the Huntington real estate turmoil | Press day
Affordable housing plan raises hopes, doubts
Almost halfway through the ‘preliminary’ agenda posted online for the Huntington Town board meeting on Thursday night, an item generated huge interest across town and beyond as it would have was a new milestone in the Matinecock Court project, a development that has been the subject of controversy and legal battles for over four decades.
But late Thursday afternoon, it looked like the item had been taken off the agenda after apparently getting stuck in messy internal squabbles within the board. Sources said there was still a chance it would be voted on, but it likely wouldn’t happen on Thursday night, leaving the next steps in the controversial project’s ongoing saga uncertain.
The question was whether the board would authorize the city attorney to sign an amended by-law and consent decree regarding Matinecock Court, East Northport’s affordable housing project on 14.5 acres of highways land Elwood and Pulaski.
Matinecock Court developer Peter G. Florey wants to move the project from 146 units split evenly between rental and ownership to ‘capital-limited cooperative’ units that work the same as rentals in terms of monthly fees. paid, but allow residents to develop an equity stake in the evolution over time.
But city spokeswoman Lauren Lembo told The Point that at the council workshop meeting on Thursday afternoon, no council member had sponsored the point and without a sponsor, the point. would be removed from the agenda. She noted that there was still a chance that a board member could choose to raise the matter at the meeting itself.
Over the past week, the agenda has turned into a bit of a ping-pong ball in city council. Council member Ed Smyth noted that there had been no public hearing on the matter before it was placed on the preliminary agenda for a vote. And it appeared there were internal conflicts within the council over whether the Matinecock court issue should be put to a vote this year – or wait until the new council is in place in January.
“I am disappointed with the lack of transparency of the current city council,” Smyth told The Point. “The resolution should go to a public hearing before any action is taken on it.”
Board member Eugene Cook declined to take a position when reached by The Point on Thursday afternoon, and said he did not expect the point to be the subject of of a vote.
“I think from what the board was looking at they weren’t ready to vote,” Cook said. “I think the new board should take a look and decide what they want to do.”
Smyth, who will take the reins as city supervisor in January, had expressed reservations for days. On social media, he called the label a cooperative with limited capital a “deception”.
“Housing Help, Inc. and the developer are misleading the public as to what it really is,” Smyth wrote. “This is a conversion of actual owner-occupied units into 100% rental units.”
In an interview with The Point on Thursday, Smyth expanded on his point, saying he opposed the resolution because the new arrangement would not provide genuine participation for those involved in the development. He said he would prefer the adoption of a new affordable housing plan based on the New York City model that would give potential buyers direct loan assistance so they can build equity through home ownership.
Florey told The Point earlier Thursday that despite Smyth’s public concerns, the city councilor deserved credit for suggesting new elements that were added to the arrangement, including how a resident would increase over time. And Florey noted that he had had success with this type of development before, in a Melville project called Highland Green.
“We really think this is the right structure and the right time,” Florey told The Point before the board decided to remove the item from the agenda.
Sources told The Point that the developer and its supporters may continue to pursue the concept of a limited-capital cooperative, which could mean it will be submitted to the new board for a vote early next year. .
“At this point, I think we’re evaluating the best way forward, but we’re not ruling out anything,” Florey told The Point Thursday night.
And advocates have said they will not stop pushing the project forward. Pilar Moya-Mancera, executive director of Housing Help, Inc., which owns the land and has reached the initial agreement on the rental / property mix – and has supported the new arrangement – said in a statement Thursday afternoon that even without the cooperative structure with equity capital, Aide au Logement would continue to campaign in favor of fully affordable development, even if it means returning to the half-rental, half-condominium structure. And Housing Assistance officials were still planning to attend the meeting Thursday night.
In the same press release, Florey called the board’s decision “disappointing”.
“Today is a sad day for promoting affordable housing on Long Island and Huntington,” said Florey.
This comment contrasted sharply with the optimism expressed by Florey and Moya-Mancera earlier today.
“We’re on the verge of being able to get things serious after 43 years,” Florey said earlier. “I think everyone should vote their conscience. Let their conscience decide which direction they think it should go – with the wisdom of the proposal. We remain cautiously optimistic.”
Prior to the board’s decision to withdraw the article, Moya-Mancera had made it clear to The Point that she expected the project to move forward no matter what.
“We will lead the way in June 2022,” she said, “with or without the changes currently being proposed”.
Subject of discussion
Who went where
Enough time has passed and enough data has been collected to finally get a more complete picture of the migration flow between the city and the suburbs during the pandemic.
It’s an issue with political, economic, and cultural implications, and a report released this week by New York Comptroller Scott Stringer sheds new light on the subject, finding that many city residents, especially those in neighborhoods the richest, fled schools and closed offices in March 2020.
Analyzing change of address data from the United States Postal Service, the report finds that the city’s net emigration “increased by about 130,837 from March 2020 to June 2021, compared to trends before. the pandemic “. (This excludes movements marked “temporary”.)
There is some interesting data on how residents of wealthier neighborhoods were more likely to leave, fleeing places like Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Greenwich Village, Murray Hill, and Manhattan’s Upper West and East Sides. Residents of denser neighborhoods were also eager to leave, although wealth was a more important factor.
Most interesting to Long Islanders, however, is the confirmation of the large influx to Nassau and Suffolk counties. The report notes that from March to August 2020, “net immigration increased 9% in Westchester County but more than doubled in Long Island.” Over 59% of Long Island’s gain was from temporary moves to Suffolk, and you can probably guess where. East Hampton, Southampton and Sag Harbor were among the top zip codes for the biggest net gains in 2020, across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
But the analysis also suggests that many of these relocations do not last forever. Moves to New York’s wealthier neighborhoods in 2020 were more likely to be marked as temporary. With New York’s public schools, offices and entertainment starting to reopen this fall, net residential migration to the city has improved, even compared to 2019. And neighborhoods that outperformed their pre-pandemic trends were among the same, the richer ones who sent more people to pack their bags. in the first place.
-Marc Chiusano @mjchiusano
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A Schumer challenger
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, candidate for re-election in 2022, tends to be in steadfast campaign mode and ready to defend his turf, but that hasn’t stopped some challengers from considering a race against him since. the right. One of them, Aleksander Mici, threw his hat in the ring this week.
Mici, a 46-year-old Albanian immigrant who arrived in the United States as a teenager, has just put out a fairly strong but unsuccessful bid for an open and distinctly Democratic seat on New York City Council in the Bronx. He also tried unsuccessfully to overthrow former state senator Jeff Klein in 2016 and 2014.
This time around, expect the challenge to focus on whether Schumer is too closely aligned with the Democratic Socialist wing of his party.
“The left’s vision for America is not the America that generations of immigrants like me have fought to achieve,” Mici said in a campaign launch press release. “My congressman, AOC, and senator, Chuck Schumer, lobby every day to make our nation look more like the Communist dictatorship that I fled, than America which has been a beacon of hope for people. generations of people longing for freedom.
He also noted Schumer’s general election support for India Walton, the Socialist Democratic candidate for mayor from Buffalo who won the Democratic primary.
A statewide bid against the Brooklyn workaholic who still roams the area will likely be tough for Mici, who has a Bronx law firm as well as a few acting gigs under her belt, appearing as a driver or bouncer on shows such as “Person of Interest” and “White Collar,” according to The Riverdale Press.
But nothing is ever certain in politics, and there is certainly money to be collected, earned and used along the way. The challenger uses Republican company Lighthouse Public Affairs, which has worked for other challengers of prominent New York Democrats like Tom Suozzi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In this latest run, the GOP’s John Cummings managed to raise over $ 11 million for his landslide loss to the AOC in 2020. Not enough to oust the incumbent, but plenty for the negative publicity.
-Marc Chiusano @mjchiusano