfield tax credits. Discussion regarding possibly including after school programs into the development. Mr. Gallo said he is willing to discuss working with a not for profit to provide that type of program into the project.

Discussion was held between the Legislators to identify the open questions. Legislator Johnson has asked to see the original IMDA. Legislator Maher is asking for a letter of intent from the not for profits stating how they will work with New Destiny Housing. Commissioner Drummond stated that the letter of intent would have to be with the Continuum of Care (COC) not with the not for profits. There is a meeting set up with the Westchester County Department of Social Services, New Destiny and COC. Legislator Maher is asking for the cost of more units at 30% AMI. He is also asking for a recalculation that changes the scope & terms of the project in order to have more units not be supportive housing.

Mr. Weingarten joined the discussion to explain the legal requirements RXR has to fulfill their requirement to building housing. He also expressed that RXR has the full support of the City of New Rochelle.

Mr. Maher requested that a commitment be made by the developer for use of the new found space (due to the Brownfield acceptance) be dedicated to an after school program. Mr. Gallo and Mr. Weingarten both expressed that cannot be done without going back to the State. Mr. Gallo said if we can provide a not for profit he would be willing to work with the County and the provider. Mr. Weingarten stated he can do a best efforts to work with the County.

Mr. Hyman, Chair of the Westchester County Planning Board joined the conversation to discuss the Board's findings and recommendations. A resolution was distributed to the members stating the recommendations. He stated that this is a good project for the City. They made two recommendation, one being they would not recommend that the housing be approved if it is outside the building. Second, they do not recommend the banking of units. Mr. Weingarten stated that RXR cannot adhere to those recommendation.

Legislator Shimsky put on the record, in part 1 (E1H) the language of the Brownfield status states it was denied. Please update. She would also like the description of the cleanup. The second request is regarding the storm water runoff, she questioned the catch basin. If the developer can give an explanation of what their intent is. Energy conservation and sustainability. She asked for an explanation of their intent on HVAC and their environmental conservation efforts.

The members agreed to hold this item over for further information. No action was taken.

RESULT:PENDING
Aug 26, 2019 10:01 AM  Labor & Housing Committee Meeting
draft Draft

Joint with BA & PW.

Guest: Planning: Commissioner Norma Drummond

Commissioner Drummond and Jane Lindau from the Department of Planning came before the Committee to discuss items # 12079, 12080, 12081, 12082, 12083, 12084, 12085, 12086- 11 Garden Street, New Rochelle. Commissioner Drummond began by explaining the multiple part of this Legislation, Environmental Resolution, Release of Land, IMDA, Bond Act funding the IMDA and infrastructure improvements and 4 Acts rescinding funding on a project in Buchanan to fund this project.

Commissioner Drummond explained that RXR was awarded as the master Developer for the downtown revitalization of New Rochelle. The City also received from the State last year a $10 million grant to aid with the revitalization efforts. New Rochelle has an ordinance that requires all Developers to construct housing at 80% AMI for 30 years. She explained that a few blocks away there is another development being constructed with 77 affordable units.

For this project, RXR brought in Georgica Green Ventures, LLC to develop a 219 rental units on approximately 1.0 acres located at 11 Garden Street in New Rochelle. The current site was an underdeveloped parking lot. The rentals will be eligible to households that earn between 30% and 80% AMI (Area Median Income). 77 of the units will meet 30% AMI for 30 years and 196 units will average 60% AMI buying down Westchester Affordability and getting 50 years versus 30 years for the entire building. The site was accepted into the Brownfield program in the beginning of August.

The land reverter is necessary because back in 1966 the lot was sold to the municipality. If the municipality did not use it, it would be reverted back to the County. New Rochelle wishes to convey the land to the developer for $1.00 and is asking the County to release the reverter. It will remain affordable housing for 50 years.

The IMDA or the Inter-municipal Development Agreement with the City of New Rochelle and Georgica Green Ventures to finance certain infrastructure improvements in the amount of $2.5 million. The IMDA will be for 15 years and the County will have ownership interest in the Infrastructure Improvements through easements until the expiration of the term of the HIF bonds. The City will be responsible for the management and the operation of the site.

A Bond Act (HIF Bond Act) will authorize the issuance of Bonds to fund the infrastructure improvements as listed in the legislation. The Building is a 20 story building with mixed levels of incomes, ample parking and one Super's unit. It is considered a transit oriented development. 77 of the units will be supportive housing funding. The Developer has agreed to work with New Destiny Housing out of Manhattan. The group provides services and housing to former homeless domestic violence clients and their families.

The rescinding Bonds for housing designated in Buchanan could not get is State financing and it has expired. The funding will be reallocated towards 11 Garden Street.

Carol Corden of New Destiny Housing and David Gallo of Georgica Green Ventures joined the discussion with the members. Mr. Gallo gave a brief overview of his company.

Ms. Corden discussed the mission of New Destiny. They are a 25 year old not-for-profit and has developed 16 projects throughout New York City. They offer services on site at all of the permanent housing sites. Ms. Corden discussed that she has been in contact with Hope's Door and My Sister's Place. She explained that these organizations provide shelter services and expressed that there is a huge need for permanent housing for Domestic Violence victims. She explained that there is a huge need for family housing, and that there is also a need for permanent housing single survivors. Ms. Corden discussed the process her organization follows with placement of victims. Her organization is working with Westchester DSS and non for profits. She explained the makeup of a DV victim, they are not necessarily traditional single families. She explained that a safety assessment and screening is completed before placement. She described the difference between active domestic violence and survivors. The placement of would be of survivors, moving forward with their lives.

Mr. Gallo discussed the Brownfield program. He discussed that being in the program, he can now put parking one level below grade. They would receive Brownfield tax credits. Discussion regarding possibly including after school programs into the development. Mr. Gallo said he is willing to discuss working with a not for profit to provide that type of program into the project.

Discussion was held between the Legislators to identify the open questions. Legislator Johnson has asked to see the original IMDA. Legislator Maher is asking for a letter of intent from the not for profits stating how they will work with New Destiny Housing. Commissioner Drummond stated that the letter of intent would have to be with the Continuum of Care (COC) not with the not-for-profits. There is a meeting set up with the Westchester County Department of Social Services, New Destiny and COC. Legislator Maher is asking for the cost of more units at 30% AMI. He is also asking for a recalculation that changes the scope & terms of the project in order to have more units not be supportive housing.

Mr. Weingarten joined the discussion to explain the legal requirements RXR has to fulfill their requirement to building housing. He also expressed that RXR has the full support of the City of New Rochelle.

Mr. Maher requested that a commitment be made by the developer for use of the new found space (due to the Brownfield acceptance) be dedicated to an after school program. Mr. Gallo and Mr. Weingarten both expressed that cannot be done without going back to the State. Mr. Gallo said if we can provide a not for profit he would be willing to work with the County and the provider. Mr. Weingarten stated he can do a best efforts to work with the County.

Mr. Hyman, Chair of the Westchester County Planning Board joined the conversation to discuss the Board's findings and recommendations. A resolution was distributed to the members stating the recommendations. He stated that this is a good project for the City. They made two recommendation, one being they would not recommend that the housing be approved if it is outside the building. Second, they do not recommend the banking of units. Mr. Weingarten stated that RXR cannot adhere to those recommendation.

Legislator Shimsky put on the record, in part 1 (E1H) the language of the Brownfield status states it was denied. Please update. She would also like the description of the cleanup. The second request is regarding the storm water runoff, she questioned the catch basin. If the developer can give an explanation of what their intent is. Energy conservation and sustainability. She asked for an explanation of their intent on HVAC and their environmental conservation efforts.

The members agreed to hold this item over for further information. No action was taken.

RESULT:PENDING
Sep 9, 2019 10:00 AM  Budget & Appropriations Committee Meeting
draft Draft

Joint with PW & LH.

Guests: Commissioner Norma Drummond and Jane Lindau, Director of Housing- Planning

Commissioner Drummond and Jane Lindau from the Department of Planning joined David Gallo from Georgica Green Ventures and Mark Weingarten counsel to RXR, to continue the discussion 11 Garden Street project in New Rochelle. This item was discussed in detail at the August 26th Budget & Appropriations meeting. Chairwoman Borgia opened the discussion about asking if the Department to further discuss the 30% AMI and the process by which the units get filled, specifically the units for Domestic Violence (DV) Survivors. More units at the lowest AMI. Commissioner Drummond discussed that they did have a discussion with COC (Continuum of Care) that if there were not sufficient DV Survivors of to fill the units that the COC will identify any former homeless household that will qualify for the supportive housing. Mr. Gallo read the response from New Destiny that although they feel that they will have no issue filling the units, New Destiny will give priority to non-DV homeless singles and families that are eligible under ESSHI (Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative). Legislator Maher asked again regarding the 30% AMI. It was discussed that changing the AMI mix would affect the NYS funding. Georgica Green Ventures commits to making the best efforts to provide more low-income housing, but they feel it is not likely. The Commissioner discussed that the City of New Rochelle's ordinance requires 80% AMI. The Planning Board of New Rochelle and the County wanted to have units at lower AMI's. With the lower AMI the Developer would have a gap of financing and would need to find other resources for financing. At this point, any changes could impact the timing and feasibility the project.

Legislator Maher discussed some of his concerns with the project and the information received from the Department. Some of his concerns are the use of the retail space and possibility of doorman services. He is concerned about what the actual cost would be to the Developer, County and the State. At the call of the Chair the Committee entered into recess at 11:29 AM. The members reconvened the committee at 12:14 PM. Legislator Maher had several requests of RXR and GGV; first, he is requesting a reciprocal letter of intention from New Destiny Housing's president about the concern if they cannot fill the spots with DV survivors that they will fill the spots with Westchester County and New Rochelle residents. Second, letter regarding available space/space that may become available; the language used about it being a right of first refusal at the market rate. Would like to know how that’s determined in good faith. Third, Security in the building. What the RXR buildings currently have, specifically the new one built on Main Street. He asked that the intention for this building be at least commensurate to whatever the practice is at other similar buildings. If they can’t do it, he would like a cost breakdown of why. Lastly, work papers/spreadsheets explaining the cost to the developer and their partners per unit/additional units that are non-restrictive low-income housing. Mr. Weingarten stated that RXR will not commit to additional expenses. He explained that there is already a budget gap of $10.5 million in the financing, and RXR will have to participate in filling the gap along with GGV taking a reduction in the developers fee and working with State.

Legislator Shimsky discussed that there are three section of the Environmental Assessment form are not complete; section D1K, D1Q, D1R which relate to Energy Pesticides and Solid Waste are no complete. She is requesting that the completed version be sent to the Board of Legislators. The Brownfield remediation certificate of completion will not be received until December of 2020. Chairwoman Borgia discussed regarding the IMDA that the Act (Sec. 1) states that the IMDA term is not-to-exceed fifteen years (commensurate with bonds), but the IMDA (Sec. 19) states the term is five years. She questioned if it should be consistent. Commissioner Drummond agreed and stated that the Department would correct the IMDA so they both have a not-to-exceed date of fifteen years. With a motion by Legislator Barr and seconded by Legislator A. Williams the item was approved with a vote of 8-0 (WOP- Maher)

RESULT:SIGNED BY COMMITTEE
Sep 9, 2019 10:01 AM  Labor & Housing Committee Meeting
draft Draft

Joint with PW & BA.

Guests: Commissioner Norma Drummond and Jane Lindau, Director of Housing- Planning

Commissioner Drummond and Jane Lindau from the Department of Planning joined David Gallo from Georgica Green Ventures and Mark Weingarten counsel to RXR, to continue the discussion 11 Garden Street project in New Rochelle. This item was discussed in detail at the August 26th Budget & Appropriations meeting. Chairwoman Borgia opened the discussion about asking if the Department to further discuss the 30% AMI and the process by which the units get filled, specifically the units for Domestic Violence (DV) Survivors. More units at the lowest AMI. Commissioner Drummond discussed that they did have a discussion with COC (Continuum of Care) that if there were not sufficient DV Survivors of to fill the units that the COC will identify any former homeless household that will qualify for the supportive housing. Mr. Gallo read the response from New Destiny that although they feel that they will have no issue filling the units, New Destiny will give priority to non-DV homeless singles and families that are eligible under ESSHI (Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative). Legislator Maher asked again regarding the 30% AMI. It was discussed that changing the AMI mix would affect the NYS funding. Georgica Green Ventures commits to making the best efforts to provide more low-income housing, but they feel it is not likely. The Commissioner discussed that the City of New Rochelle’s ordinance requires 80% AMI. The Planning Board of New Rochelle and the County wanted to have units at lower AMI's. With the lower AMI the Developer would have a gap of financing and would need to find other resources for financing. At this point, any changes could impact the timing and feasibility the project.

Legislator Maher discussed some of his concerns with the project and the information received from the Department. Some of his concerns are the use of the retail space and possibility of doorman services. He is concerned about what the actual cost would be to the Developer, County and the State. At the call of the Chair the Committee entered into recess at 11:29 AM. The members reconvened the committee at 12:14 PM. Legislator Maher had several requests of RXR and GGV; first, he is requesting a reciprocal letter of intention from New Destiny Housing's president about the concern if they cannot fill the spots with DV survivors that they will fill the spots with Westchester County and New Rochelle residents. Second, letter regarding available space/space that may become available; the language used about it being a right of first refusal at the market rate. Would like to know how that’s determined in good faith. Third, Security in the building. What the RXR buildings currently have, specifically the new one built on Main Street. He asked that the intention for this building be at least commensurate to whatever the practice is at other similar buildings. If they can’t do it, he would like a cost breakdown of why. Lastly, work papers/spreadsheets explaining the cost to the developer and their partners per unit/additional units that are non-restrictive low-income housing. Mr. Weingarten stated that RXR will not commit to additional expenses. He explained that there is already a budget gap of $10.5 million in the financing, and RXR will have to participate in filling the gap along with GGV taking a reduction in the developers fee and working with State.

Legislator Shimsky discussed that there are three section of the Environmental Assessment form are not complete; section D1K, D1Q, D1R which relate to Energy Pesticides and Solid Waste are no complete. She is requesting that the completed version be sent to the Board of Legislators. The Brownfield remediation certificate of completion will not be received until December of 2020. Chairwoman Borgia discussed regarding the IMDA that the Act (Sec. 1) states that the IMDA term is not-to-exceed fifteen years (commensurate with bonds), but the IMDA (Sec. 19) states the term is five years. She questioned if it should be consistent. Commissioner Drummond agreed and stated that the Department would correct the IMDA so they both have a not-to-exceed date of fifteen years. With a motion by Legislator Borgia and seconded by Legislator Parker the item was approved with a vote of 7-0 (WOP- Maher)

RESULT:SIGNED BY COMMITTEE