Just before their holiday break, the adopted definitions definitions of “senior citizen housing units” and “below market rate dwelling unit,” which were described as key to obtaining financing for one of its downtown development projects.
Speaking at the December 21 meeting at the , village attorney John Spellman stated that the definitions would immediately deal with the , but would also be applicable to any development project in the village. He added that the applicant – Polimeni International – had asked the board act as the final financing of the project is reportedly based on the definitions.
The senior housing building is part of the large Winston project, which takes the form of two buildings: a 285 residential rental building known as “The Winston” and the 36 unit “Churchill” affordable senior housing project.
In 2008 the village board approved the application for the Churchill project as a condominium and the 36-unit on Front Street. Polimeni returned in December 2010 after finding that financing for condos was not available, . The application at that time did not modify the senior building, which was .
The five-story, 36-unit building would be geared toward seniors who are aged 55-plus with an income of 80 percent of the median value – what is defined as “affordable.” Incomes are verified through an application process. The building would be constructed on the north side of Front Street, just west of Roslyn Road. There would be 28 one-bedroom units and 8 two-bedroom units, with 38 parking spaces. Rents for the apartments would range from $1,430-$1,690. An equivalent one-bedroom would start at $2,000 while a two-bedroom would range from $2,600-$2,700. The Winston is to be constructed at the north west intersection of Old Country Road and Willis Avenue.
Under the resolution, “senior citizen housing units” is defined as persons 55 years of age or over with the following exceptions: a husband and wife under age 55 who is residing with his or her spouse who is 55 years of age or older or children or grandchildren residing with their parents or grandparents with one of the said parents or grandparents with whom the child, children, grandchild or grandchildren is residing is 55 years or older, provided those children are over the age of 19.
“Below market rate dwelling unit” was defined as dwelling units constructed for families and individuals whose annual household incomes do not exceed 80 percent of the Nassau County area median income for its household size based on the U.S. Census as updated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Prior to occupancy, there shall be an annual certification to the village board that the requisite number of units are affordable and the residents of the units meet the income guidelines.
In response to a question from a board member as to what would happen to a child over 19 that is residing with a parent over 55 who dies, Spellman said that at each annual junction the child residing would have until the end of the lease could not stay on the premises.
Another question was raised as to what would happen if the person renting came into some money or received a raise that would put them over the set low-income amount, that they would not qualify for the rental either when the annual review took place.
Dissenting from the other members of the board, Trustee Lawrence Werther “took exception” to the definition of the age of 55 being a senior, saying “55 seems to be a bit young, 55 most people are still out there working and the purpose of this was to be for our seniors who are now house rich and cash poor. I would rather see this raised to perhaps 62 or 65 and get someone who really does need help rather than a younger person.”
Deputy Mayor Paul Pereria said that after his own research, “many similar developments may have started at 62 have had to lower their age to 55 in order to remain competitive and to fill the units.” He added that it was it was his feeling that the majority of the 30-plus units would in fact go to older seniors and not necessarily those who are age 55.